As I stand ready to step into the position of the MEA presidency, I feel the weight of — and responsibility to — 90 plus years of tradition, history and excellence. I would like to thank the nominating committee and the board of directors for the confidence they placed in me. I am truly honored.
For me it has been a long journey. I realized how long, when I settled into registering my students for the piano auditions, using the newly established online registration. I found myself archiving 55 students. For years I have been attending general meetings, registering players to perform in both the student and honors recitals, and signing up my students to participate in the piano competition and annual auditions. Then one day, not long ago, I was asked to fill in and host a student recital. Before soon I found myself accepting the position of Student Recital Program Chair. With that came the obligation of attending board meetings as a member of the board of directors of the MEA.
So I did. Then, at some point it hit me: the MEA does not run itself. At every meeting, I found myself surrounded by a remarkable group of committed members. I then realized the depth of talent and dedication they all represented. Recently, the MEA celebrated its 90th anniversary, and I know it would not have lasted that long were it not for people like those seated around that table, willing to give of their time, energy and skill. Upon these reflections, I decided to step up and accept the MEA presidency.
As I continue to consider how I got here, I realize how important it is for members to care enough about the organization, and how essential it is to step up. I recognize the apprehension that may come with raising one’s hand: “I have never done this before.” “Am I capable enough?” “Do I qualify?” “Is my English good enough?” “I don’t want make a to fool of myself.” In response to questions like these, I would like to offer the following anecdote.
Recently I attended a session run by a company called, Fast Forward Group. The central premise of the session was: THROW YOUR HAT OVER THE WALL SO YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO FOLLOW IT. In other words, challenge yourself and figure out how to resolve your situation so you can triumph. Just some food for thought: when more members step up, then the load is lightened for those who frequently volunteer. As one takes on a new responsibility and acquires new skills, with it comes the joy of learning. If more of us volunteer, the less difficult it will be for a future nominating committee to choose the next recording secretary, or the next president.
One more thought: as I scroll back to the last few programs the MEA offered in the general meetings, it is hard to imagine a better lineup. Aaron Wunsch kept us spell bound with his lecture on Debussy and Visual Art. Joseph Kalichstein conducted a master class featuring fine performances by MEA members. Jeffrey Biegel lectured on Modern Embellishments in Bach and Mozart, and wowed us with a most sensitive and breathtakingly beautiful performance of Chopin’s Waltz in C-sharp Minor. Adam Kent introduced us to Catalan composers in his lecture entitled, Portraits from Barcelona, and to cap off the season, Douglas Humpherys’ master class did not fail to inspire. Our organization’s monthly gatherings don’t only enrich us and broaden our horizons, but also help to create a sense of community and camaraderie, as well as form friendships. Do try to set that third Thursday of the month aside so you can partake of all of the above.
A word to Nancy, our just-departing president: we met when you approached me at a general meeting, a camera strapped around your neck. True to that initial gesture, as president, you continued to encourage a welcoming and friendly atmosphere at our meetings. Yours are the only board meetings I ever attended. You ran them with efficiency, discipline and good humor. I know that none of these are to be taken for granted at board meetings. The list of accomplishments during your presidency speaks for itself. You even found time to think about, look for, and bring us holiday-appropriate token gifts. Most importantly, behind the scenes, you supported, encouraged, and fought so I could succeed. I always felt that I could come to you with a dilemma, knowing that I would get an honest answer. I feel blessed that you will have my back as I step into this presidency.
Finally, I would like to welcome the new board, safe in the knowledge that, together, we will keep the engine finely tuned, and the MEA moving smoothly forward.
Yudit Terry, President