The recap from PMEA 2011:

1) Live blogging from Dr. Joseph Pisano and his students: SMASH HIT. No wonder this guy was the PMEA District 5 Citation of Excellence and TIME Teacher of the Year. Thank you Andy, Emily, Liz, Brittany, and Ryan – awesome future music educators!!!

2) Raising the EEQ of your performing ensemble: My thanks to Stacy Paparone and Jess Beblo (presiding chair and jag council, respectively) for their pre-session encouragement, and the many close friends and colleagues in attendance. I don’t know that I solved anything by presenting – but I hope I helped those in attendance think differently about their performing ensemble.

3) Steve Hawk’s Jazz Ensemble was an awesome way to start Thursday morning. So proud of former student teacher Garrett Faccone! Great days await that young man at Towson – how fortunate they are to be having him on board as a GA next year!

4) Andy Yozviak’s Wind Ensemble at West Chester is ridiculous – we are talking Midwest Thursday or Friday night concert good. Andy is on my radar of the next great wind band conductors and genuine people of the next few decades.

5) When in doubt, sit down with friends and colleagues you trust. It is incredibly life and career reaffirming both ways – you to them, and them to you. Thank you Andy, Erich, Nino, Doc, Robert, Bob, Varden, Tom, Ron, Chris (owe you dinner buddy!), Tad, Stacy, Jess, Susan, Lee, Bubba, Jim, Eric, Gary, and Joe.

6) Emily Volek’s students need to understand I am not kidding – yes, we know each other, and yes that’s really me in the picture. So proud of both Emily and her husband (former assistant with me) Brad.

Finally, yes the times are dark for all of us. But I refuse to give up – and neither should you. A number of projects and initiatives were started at PMEA 2011 in which I am involved. It will take time, but they are small battles in the good fight – ones I am excited to begin and finish. As per my soundcloud about me section: “Advocate, Composer, Conductor, and Educator on a quest to save music education one note and one student at a time.” That’s just about right, ultimately the only two things I can actually have some sort of control over. It’s such a huge challenge, it’s such a long road, it’s going to be so tough: A reminder to all of us – this won’t be easy, it will be worthwhile.

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