I am in the airport, heading home from the American String Teachers National Conference which was held in Orlando from March 4-7. The conference was a huge success and, as always, included wonderful learning opportunities, renewal of old friendships, many new friendships, and a general spirit of community and love that many of us have grown to anticipate and appreciate on an annual basis at the conference.
I was thrilled to conduct the first National Conference Teacher Orchestra on Wednesday and want to thank all who participated. It was so much fun and everyone seemed to really enjoy making music together. The performance at the opening reception was a blast! Special thanks to Jesus Florido for participating and soloing with us. We learned so much from you in the rehearsal as well!
Congratulations to Jesus and all of the performers who brought the very first Electric Bowed String Concert to ASTA this year. It was so much fun and we all appreciate the unbelievable musicianship that was on display on Thursday night. I am so proud of my history in the electric violin community appreciate each of you!! Jesus: your love and positive energy was the catalyst for this. Thanks!!
I also wish to thank thank Brian Hellhake and the students of Freedom High School Orchestra for serving as a demonstration group for my session, along with Jim Palmer, on Sharing Our Secrets: Higher Order Thinking. The students were magnificent and we really couldn't have asked for anything better. Thanks, too, to Jim Palmer. We have so much fun presenting together. We certainly missed Rebecca MacLeod this year. She was judging the National Orchestra Festival this year, but I am sure our trio will reconvene soon!!
I want to extend a huge congratulations to the ASTA Staff for a magnificent conference. Monika Schulz has really moved our organization to a new level of professionalism and prominence. Susan Hoopes was invaluable in my preparation. Tracey Kratt has been instrumental in forwarding our ASTA Connect social tool. The whole staff is fantastic. Also, the ASTA Ambassadors (volunteers from the profession) were such servant leaders. We all appreciate you so much!
I can't begin to name all the new friends and colleagues whom I connected with this week. Please know that I value each and everyone of you. The meals, coffee, and hallway conversations were all so valuable and perspective-changing. Thank you all for your wisdom and encouragement!
And now we all go back our corner of the world to change string kids' lives one student at a time!! We are all filled up and ready to extend that energy to our individual communities. I can't wait to hear the stories of success again next year!