Dr. Marsha Kindall-Smith: NASPAAM President 2014 - 2017
Maya Angelou said that without courage, one cannot consistently practice other virtues. Two hundred music educators and other musicians had the courage to form The National Black Music Caucus to preserve, promote, and advance the tradition of African American Music in 1972; later the name changed to NASPAAM. Read about our successful conferences and other accomplishments on this new March 2017 website; more history will be added. At all times we welcome musicians, music teachers, music connoisseurs, new members, and new officers. Why haven’t we had a major conference since 2013 in Birmingham? Because immediately afterwards the Council of Presidents had the courage to face new century challenges with decreasing numbers of music teachers, dwindling funding for music education, and smaller membership. To address these concerns they decided to have the first Think Tank, a major undertaking. I was appointed President-Elect in August 2013 with the charge to organize the program content and secure important leaders to join our private conversation scheduled for the day after my installation as President. In June 2014 the Board of Directors of NASPAAM had the vision to revitalize the organization via a Think Tank with 9 presenters, The Road Ahead: Keeping the NASPAAM Legacy Alive in the 21st Century.Dr. Warrick Carter, former President of Columbia College Chicago and a NASPAAM Founder, emphasized a web reorganization, more outreach, especially youth, and simply “do what you’ve been doing, but do it better.” Wayne Brown, President and CEO, Michigan Opera Theatre and Former Director, Music and Opera National Endowment for the Arts, emphasized that an organization’s financial literacy begins with a self-assessment of its vision, or an overarching message to make things happen. Two museum officials enabled us to establish more collaborations, Henry Beecher Hicks, III, President/CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (Nashville), and Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece, Music and Performing Arts Curator, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Consequently, each Board Member made important contributions in strengthening our infrastructure and some deserve special recognition. Kudos to Chair of the first Think Tank, Gwendolyn Carroll, who currently multitasks as Secretary, Bylaws Chair, and Budget Chair. Kudos to Dr. T. Marshall Jones who has traveled to several locations recruiting as Membership Chair. Kudos to Dr. Jemmie Hawkins, Collegiate Chair who developed models for standards to be implemented that represent NASPAAM goals for collegiate chapter engagements and organized the first collegiate section of our web. I secured a web master and directed web development as another form of outreach. Notice our new NASPAAM logo and first Collegiate NASPAAM logo. With courage, some chaos, and enormous creativity, the revitalized NASPAAM is “doing it better.”
Optimism is the theme for an international association of volunteers who believe that they can create a better world through positive action in their communities. NASPAAM has survived through the years because of a dedicated focus on our mission amidst overwhelming optimism. Not only are new members always welcome, but also, we are eager to learn about your leadership ideas as potential Board Members. Soon the Executive Board of NASPAAM will present its second Think Tank,The Status of African American Music in US Colleges and Universities. Dr. Ted McDaniel secured 13 scholars/speakers from several colleges/universities, and student ensembles, faculty soloists from Atlanta colleges/universities and made all the arrangements. He organized the vigorous content with valuable assistance from another excellent scholar and NASPAAM Executive Board member, Dr. Rosita Sands. Think Tank participants have courage to investigate the offerings and teachings of African American music in the undergraduate curriculum, and optimism to explore the creation of a new degree program in music departments - the African American Music major or minor. Each speaker eagerly accepted the opportunity to participate in this initiative. We welcome you to attend, listen to the performances, think, and discuss the topics. Then join NASPAAM. Our Secretary stated that we need persons like those who attend our second Think Tank to help us keep the only organization with a history such as ours alive. Kudos to Dr. Ted McDaniel, a NASPAAM founder who has continuously been an active board member with longstanding stamina, integrity, and ingenuity!
Since the administration of NASPAAM’s first President 45 years ago, composer Dr. T. J. Anderson, there have been numerous outstanding Board Members. I decided to include web bios of each member of my administration to share their unique ways of holding onto our mission. Some have had leadership positions less than 10 years including William Brackeen, Financial Secretary. Amazingly, others have continued to serve in various roles after their terms as President ended, including Frank Suggs, Executive Secretary and Editor-in-Chief; Dr. George Allen, Parliamentarian; Dr. Mark Phillips, Advisory Chair; Elizabeth Eccles, and Dr. Fred Taylor. Others who have served more than 25 years include Dr. Martha Cistrunk-Brown, Treasurer and Dr. Alvin Amos, Photography. Collectively, our 14-member Board of Directors represent 333 years of holding onto their NASPAAM membership and 232 of those years as Board Members of our beloved organization! Although I applaud the tenacity and innovations of these leaders, we are the smallest board in NASPAAM’s history and the majority are retired. We are facing challenges and we need your skills and resources to confront challenges, to spread the message, and to provide future programs. We are passionate about the NASPAAM mission valued by millions of people. Join us in singing the inspirational spiritual,
Keep your eyes on the prize - Hold on!
Houston Conference Photos
planning & strategy
Creating effective means to promote.
Develop cross-functional programs.
Access to our rich music resources.
Undergraduate Membership Opportunities for Institutions & students. Interested in becoming a NASPAAM Collegiate Chapter member? Please click.