Last year I received an email from a Colorado ASTA member hoping to borrow a cello for a memorial service on Cape Cod. Ken Culver, our webmaster, posted her request. She received ten offers of help within just a couple of days. For me this was just one more example of ASTA's generous culture.
It is an honor to serve as Massachusetts chapter president.
There are several exciting new initiatives this year.
1. This fall we are offering a limited number of free one-year student memberships to seniors and graduate students (class of 2013) who are string music education majors or are taking string pedagogy classes. Recipients must be sponsored by an ASTA member. There are 20 memberships available, first come, first serve.
2. 2014 will launch the MA-ASTA Solo Competition to be held bi-annually (alternating years from the National Solo Competition).
3. This year we will hold our first annual composition contest. The contest will run on a 6-year cycle, rotating between violin, viola, cello, bass, harp and guitar. The winning work will be a required repertoire piece for the state solo competition, senior division, and will remain so until a new winner is selected in the next round for that instrument. For details please visit www.maasta.org
4. 2012-13 will see a new approach to the annual Studio Teacher and Orchestra Director of the Year Awards. The names and biographies of the nominees will be posted, and voting by the members of MA-ASTA will take place online. There will be an honorarium of a one-year free membership for each of the nominees chosen to receive these awards.
Other initiatives that will begin during the 2013-14 academic year include an annual quartet competition for college-level ensembles (performing in any style), and a one-day eclectic styles festival for students in middle school. Also under consideration are several suggestions for expanding the role of the MA-ASTA website. For example, to help increase communication between the board and our membership, there will be a new, easy-to-use platform for submitting suggestions. Beginning this fall, a brief synopsis of the minutes from board meetings will be posted.
Your input is crucial to making MA-ASTA as strong and vital an organization as possible. Together, we — by sharing our ideas, energy, and experiences -- can be a powerful force in shaping the future of string education.
Finally, I remind you that this year's national conference will take place in Providence, RI (2/27-3/2). I hope to see many of you there.