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A Brief History of the Tennessee Music Education Association

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Prelude A Brief History of the Tennessee Music Education Association by T. Earl Hinton, 1998 The 1873 revision of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee stipulates that the General will provide for
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Prelude A Brief History of the Tennessee Music Education Association by T. Earl Hinton, 1998 The 1873 revision of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee stipulates that the General will provide for a system of free public schools. The General Education Fund of 1921 authorized a Department of Education, a State Board of Education and a Commissioner of Education.(1) In Tennessee as in other states, formal-institutional music instruction was occurring long before anyone ever attempted organizing professionals into associations. Private colleges and a land-grant university had been established and the state Legislature had placed Normal schools - teachers colleges - in cities across the state by Some form of class instruction in music was offered by these first state colleges and in the newly established public schools. Middle Tennessee State Normal School founded in 1911, for example, offered two courses in music as it opened: Course I. Public School Music. The art of teaching music...the course will embrace sight-reading, including the principles of scales, meter, keys, and rhythm. [sic.] Course II. Piano and Voice (no content description). (2) Professor Max Schoen, while a faculty member from 1914 to 1919 at East Tennessee State Normal School in Johnson City, developed a model music instruction program for rural life (schools). Forerunners of both the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and Music Educators National Conference (MENC) were drawing attention from private music teachers and college and school instructors as early as the 1910s. (3) Happily, it is not the purpose of this brief written history of the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA) to give an accounting of music education in Tennessee, although that would be interesting. But it should be acknowledged that the beginning of the organization could not have happened without music teachers in the schools and colleges and antecedent associations caring deeply about the status of music instruction, particularly in the public schools. Sadly, some of the names of the individuals and organizations who charted the course are buried in history. Southern Section (Division) MSNC With the formation of the Music Supervisors' National Conference (MSNC) in 1907, interest in organizing apparently gathered some momentum among Tennessee music educators. The Conference held a meeting in the South for the first time in Nashville in Paul J. Weaver of Chapel Hill, N.C., writes in the Music Supervisors' Journal, On Friday (March 24) after the last session of the Nashville Conference, the Southern members formed a new conference and elected me to the presidency of it for the coming year. In the same article Weaver wrote that the new organization exist purely as a branch or section of the National Conference, and be articulated with it in all possible ways as definitely as possible. The following states took part in the organization of the southern section conference: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia. Except for the first three, the same states currently make up the Southern Division of MENC. (4) The MSNC meeting in Nashville that March had occurred under the presidency of Frank A. Beach. The site was chosen in response to an appeal from the big city in 'Dixie Land'...to come down and help us. (5) D.R. Gebhart, director of music a George Peabody College for Teachers, was largely instrumental in securing the location for Nashville. Sessions were held on the campuses of Peabody, Ward-Belmont College, Fisk University, at the Ryman Auditorium, the Hermitage Hotel, and Hume-Fogg High School. Tennessee musical groups and music educators and notables on the program included the first Nashville Symphony, conducted by Frederick Arthur Henkel; Gebhart; Milton Cook, Supervisor of Music, Nashville City Schools; Bruce R. Payne, President of Peabody; Tennessee Governor Alfred Taylor; P.P. Claxton, then Provost of the University of Alabama and former faculty member of UT Knoxville and US Commissioner of Education under President Wilson, later President of Austin Peay State College, Clarksville; and the great violinist Erika Morini. Under the leadership of Weaver and Gebhart, the Southern Music Supervisors' Conference wasted no time in inaugurating meetings, its first being planned and implemented that year in Atlanta, December Gebhart had become president.(6) It would be interesting to know who from Tennessee joined the Southern section of MSNC beginning in 1922 and until Biennial conventions of the section continued and Tennesseans are named in the programs. For example, the program of the 1935 New Orleans conference lists E. Mae Saunders of Murfreesboro as state chairman. (Miss Saunders was the sole faculty member when Middle Tennessee State Normal School opened in 1911, and had recently retired when I came to that institution). Catherine Warren, cited below as an officer in the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association in the '40s, is listed as state chair in the MENC Southern Section program of Founding No part of the Tennessee Music Education Association's history has been more intriguing but elusive than the facts surrounding the association's formation. Try as I have - names, dates, places - the scenario, the factual chain of events has not been forthcoming. Perhaps when and if this accounting is read, someone will come forward to fill in the much needed details of the association's birth. All evidence available indicates that the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA) was officially formed in 1945, thirty-eight years after the organizing of the Music Supervisors' National Conference, and twenty-three years after the founding of the Southern Section Conference in Nashville. One can conclude that factors contributing to the delaying of Tennessee's organization would include the dominance of rural life in the state, the Great Depression and World War II. Later on I list the founding dates of some of Tennessee's sectional instrumental and vocal associations. Two (probably all three) of the instrumental groups had been formed prior to the war. One would speculate that these fledgling groups and their officers began at some point in early 1940s to discuss the concept of a state-wide association. Concurrently, and for some years, the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) had sectional music organizations - but not a state-wide one - on which it had depended for music, particularly for presentations at its regional conferences. For example, The Tennessee Teacher of 1945 lists as Departmental Officers for music for its Middle Section: Guy L. Hague, Chair, Department of Music, Austin Peay State Normal School, Clarksville, President; E.B. McDowell, Nashville, Vice President; and Julia Harwood of Nashville, Secretary. There is no evidence that any of these were ever TMEA members - but they could have been and certainly could have been among those who helped form the association.(7) The MSNC was originally composed of individuals - supervisors of music, not teachers in the field. Members of forming state organizations were not necessarily members of the MSNC or vice-versa. The state of Maine, in 1916, was the first to establish a state association with four state MEAs being formed in the 1920s, sixteen in the 1930s and twenty-six, including Tennessee, in the 1940s. The Music Supervisors' National Conference changed its name to the Music Educators National Conference in Federated state units of MENC were begun in 1941 with national, divisional and state dues combined for those units then affiliated. Even as interest in a state organization rose in Tennessee in the late 30s, World War II probably caused all inclinations to go on hold. (8) Tennessee (TMEA) appears for the first time in the Music Educators Journal (MEJ) masthead as an affiliated state unit in Vol. XXXII, No 1, Sept.-Oct., Tennessee has up and affiliated themselves, too. So bring out the welcome mat and say hello to Tennessee Music Educators Association. Maurice Haste was elected president, and the general understanding is that Tennessee's activities are worth observing. (9) Maurice Haste has excellent news about the Tennessee Music Educators Association. Seems there are three education sections in Tennessee and each one of them officially adopted TMEA as their music section. People like Catherine Warren and Anita Gann Jones are already sending in the memberships and things are clicking along. (10) The March 1946 The Tennessee Teacher carried an article (without a by-line) congratulating the TMEA on its recent organization and MENC affiliation. For its first major activity, the Tennessee Music Educators Association will sponsor the music for the 1946 meeting of the Tennessee Educators Association in Nashville...Active in the TMEA's organization and affiliation have been many, too many to mention. From the ranks have been elected the following: Maurice Haste, Humbolt, president; O'Dell Willis, Fountain City, vice president; Hobart Davis, Murfreesboro, vice president; A.E. McClain, Bartlett, vice president (three of them!); and Wilson Mount, Memphis, secretary-treasurer. These, we must assume, were the first officers. (11) First Constitution A copy of the original TMEA Constitution and By Laws has not been found. However, a printing that we may assume is accurate appeared in The Tennessee Musician Vol. II, No. 2, November-December, That issue also carries a notice about a proposed amendment dealing with board membership. The notice does not state what the original wording was, i.e., from - to. Excerpts from the document include: Section 2. The Object [sic] of the organization states It shall be (the) mutual helpfulness and the promotion and advancement of music through the instrumentality of school and other institutions or organizations . Affiliation. From its inception, the TMEA was to function as the music section of the Tennessee Education Association and as the state unit of the Music Educators National Conference. Relationships. Declares a close relationship with the State Department of Education, the TEA and the educational institutions of the state, with MENC and with the National School Band, Orchestra and Vocal Associations. Membership. Individuals could join either as Active or Sustaining members. Dues for active members (state and national we presume) were set at $4.00 payable to TMEA or to MENC. A 1949 issue of The Tennessee Musician listed the names, with cities, of eighty-four members. Board of Control. Article III. Officers and Government established that the association would consist of three divisions corresponding to the grand geographical divisions and as prescribed by the TEA organization. Each of the three divisions would elect a district committee of five representatives, at least one from instrumental, choral, college and elementary music interests of the division, and one of whom shall be chairman of that division. This division chairman was called president of the section. The five members of the three division committees then would make up the board and it would elect its officers - a president, first vice president, second vice president and secretary-treasurer. Perhaps the first board members were representatives or officers of the music sections of the TEA and/or of the already organized instrumental and vocal associations, we don't know. How they came to be elected or selected is also not known. Officers. All officers would serve for a term of two years and no person could be elected to fill the same office for more than two consecutive terms. No record of the makeup of the original board or officers has been found; only the officers given above that are recorded in The Tennessee Teacher. (12) The officers in 1948 were: Edward Hamilton, Knoxville, President; Tom Hewgley, Columbia, Vice President; Gaston Taylor, Memphis, Vice President; and N. Taylor Hagan, Nashville, Secretary-Treasurer. The roster does not state which vice president is first or second. But in Vol. II, No. 2, Hagan is named as first vice president and he became the next president. Ralph G. Hale of Memphis is then listed as second vice president. When Hagan became president, Ed Hamilton became first vice president. One concludes that the vice president position did not necessarily lead to the top post. Meetings. Would be held in conjunction with the TEA annual meeting or a call from the Board. (13) So TMEA was originally conceived to become a part of the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) as was the case for the national organization (MSNC/MENC) and its relations to the National Education Association. Throughout its history, off and on again, TMEA has claimed affiliation with TEA. In its early years, its conferences (convention) were held as a music section of the TEA convention. Early Initiatives In Vol. II, No. 2, January-February 1949, The Tennessee Musician editor J. Clark Rhodes writes that a purpose of TMEA was to promote and activate a useful and broad program of music education in the schools... In October, 1948, the association established, in conjunction with the State Department of Education, a State Program...to help rural and classroom teachers with music. The program called on college music education departments and city music supervisors who were willing to volunteer their services to organize workshops for teachers in their respective geographic areas. Under the leadership of State Department of Education (SDE) Director of Public Schools (elementary) R. Lee Thomas and TMEA President Hamilton, Gladys Tipton was designated as State Music Consultant. Although early issues of The Tennessee Musician refer to Tipton with this title, the relationship of this position to the State Department remains unclear. The position may have been official but more likely in name only in as much as Ms. Tipton was a professor at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (14) The May-June 1949 The Tennessee Musician headline read Approximately 150,000 Children Reached Through State Program. In the fall of 1950, Education Commissioner J.A. Barksdale formed a state Music Advisory Committee. TMEA President Hamilton was a member. Lester Bucher and Erwin Schneider and later, Alfred Humphries also from The University of Tennessee joined Tipton listed as state consultants. The Music Advisory Committee was expanded in 1951 when President Taylor Hagan appointed a TMEA Projects Committee with emphasis on elementary school programs. In the late '50s, all four-year colleges governed by the State Board of Education would be asked to provide a portion of one music professor's load as regional consultant. This plan of action continued through two decades and, under it, part of my assigned teaching load was designated when I was appointed as Instructor at Middle Tennessee State College in Elementary music instruction, of course, did not dominate the interest and affairs of the new association. Articles in the earliest The Tennessee Musician volumes are replete with news of high school activities festivals, personnel, trends and pictures of performing groups. The back pages of Vol. 1, No. 3, has a photo of an All-State Chorus, John Raymond, Conductor, in Knoxville, March (There must be five-hundred high school singers!) The journal has consistently carried news and articles about college music departments and MENC happenings. It is difficult at this juncture (or at any time) to judge the composite interest of the association and in this brief history to report many important recorded events. President Selection The 1960 Constitution prescribed that officers would be elected by the board from the membership of its outgoing or incoming members at the spring meeting on even years. The 1978 revision established the office of president elect, set up a nomination committee (appointed by the president) for this purpose that would nominate two candidates for the post, and thus changed the old office of second vice president and making the past president vice president. This revision required that the election of the president elect would be made by mail vote of the full active association membership. In 1990 the board inaugurated a standing committee called Da Capo, which is composed of past presidents. This committee has a continuing responsibility: the nomination of two candidates for president elect. During its first term the committee also proposed and the board adopted an Awards Program. Awards would be bestowed on association members 1) completing twenty-five years service and continuous membership and 2) forty years service and membership. Additionally, an Outstanding Administrator Award was established. Presidents, Years and Annual State Conference Locations For much of its history, the organization has placed strong emphasis on its state conventions. President Carolyn Travers McCalla and the board set the association's first stand-alone convention for November 8-9, 1954, in Nashville, on the campus of George Peabody College. State conferences have with a few exceptions been held alternately in Nashville and then rotating each second year to a West and East site; in the East, either to Knoxville or Chattanooga, in the West, to Memphis. The board, in 1997, adopted a resolution to keep the convention in Nashville. Executive Secretary-Treasurer The position of Secretary-Treasurer was established in the organization's Constitution. The office gained the name Executive during the presidency of L. Howard (Zeke) Nicar and while Ruth W. Brandon held the post. Whether or not the name change came about by constitutional change or simply by board action is not known. The 1978 version of the Constitution reflected this new wording. Some extra duties began to be assigned to this office. That revision changed this office from one of an elected post to one appointed by the board. Appointments would be made at the spring meeting on odd-numbered years. The position would have no vote. The following have served since N. Taylor Hagan Carolyn McCalla Ruth Emmert Watts Marie Hutchinson Mary K. Hartsfield Ruth W. Brandon Bobby Jean Frost John R. Bright Seldon L. S.L. Valentine Frank Hale Mike Combs The TMEA Bylaws were revised and approved by the TMEA Council in August During these revisions the position of Executive Secretary-Treasurer was changed to Executive Director. A five-year Strategic Plan was written and approved including plans to fund the Executive Director position into a full time compensated position. Executive Director 2012-Ron Meers The Tennessee Musician In its third year, the association began publication of an official magazine. Volume I, No. 1 is dated September-October J. Clark Rhodes, Professor of Music at The University of Tennessee, was its editor. Rhodes served for two years, and as advisor for a decade and again as editor The first issue was eight pages and carried five advertisements. Issues carried names and addresses of the officers and members of the Board of Control. Several early issues printed the entire membership. Editors since Rhodes' first term have been appointed by the Board. Editors of THE TENNESSEE MUSICIAN J. Clark Rhodes, Knoxville Erwin H. Schneider, Knoxville Vernon H. Taylor, Nashville Floyd H. Rodgers, Nashville Arthur F. Klein, Nashville Floyd D. Funk, Nashville LaRue V. Pryor, Clarksville Carolyn M. Scruggs, Clinton 1967 Ruth W. Brandon (acting), Nashville J. Clark Rhodes, Knoxville Lawrence P. Pat Cooney, Memphis Cynthia R. Curtis, Nashville Carl H. Kauffman, Nashville F. Michael Combs, Knoxville 2011-present Mary Dave Blackman The magazine has traditionally had four issues per volume-year - two each in the fall and spring. But apparently Volume IV of had only two issues - No. 1 January-February and No. 2 Winter. The first and second volumes were probabl
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