WVMEA Conferences Changed With Times

"Notes da Capo" by John L. Puffenbarger

February 2003

A musician learns early in his career that he must be willing to adapt to all types of changes. For instance, when playing a selection, he must notice key changes, tempo variations, dynamic changes, and articulation differences.

When playing in a concert, a musician must be sure to change his music. A high school band finished a vigorous but not overly harmonious selection. As the musicians sank into their seats after the applause, a trombonist asked, "What's the next number?" The player next to him replied, "The Washington Post March." "Oh, no!" gasped the trombonist. "I just got through playing that!" .

Many changes have been made in the types of meetings WVMEA has held. During the early 1940s, WVMEA met in conjunction with the State Education Association (SEA) during luncheons lasting up to three hours. In 1946, music educators from all over West Virginia gathered in Clarksburg for the first annual WVMEA conference, held at the Waldo Hotel on Pike Street on Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23.

At one session, WVMEA president Claren Peoples proposed that the association follow MENC's plan and appoint "special projects committees." Several members suggested that additional committees be established to help students prepare for college music courses. After much discussion, the delegates established the following committees: Basic Music Training Through Piano Instruction, Film Music in Education, Records and Recording Equipment, Radio in Music Education, Creative Music Projects, Opera in Music Education, Instrumental Music Classes, Student Membership and Student Activities, Musicology and Music Education, School and Community Relations and Activities, Statewide Music Education Program, and Folk Music. Although these committees no longer exist, several evolved into the affiliates that are now part of WVMEA.

Choosing the right time for a meeting has always been difficult. Factors such as school schedules and other planned events had to be considered. After much discussion, Dr. J. Henry Francis made a motion that WVMEA hold annual meetings in the fall. The motion passed.

Finding a location with proper facilities is a second consideration. The association decided that the second conference would be held in the ballroom of the Prichard Hotel in Huntington, November 21 and 22,1947. They also decided that the size of the All-State Chorus would be 200 members from schools outside the host county, and that an additional number from the host county would be determined by the size of the auditorium at the discretion of the chorus chairman.

The All-State Chorus and All-State Orchestra met at a different time than the WVMEA conference. Both ensembles met in Huntington April 15-17, 1948. Mr. Diercks from Ohio State University directed the chorus, and David Malten from the University of Michigan directed the orchestra.

At its June 1948 meeting, the Executive Board voted to hold the next conference on November 19 and 20, 1948. Esther Cunningham, All-State Chorus chairperson, reported that 265 students participated in the 1948 chorus. On November 19, 1948, Esther Cunningham announced that the chorus would assemble in Charleston on April 20-22, 1949, with forty-two participating schools and Dr. Diercks as conductor for a second year.

The following year (1950), the Executive Board changed the dates of the third WVMEA conference to January 30 and 31 and identified the Marshall College Auditorium in Huntington as the location. The West Virginia Bandmasters Association and the College Music Educators Association, both of whom were not affiliated with WVMEA at the time, also held meetings on those dates.

Members heard a report by Clifford Brown, chairman of the Constitution Committee, which proposed three changes to the WVMEA Constitution: 1) Any member of an MENC student chapter is automatically a member of WVMEA. 2) Representatives-at-Large shall be elected for a term of three years. 3) The secretary-treasurer shall be responsible for WVMEA correspondence. The changes were adopted unanimously. WVMEA conferences are now held in March. Each year, the WVMEA Executive Board examines the conference schedule and makes necessary changes to meet the needs of West Virginia music educators and students.