From the President

AMEA: Serving Lemonade With Infinite Hope

I will always remember 2020 as the year that provided us a new twist to an old saying, when COVID gives you lemons, make lemonade. That is exactly what our executive staff did with this year’s AMEA Conference.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the outstanding AMEA Executive Board in order to provide an online professional development experience. From the moment we decided to have our conference virtually, everyone jumped on board and started working together to make the event the best possible. I believe our mission was accomplished.

Executive Director and Assistant, Garry Taylor and Rusty Logan did an outstanding job preparing the schedule and providing the software that guided us through the week. Their expertise and organizational skills transferred perfectly to the online medium and gave us easy access to all the sessions.

Our Media Specialist, Dr. Carl B. Hancock, once again worked his magic with social media distribution and constructed an amazing staff that hosted all of our sessions. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the University of Alabama for the role they played in providing the facilities and staffing that became the backbone of our conference.

Dr. Rob Lyda, our AMEA President-Elect, served as our virtual expert. He has participated in more online events than all of us combined, which was instrumental in making us aware of the “dos” and “don’ts” in the world of zoom and online presentations.

Past-President, Greg Gumina, came through for the FAME program and provided our future music educators a rich experience with outstanding clinicians that was certain to solidify their desire to enter this great profession.

The AMEA Registrar, Pat Stegall, collected and processed the registrations while assisting with the NAfME memberships.

The Divisions did a great job finding sessions and inspirational performances that would facilitate an online experience. These opportunities demonstrated what can be achieved even in challenging times.

We cannot say enough good things about our sponsors and vendors that participated in our conference. This year has taken a toll on all of us and we must thank those businesses that support music education in our state. Please take a moment and identify those that provided support for our conference and, if possible, patronize their businesses in the same manner they invested in our profession.

Our first keynote speaker provided the most viewed live event of the week. Dr. Judy Bowers provided a message that contained a passionate vision of how we can think out of the box to be an inspiration to others. Her presentation sparked a lot of conversation in the chat room and created a wonderful start for our conference.

I’m especially proud of our awards presentation on Friday night, which will continue to be available on our YouTube Channel:

We plan to continue posting videos to recognize and honor our membership, so please consider subscribing to our channel. Go to YouTube and search for “my AMEA” and click “subscribe”.

After our awards presentation, we enjoyed our second keynote speaker, Bob Morrison, from Quadrant Research. He provided us with up-to-date mitigation practices and clearly articulated a powerful message for why music education has been recognized as such an important part of a person’s educational growth.

Most importantly, the greatest contributor to this event was you. The conference would have been nothing if not for the participants. I want to thank everyone that took part in and believed in the value of the 2021 Virtual Conference. The attendance exceeded our expectations and the level of energy everyone brought to the chat rooms and social hours was extremely comforting to us all. Although we all would have preferred to see each other in person, you continue to make the very best out of the situation.

Moving forward, we plan to continue recognizing AMEA’s 75th Anniversary throughout the entire year by exploring the rich history of AMEA through online media and we will celebrate the grand finale at our 2022 Conference, IN PERSON!!!!! Don’t miss it!

As we look forward to the remainder of this year and beyond, I would like to encourage you to continue your fight for music education in your school. You must continue to remind yourself how important your influence is in the lives of your students despite any setbacks you may have experienced.

One person that truly understood setbacks and struggles was Martin Luther King, Jr., which was quoted saying, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” I encourage you to continue looking at music education as a source of infinite hope and possibilities.

All the best,

– David Raney


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