The 2020 Children’s Music Network Annual Conference will be like no other. Born of adversity and opportunity, the 2020 Conference will be entirely virtual, via Zoom. Although we will miss being together in person to sing and talk and hug, there are many benefits to the virtual conference format. We are particularly excited that technology will make the conference accessible to people who otherwise would not be able to attend because of geography, finances, or health. Participants will also be able to attend every workshop if they desire, since the workshops are all scheduled at different times (and we will record them so they can be viewed later as well).
The theme of the 2020 Conference is Music Makes the World Go ’Round, and we are highlighting the connections between music and activism. Our opening on Friday, October 2, will feature hip-hop artist Bomani Armah (aka D’mite, aka Baba Bomani) and Alastair Moock performing his song “Be a Pain.” Saturday, October 3, will begin with a second welcome featuring South African musician and activist Sharon Katz, whose internationally recognized Peace Train brought people of all races together in her home country and continues to do so in the United States, Cuba, and Mexico. Devin Walker will introduce the inspiring Dr. Ysaÿe Maria Barnwell, master teacher, choral clinician, composer, and longtime member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, who will present the keynote address about music in the Civil Rights Movement and the African American community, followed by a workshop on Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition. There will be three consecutive song swaps on Sunday afternoon, October 4, giving participants opportunities to share their songs about Social Justice, Reading and Books, and the Environment. On Sunday evening, October 4, there will be a facilitated discussion on race and being an anti-racist.
On Monday evening, October 5, Wendy Morgan will lead Be the Change, a panel discussion including Stephen Wandu Bimo (I CAN South Sudan), Darryl Boggs, Marsha Goodman-Wood, Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd (the Alphabet Rockers), SaulPaul, and Devin Walker. On Tuesday, October 6, Richard McLaughlin will present a workshop on Music, Puppets, and the Environment, and Joyce Rouse will present Suffrage Songs: Music to March, Persuade, and Rally. Workshops on inclusivity and accessibility include David Meyers’ Accessible Music: Creating Songs for Children With Autism and Joanie Calem’s There Is Room for All of Us: Sensory Friendly Songs and Games. These are just a sampling of the many wonderful sessions scheduled by Workshop Coordinators Kathy Byers and Sally Rogers.
The gentle activism, contributions, and music of Fred Rogers will be celebrated in the Magic Penny Award Ceremony on Saturday, October 10, with special guest David Newell, “Mr. McFeely” from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Our closing circle will wrap up with songs from Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Lea Morris, Aaron Nigel Smith, Rodney Whittenberg, and others, and will provide a look ahead to Together Tomorrow, next year’s CMN Conference October 8–10, 2021 in Rosemont, Illinois.