Past President’s Page

Respect for the Past, Resilience for the Future

(reprinted from the Cantate Magazine, Fall 2015)

As an association, we are resilient. As musicians and educators, we are resilient. In the twelve years I’ve served on this board, each of us has had to be resilient.

During that time, we’ve seen lots of changes. We went through a recession, elected the first African-American President of the United States, lost people we loved, fell in love ourselves, and watched our students fall in love and get married. The Supreme Court even voted in support of marriage equality, a momentous event in all of our lifetimes.

Nationally, ACDA has made numerous changes since I came on the board twelve years ago. Tim Sharp took over as Executive Director after the death of Gene Brooks and positively changed our direction. California leadership moved through a number of presidential personalities who each provided a unique voice. These men and women each provided invaluable guidance and leadership to colleagues who make decisions for the constituents of the California ACDA.

I was humbled then, as I am now, by what they accomplished. Each president before me possessed a style, mood, character, and internal stability all of their own. I came on the board when Hanan Yaqub was transitioning to the role of past president, and I was amazed at the way she handled leadership. It was as if she had a secret that she was waiting for us to figure out. Kathryn Smith, ever organized and ready for other people’s perspectives, was always recognizing and giving opportunities to others. Julie Dana graced her leadership with confidence, not only in her own ability and ideas, but in the capability and power of the board itself. Ken Abrams had the ability to seize opportunities and navigate the unknown. Travis Rogers was admired for his ability to make informed tactical and strategic decisions, and Jonathan Talberg knew how to shape change in order to prosper and thrive in the most challenging environments.

During my time as your president, and in considering the legacy of these great men and women, I think our biggest challenge has been weathering budget cuts that make it a struggle for many of our music programs to hang on. I’m proud to say that in the past two years of my presidency, our membership has grown by 16% or so, which has a positive effect on our ability to adapt and thrive. Even with the loss of many of our beloved mentors, colleagues, and friends, we remain resilient.

Today I can tell you that resilience is not just about bouncing back from mishaps, but also about recognizing opportunities, defying limits, grasping possibilities, taking control of the present, and directing our future—which is ever-changing.

Demonstrating resilience means setting goals for ourselves. I believed in our ability to achieve higher aspirations, our ability to harness our expertise as a board, and our ability to turn experience into direct action. My objective for the California ACDA was to start the Vision for the Future Scholarship fund that would be earmarked for constituents who needed funds to support their continuing education.

Did you know that California has 1,432 members in ACDA? If every member gave $100, we would have $143,200. If half gave $100, we would have $71,600. If half of our members gave $50, we would have $35,800. But if every member gave just $30, we would have $42,960 to put toward the professional development of the next generation of music educators.

California ACDA taught me to ask how we show resilience, both as individuals and as part of something larger. How do we shape change? What do we leave for our choirs? What do we all leave when we close the rehearsal door room and turn off the lights?

I leave the presidency with Lou De La Rosa, who believes in our ability to achieve greatness, and I look forward to accompanying him on the next phase of California ACDA’s mission. We’re not done yet!

It has been my true pleasure to serve you. Keep growing, learning, and challenging others and yourself. Be the change you want to see in the world, and thank you for believing in me and making me part of your own vibrant journey.

Helpful Links from your Past-President

Recommended Articles