Letter from MMEA President, Nancy Robertson

My DEAREST Colleagues,
Today IS the day!  Or it was supposed to be the day, anyway!  
This day – would have been the first day of the MMEA/ACDA State Conference 2020!  Finally here! 
After a solid YEAR of planning things like: 
  • Creating Conference Theme (2020 Vision: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate)
  • Setting up Conference Schedule
  • Assigning Rooms for Sessions
  • Creating Honor Choir Schedule
  • Designing a conference logo
  • Deciding on SWAG (gifts for attendees), ordering SWAG
  • Soliciting for Presenters for Conference
  • Notifying Presenters who had been selected to present a session at conference (27 people)
  • Acquiring Presenters Head shots, Bios, and Session Description for program
  • Contacting Presenters about presentation set up needs
  • Contacting Exhibitors/Vendors and assign placement
  • Soliciting donations from Vendors for prize giveaway to teachers
  • All State Honor Choir Selections X 7 – Elementary, Junior High SSA, Junior High SATB, High School SSA, HighSchool SATB, Show Choir, Collegiate Honor Choir
  • Finding Clinicians and Repertoire for Honor Choirs
  • Selecting repertoire for Reading Packets X 4 = Elementary, Junior High, High School, Pop A cappella
  • Finding and purchasing gifts for Presenters, Facilitators, Keynote Speakers
  • Making accommodations for Conference Keynote Speakers
  • Creating Conference Badges
  • Handling Registration for Conference
  • Applying for CEU Credits for Conference Sessions
  • Creating CEU Registration Forms/Evaluation forms/ Sign-up sheets
  • Handling presentation logistics – room assignments for each session
  • Gathering Information for Program Book
  • Selecting Luncheon Menu
  • Sending out Presidential Breakfast Invitations
  • Booking set up for Luncheon and Breakfast
  • Creating Certificates for Presenters
  • Creating Award Plaques for Honor Choir Directors/Accompanists
  • Bestowing the Outstanding Music Educator Award
  • Bestowing the Outstanding Young Music Educator Award
  • Contracting  with Soundwaves Recording Engineers
  • Contracting with Pepwear – sending all honor choir lists
  • Creating a  Performing Choir Schedule
  • Creating Honor Choir rehearsal schedules X 7 (see above honor choirs)
  • Creating and sending Parking Passes for Southern Miss Campus
  • Contacting hotels in Hattiesburg for best available block rates
And the list goes on and on…  And the number of people involved in accomplishing all these tasks goes on and on…
The conference would have been AMAZING because so many people worked together so diligently to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students, teachers, parents, and all who would have attended!
As one of the many people who spent countless hours, days, weeks, months, preparing for the MMEA/ACDA State Conference only to see it vanish with one little word (Coronavirus), we could find ourselves in a full blown pity party!
But we simply CANNOT concentrate on what “would have been”.  We must seek out what “could be” gained from this alternate experience.
  • This “could be” a unique set of circumstances that push us to embrace new technologies.  (Zoom, Google Meets, Virtual Concerts, etc.)
  • This “could be” a time you realize how much you really do LOVE (and miss) the daily opportunities for making music in a classroom with  your precious students.
  • This “could be” an opportunity that leads you to become overwhelmingly aware of what REALLY IS important in this life. 
  • This “could be” a perfect moment to tell all the people you love – HOW MUCH you love them!
  • This “could be” an opportunity for silent reflection on all of the above.
No matter how sad I find myself at the cancellation of this annual State Music Conference, I will be forever thankful that I had the chance to see the hearts of people who worked tirelessly with me this year towards the finish line.  No gold medal, no million dollars, no parade in their honor.  Just a warm and wonderful feeling of a job well done by all!  To all of these precious friends – I say – “THANK YOU!”
Look forward to seeing each and every one of you next year – same time, same place!  Until then, keep a song in your heart!
Yours for a song,
Nancy Robertson
MMEA President