Keith Hodgson Letter; July 2021 Conference

2021 MD MEA Virtual Conference

11 Music Education Associations across the U.S. have partnered with MMEA to host the "2021 July Virtual Conference" on July 13-15, 2021.

The associations are seeking proposals for 45-minute presentation sessions and 30-minute spoken research presentations to be presented at the July 2021 virtual event.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 11:59 PM PT.

Building on successes from past virtual events, we anticipate hosting thousands of educators from across the United States and beyond for professional learning.

Learn More & Submit a Proposal!

JJ Norman
Executive Director
Maryland Music Educators Association

We All Belong!

March 2021
Keith Hodgson
Eastern Division President

Dear Eastern Division,

I hope your 2021 Spring semester teaching is going well and that you are finding success engaging with your students and sharing and collaborating with your colleagues. I am inspired each and every day by all the things I see and hear that are being shared in our profession, turning challenges into opportunities and watching dedicated music educators digging deep into their creative teacher toolboxes to motivate their students in new and exciting ways. I know this year has been challenging and difficult for many if not all of us, but I am very optimistic about what I see as a shift in how, who, and what we teach. How we are embracing new technologies, how we share and collaborate together as music educators and most importantly, how we are building positive relationships with our students. I truly believe the future of our profession is very bright! We are all learning a lot of important lessons.

News from NAfME

The past year has been like no other in the 100 years of our history as an organization. The challenges have at times seemed overwhelming, but serving on the National Executive Board and Executive Committee during this time has been truly inspiring. It has been a personal and professional learning experience that has been truly motivating and rewarding for me. I have witnessed OUR organization respond to crisis, provide for its membership and reimagine sustainability for the future. NAfME has responded successfully by providing music educators with the tools, professional development and resources that its members desperately needed during these challenging times. More importantly, NAfME has been providing a new vision and commitment for music education over the past year.

What is that vision?

What we need to do now is “REIMAGINE” Music Education for the future. How can we engage our students in new and exciting ways? I truly believe some of the positive by-products of these unprecedented times will be improved teaching, increased creativity and a heightened appreciation for one another. We will be strengthened in our character, our resourcefulness and our love for students and music.

So are you ready to really walk the talk? Are you ready to put your efforts and true beliefs into action for all students? If so, we must together - move forward… with a strong focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in music education for ALL students that is centered on Creativity and the Artistic Processes. We must dedicate ourselves to Culturally Responsive Teaching, making the Social and Emotional needs of our students the culture of our classrooms and continue to engage our students with Innovative Teaching concepts and applications that include unique collaborative experiences that truly make music education unique.

Your National Association, under the leadership of Dr. Mackie Spradley and guided by the National Executive Board on which I serve, is committed to these ideals and dedicated to working hard for you, (and your students), to open more doors for all students to engage with music! It is indeed an honor and a distinct pleasure to serve with Dr. Spradley, someone whose leadership has already had a profound influence on me and our organization in less than a year. She is a leader who listens, a leader who inspires, a leader who cares, and a leader who loves!

All-Eastern Honors Ensembles

Congratulations to the 700 of the finest high school musicians from Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont for their acceptance into the NAfME 2021 All-Eastern Honor Ensembles.

These musicians were selected from 1350 All-State applicants and ranked by their state presidents to fill five ensembles. The Orchestra (165), Symphonic Band (146), Mixed Chorus (270), Treble Chorus (120) and Jazz Ensemble (18), participated in a "Virtual Weekend” experience March 4-6, 2021 that included keynote speakers, masterclasses with professional musicians, rehearsals with their conductors as well as opportunities to learn and network with colleges and universities of various types and participate in mock auditions.

This non-traditional and unique experience was very different from the in-person rehearsals and concert that have, in the past, coincided with the NAfME Eastern Division biennial conference. This year, students have individually recorded their performance from home, led by a virtual performance of their conductor. The recordings are being edited together to produce a virtual ensemble for the concert performance. The concert will be premiered on April 23rd at 8:45pm during the designated concert hour at the 57th NAfME Eastern Division Virtual In-Service Conference.

This year’s conductors are:

  • Band: Dr. Cynthia Johnston Turner from the University of Georgia
  • Orchestra: Dr. James Tapia, Syracuse University
  • Mixed Chorus: Dr. Cory Ganschow, Bradley University
  • Treble Chorus: Dr. Amanda Quist, University of Miami
  • Jazz Ensemble: Terell Stafford, Temple University

A special thank you goes to Dennis Emert (PA) our BOCJ All-Eastern Manager and to Sue Barre (ME) our overall BOCJ Coordinator. In addition, we thank our individual Ensemble Managers for all their service and dedication. We are also very appreciative for our partners at Conn-Selmer Education and the NAfME Staff who collaborated with our leadership team to make this year’s event possible. Please check out the program for our All-Eastern Honors Ensembles event.


2021 NAfME Eastern Division Conference “We All Belong!”

On April 22-24, the Eastern Division will present a Virtual Conference!

Although you may have attended a number of virtual events during this past year, I think you will find this to be different and unique in a number of ways.

  • Live sessions, very limited pre-recorded content
  • Majority of sessions will be in 30 min segments
  • Keynote Addresses by NAfME President, Mackie Spradley and Baltimore’s own, Dr. Richard White! (R.A.W. Tuba)
  • 11 Conference Strands for Band, Choral, Orchestra, Classroom Music, City School Music, Modern Band, Music Administrations, Collegiate, Research/Higher Ed, Composition and Songwriting.
  • Conference registration fee is only $45.00 for members and $25.00 for collegiate. Conference is is open to all nationwide.

Conference Registration:

This conference will focus on proven practices during the current climate to be shared by educators with educators. Sessions will be delivered via the Zoom platform. Sessions were selected through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in music education for all students. Culturally responsive teaching, social and emotional awareness, creative and innovative teaching concepts and engaging delivery of instruction are among the themes infused across all conference strands. The 2021 virtual conference is being planned and hosted by the entire Division as a collaborative event. As most of you know, every two years, our division conference is hosted by a chosen state. Because of the pandemic, we moved to postpone the Hartford,CT hosting of the conference until 2025. In an effort to do something in 2021, the Division pulled together to plan both the All-Eastern Honor Ensembles and a Virtual Conference. I want to thank all the Strand Chairs and the conference planning committee for all of their work. Please check out our leadership team on the Eastern Division website under Contacts:

Division Website:

We look forward to seeing you at the conferences
Conference Registration:

As I am coming to the end of my presidency, I want to close by thanking each of you for all you do every day for your students!

  • Thank you for motivating and inspiring them.
  • Thank you for teaching them when you don’t feel like it.
  • Thank you for your resilience during this pandemic.
  • Thank you for being the reason why your students want to come to school!

It is my sincere hope when all this is over… that we DON’T GO BACK TO NORMAL! We should not go back to the old way of doing things… but instead MOVE FORWARD! We should aim to be embracing change, adopting a new vision, revamping and improving our music programs and finding new opportunities to open more doors for all students to be involved with MUSIC… and with you!

Please keep your chins up, my friends!

The future is exciting and bright!

Keith W. Hodgson
NAfME: Eastern Division President
Director of Music Education
The University of the Arts

Massachusetts Music Educators Association

MMEA logo

Michael LaCava
Interim Executive Director
PO Box 920004
Needham, MA 02492