It is my great pleasure to greet you as the newest president of New York Singing Teachers Association! Having taken this responsibility from David Sabella-Mills as of July, I am still discovering much information that is truly new to me about NYSTA. My first duty, however, no matter how much history there is to learn, is to thank my predecessor for all his work in moving the organization forward, both in educational pursuits and in technological developments.
There is no way for anyone to know how much work the president does in any organization. There are a million small details and tremendous tasks that must be attended to, much of which falls to the person in charge, despite how many people there are to help. It was David who grasped how important our website was to our continued growth.
He saw us through two redesigns of the website: the first almost single-handedly his own, the last with the massive input of Felicity Graham, who is our PDP Director, and her husband Spencer Portée. Bravi tutti for all that painstaking, back-breaking work. It has more than repaid your investment of time and effort.
It was David who foresaw that our educational offerings, the PDP program started many years ago by former President Janet Pranschke and shepherded afterward by recent president Josephine Mongiardo, needed to be available online and on demand. It was he who edited much of the many hours of footage in those video recordings–certainly an arduous and time-consuming task. And again, it was David who supported NYSTA’s presence at NATS conferences as well as at the Voice Symposium and the ICVT, helping us to become more of a force for education with “bodies on the ground” and timely advertising, all the while successfully urging so many of his colleagues to become members.
When anyone in an organization gives freely of his or her time, it is usually at the expense of sleep, personal relationships and perhaps even one’s own performing career. Such time given is never truly returned. David, on behalf of the membership and myself, our deepest, deepest thanks for everything you did, for the sacrifices you made and the results you realized. I hope you are justly proud of your legacy.
At this point, were I reading and not writing this, I would be wondering, “So what is in NYSTA's future and what does this president have in storfor the organization?” The State of the Union Message might be something along this vein:
■ NYSTA is in good financial shape. We have been careful with our funds and will continue to be fiscally cautious as we move forward, weighing the benefits of every expenditure.
■ Our PDP courses are running well, under Felicity Graham’s terrific supervision. We have re-recorded, or will shortly re-record, all the courses so they aravailable in high definition for viewers.
■ We are expanding our online chats, which have proved very popular. Again, we have Felicity to thank for spearheading this endeavor.
■ We will be continuing the Josephine Mongiardo Great Coaches Series this coming autumn. We avery fortunate to have Maestro Peter Mark accept our invitation to join us for this series, thanks to the efforts of Josephine Mongiardo.
■ We are planning a special Holiday event featuring Sweet Adelines, a first-ever social networking event for young singers/ teachers and a celebratory concert (with singing opportunities for your students) for composer / pianist Richard Pearson Thomas, who has served NYSTA long and well.
■ We will continue to search for viable and improved venues for our events. As we began using the new Opera America facilities last year, so do we expect to have at least a few of our offerings there again. These are grateful rooms to sing in, no matter what size, so please join us there whenever you can.
■ We expect to place more advertising in different publications, with an eye toward increasing membership, PDP enrollment, and website use.
The most exciting news is that NYSTA is going to be sponsoring two singers to the wonderfully inspiring and educational summer program SongFest, held at The Colburn School in Los Angeles next summer.
Josephine Mongiardo, Nancy Adams and I will attend the Songfest auditions next January and will help choose the winners, in consultation with the Songfest artistic faculty. Please keep an eye on your VOICEPrints when they are posted on the website, and check the website frequently for more details as they become available. This is a terrific opportunity for singers to attend a major summer program virtually expense free. Don’t miss it.
From David Sabella-Mills, I inherited an organization that is running well and will continue to evolve.