As the sole representative of the state of Delaware andUniversity of Delaware collegiate chapter of NAfME, I had the incredible opportunity toattend the2017 NAfME Collegiate Summit in Washington, D.C. from June 27 to July 1. Admittedly, I was a bitnervousattending my first conference of this sort. However, meeting with other future music education leaders, students, and supporters from every state in the U.S. to speak to members of Congress and their staffs about the role of the arts in education eased any anxiety I felt.
On the first full day we headed to the NAfME office and had the opportunity to listen topresentations from a number ofpast, present, and future leaders in the field of music education. Former NAfME President Nancy Ditmer discussed the vision of NAfME and importance of collegiate memebers. Angela Ammerman spoke aboutleadership development while Douglas Carnes from the Barbershop Harmony Society explored the idea of implementing the genre of barbershop into the classroom. Nicole Worzel, Michael Gabriel, and John Mlynczak discussed grassroots and state-level advocacy.
That evening before Hill Day orientation I was able to meet for dinner with with DMEA President, Dan Briggs, Editor, Brian Drumbore, and Executive Director, Donna Fesmire, along with representatives from other states. After orientation, I met again with Mr. Briggs and Mr. Drumbore to discuss points we would cover during our Hill Day meetings. I was assigned Title IV regarding the funding for professional development for music educators. This subject is extremely relevant to me as I will soon be a beginning music educator, and professional development is absolutely crucial, as teachers must continue to learn in order to be the best we can be for our students.
On Thursday morning we began our Hill Day adventure! We started at the office of Senator Thomas Carper and we met with one of his staffers, Andrew, whom the DMEA delegates have met with on Hill Day for the past three years. Andrew grew up in Delaware and was a member of his school’s band, so it was nice to being able to have a discussion and continue to foster our relationship with Senator Carper’s office. Senator Carper stopped into our meeting and we had the opportunity to speak with him about our Hill Day mission. We had two more meetings that day at the offices of Senator Chris Coons and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. It was a successful Hill Day for the state of Delaware!
The final day of the conference began with presentations from Pete Pauliks from Education in Music as well as Chiho Feindler from VH1 Save the Music Foundation. The collegiates then had the opportunity to observe the NAfME National Leadership Assembly. We sat in on breakout sessions about capacity building, leading the profession, advocacy, and research. I enjoyed listening to current leaders in music education discuss these subjects in this open forum environment.
Overall, the conference was an incredible experience. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this event. I have walked away with so many new friends and connections as well as ideas for UD’s cNAfME chapter. I can’t wait to attend next year’s Hill Day, and I hope to bring more Delaware collegiates with me!