Welcome to what is the first of several columns from your Eastern Division President. It is the passion for making music and inspiring others to do so that has landed me in this challenging, yet rewarding position. My hope is to share with you, as fellow music educators, a few key ideas and perhaps an inspiration or two.
During my two years as President-Elect, it became apparent that there is a limited degree of awareness of the Eastern Division form and function among the music educators of our member states. As a result, my main goal in this issue is to “remove the veil” from the NAfME Division doings. (Yes, I’m in “father-of-the-bride” mode this month!)
What is a NAfME Division?
The governance structure of the National Association for Music Education includes a National Executive Board consisting of the Presidents of six Divisions representing the geographical regions of the United States, specifically, Eastern, North Central, Northwest, Southwest, Southern, and Western.
What is the NAfME Eastern Division?
The Eastern Division consists of thirteen units of the National Association for Music Education representing Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Europe, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each unit’s President serves as a voting member of the Division. Additionally, our Division membership elects a leader every two years who serves for a total of six years; two years each as President-Elect, President, and then Past-President. Our records show that the Eastern Division was formed in 1917. Happy 100th Birthday!!!
What does the NAfME Eastern Division do?
There are two primary functions of our Division:
- Governance. The Division leaders meet at least twice yearly (fall and spring) to serve as a conduit of ideas and information between the member states and the national association. Attendees include the Division President, President-Elect and Past President and the Presidents, Presidents-Elect, Past Presidents and additional leaders of each unit, which may include State Managers, State Editors, and others.
- Biennial Conference and Honors Ensembles. The Eastern Division is one of only two NAfME Divisions (Northwest being the other) that sponsors an in-service professional development conference and student honors groups. The Division leaders and the host states put in an inordinate amount of hours and professional know-how to plan and produce this hallmark of our Division. There will be more to come on this in future Eastern Division Encores!
Now, back to that father-of-the-bride mode. In late August, I walked my daughter, Cassie, down the aisle and handed her off to her beloved Jacob as they start a new chapter of their lives together. While both are accomplished research scientists, they spend much of their free time arranging and performing as part of an a cappella vocal ensemble based in the Silicon Valley area. As proud as I am of their accomplishments in the fields of physics, chemistry and biology, it is their creativity and positive emotional energy as musicians that captures my rapt attention and makes my heart soar. They were both fortunate enough to be surrounded by families, communities and inspiring educators that supported their growth as musicians as well as their intellectual curiosity. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many Eastern Division music educators who nurtured their talents.
With the new school year under way, we are all faced once more with the promise of kindling a love for music in our students. Each of our students has the potential to be inspired by us to develop the sensitive, creative and most human and humane traits that accompany musical skills and knowledge. Please join me in this wondrous, annual cycle of renewal and our quest to launch our students into a future filled with a bountiful harvest of the shared joy of music!