Society for American Music Annual Meeting 2009 – Day 4
Another beautiful Colorado morning! Another wonderful day of conferencing.
For me, Saturday of a conference weekend is a always a bit of a whirlwind. There are of course the papers: Sarah Gerk’s unpacking of an 1873 song called “The Mulligan Guards” and its “mixed salad” (as opposed to melting-pot) representation of America; Jonas Westover’s study of The Passing Show of 1914 wherein he revealed the inter-theatrical connections between revues and the larger theatre-going world of that particular world.
There is the catching-up: By Saturday, everyone who saw each other the first day and said “Let’s grab coffee at some point” realizes that they don’t have much time left. I had wonderful conversations with more than a dozen of my friends (old and new) and consumed more caffeine than one body should be able to contain.
There is the silent auction: The SAM Student Forum (headed up this year by Vilde Aaslid and Doug Shadle and assisted by countless others) organized and ran a heck of an auction. Items ranged from vintage sheet music to concert tickets to MUSA editions. Of the latter, I battled Drew over the course of the day for a copy of H. Wiley Hitchcock’s edition of Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thompson, only to get bid-out in the closing minutes by another deal seeker. No hard feelings there, especially since all the money goes to support student travel to the conference.
There is the business meeting: The reports always go one too long, but they are necessary and yield interesting tid-bits about the organization. The program committee reported that the 126 papers presented at this conference were selected from 275 submissions (acceptance rate of about 46%). The Cincinnati meeting (2011) will be a joint meeting with IASPM-US (United States branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music). The SAM Bulletin wants submissions of all sorts from all members of the society, including shorter articles.
There are the awards. The Mark Tucker Award (17 submissions) for the best student paper went to Christine Fena (Stony Brook University), whom had presented just before Drew the day before. I missed her paper on the reception of Cowell’s early piano music, but it sounds like a fascinating study. The Housewright Dissertation Award (28 submissions) went to my friend Ayden Adler for her fantastic study titled, “Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music”: The Influence of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra on the Culture of Classical Music in America–one of the few disses I’ve actually read from beginning to end. She’s taken a non-academic career route (director of education at the Philadelphia Orchestra) and, as is tradition with this award, in her thank you speach, called upon members of the society to help their local ensembles through these tough economic times by volunteering to write a program note, give a pre-concert talk, or prepare a group of elementary school students for a concert outing. It reminded me of a post I put up some time back (“Expose Yourself to Art”). Congratulations!!!!!
Finally, there are the goodbyes: I’m not going to be at the conference on Sunday*, so I bounced around the closing reception and said my adieus. In the process, I realized there were several people that I just hadn’t run into yet. There is never enough time at these things. Can’t wait for Ottawa! Thanks for the great conference everyone!!!!
*I’m going to visit with some relatives and then up to Summit County to hit the slopes…3-7 inches of snow tomorrow?!? Yes, please!!