Northeast KMEA: Music is Alive and Well!

by Becky Thomas, Northeast District President

Music is alive and well in the Northeast District of KMEA as we begin the 2022-2023 school year! The NEKMEA Board met over the summer and is making plans for fantastic honor ensembles at our district mini convention in December. Orchestra is planning to have the following clinicians: Elementary Da Capo Orchestra – David Ohse, Middle Level Orchestra – Mac Mayer, High School Orchestra – Rachel Dirks. The choirs are planning to have the following clinicians: Elementary Choir – Erin Buffum, Middle Level Choir – David Howard, High School Choir – Melissa Grady. The Bands are planning to have the following clinicians: 7th-8th Grade Band – Johanna Cox, 9th Grade Band – Shawn Knopp, 1234A Band, 56A Band, and 1-6A Band – Dr. Tom Davoren, Sharon Ramsey Toulouse, and Avian Bear.

We had a positive and encouraging business meeting on Monday, September 12 at Lawrence High School. The evening began with a new teacher meeting. There were ten new teachers who met with board members to become acquainted with resources for help and mentorship. Connections continued to evolve as new and returning members all shared a delicious meal together. After dinner, the president shared information from the state regarding upcoming deadlines and the possibility of elongating the KMEA ISW by starting earlier on Thursday. Teachers were encouraged to discuss pros and cons with each other, and we will plan to gather feedback in December to report to the state board. Executive Director, Mike Jones, gave a treasurer’s report. We celebrated together the successes of many teachers in the Northeast District who have been selected for highly honorable performances at the state and national levels. Ten teachers in the Northeast district were recognized for having their performing ensembles selected to perform at the KMEA ISW in February. Six teachers were recognized for having students selected to perform in the NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles in National Harbor, Maryland in November.  The meeting concluded with breakout meetings in which the Chairs of each group shared Information with teachers regarding audition processes and procedures. Teachers were able to ask questions and get information directly from the chairs and felt well informed after the meeting. A delightful end to the evening was hearing teachers linger after the meetings were over as they shared stories and connected with each other as colleagues. I consider that to be one of the great benefits to belonging to the great organization of the Kansas Music Educators Association. I look forward to a fantastic year of continued success. 

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