MEANYC President’s Message

Dear colleagues,

As we are now back into school year mode, I hope that everyone has had a relatively smooth start. 

Your MEANYC Executive Board has been busy planning and preparing a number of interesting and exciting events and initiatives for this year—our excellent workshops, Annual Autumn Event, Middle and High School Festivals,  Joe Sugar Day in Albany, Spring Honoree Event, for starters. Very shortly, we will be organizing our new committees (an option on our new membership application, found on our website), continuing our Music and Memory iPod Drive, linking with arts advocacy organizations on the national level, plus many more exciting plans and possibilities TBA!

As always, educators valiantly march into each new school year, facing all its challenges, and yet, despite it all, with renewed strength, dignity, and passion that are the trademarks of our profession. Those who know best understand that teaching is a passion, a calling, not merely a job. We refer to our students as “our kids” because they are just that. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to speak at our graduations, telling the students how much they mean to us, even long after they graduate. Many of my former elementary school students are now well into their thirties, some of them now teachers and parents themselves. They are getting used to the idea that I still refer to them as “my babies”. Some of my greatest and unexpected joys have been reuniting with them,  via Facebook(how they found me!) and in person. What an amazing gift. One I would never have imagined possible years ago. I’m sure we all have countless love-filled recollections of the beautiful children who grew and thrived, in part, due to the steady and loving diet of music education we fed them. I’m also learning of the others who never showed it during their time with me, yet held onto the seeds that were sown, only to flower years later. That is part of the beauty and reward of what we do. I wish you all the opportunity to reunite with your students in their adult years, so they can tell you themselves just how much the music AND you meant to them.

At the People’s Climate March last September, some of us marched among the almost half million strong with our MEANYC banner. It was so heartening how many people shouted to us from the sidelines “Music teachers!! Thank you!!” and even jumped in with us holding the banner and marching together. Some were even inspired to email us in the following days and weeks, expressing appreciation. You just never know!

I share all of this in the hopes that you all may take heart and gather some strength simply knowing that which is not always spoken.

Speaking of support, I trust that by now everyone knows their new (as of February 2015) NYCDOE Borough Arts Directors:

1. Brooklyn
    Joy Pace: Space@schools.nyc.gov
2. Bronx
    Joanna Berenson: JBerenson2@schools.nyc.gov
3. Bronx (District 7) and Manhattan
    Rachel Shapiro: RShapiro@schools.nyc.gov
4. Brooklyn (District 17, 20,21,22) and Staten Island
    Jessica Engelhart: JEnglehart@schools.nyc.gov
5. Queens
    Janet Velasquez: JVelasq@schools.nyc.gov

“…providing direct support to schools, helping to promote and strengthen arts programs, assisting in building arts partnerships, and supporting professional learning to teachers around the arts.”

Wishing everyone continued strength, unwavering passion, and the ability to savor the indescribable joy and gratification that keeps you where you are, doing what you do, because your kids need you. What you do matters.

Let’s celebrate together on November 28th at Steinway Hall. 

With great respect and warmest wishes,

Barbara