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Departments | Spring 2016

Letter from the Editor

The annual fall conference on the shores of Lake Michigan brought CMN members together to share music and ideas, renew and initiate friendships. Among those gathered were the core group who organized, edited, designed, and published Pass It On! Though most of us had not met face to face until this time, the meetings conducted over the weekend were filled with great good will and the easy give and take of longtime friends. We had much to celebrate: an exciting first issue of songs, features, and columns that highlighted the strength and history of our organization; positive member support; and last but not least the coalescing of our PIO! staff, which was greatly enlivened by the addition of Val Smalkin as Songs Editor. Her talent and her happy, can-do attitude make her perfect for the job. Welcome!

In the golden hours of our afternoon meetings, we discussed the upcoming issue and the future direction of the journal. We also initiated a discussion about redesigning the Table of Contents, making it more user friendly and ensuring that key components aren’t buried. Webmaster Carl Foote and graphic designer Kim Arden spearheaded substantive changes that we hope will make accessing the wide array of content an easy and enjoyable process. Of special note, the new “lock” icon next to a title designates articles that are available to CMN members only. All other content is open to the public—and for you to share!

Although the group was assured that the next issue, this issue, would be “less robust” than our first undertaking, this was not to be the case. The issue seemed to take on a life of its own, perhaps inspired by the theme of building bridges. The songs, features, and columns speak to diverse interpretations of the theme—building bridges across time and cultures, between those of different ages and abilities, in settings as familiar as home or as challenging as a hospital.

In these pages you’ll find offerings that include Jackson Gillman’s tender ruminations about building a bridge of hope with a critically ill child. At the other extreme lies Ted Warmbrand’s wry and delightful account of child-generated song mutations. Leslie Zak highlights the inspiring work member Elise Witt is doing with the Global Village Project; in a similar vein, Sally Rogers interviews Con Fullam about founding and growing the Pihcintu Chorus in Maine. Both are stories of choruses composed of refugee children from around the globe who have found their voices and a way to connect through music. In her second Let’s Talk Tech column, Alina Celeste shines a light on the evolution of the Mama Lisa’s World website through a fascinating interview with Lisa Yannucci, who has made it her life’s work to bring traditional music and chants from all over the world to our computers or tablets.

The designated CMN Anthems for this issue are songs that resonate deeply in our community and beyond: Carol Johnson’s “Love Grows One by One” and Ruth Pelham’s “Turning of the World.” But wait, there are more! including three from members not previously featured in PIO!—Laura Jo Ackerman’s English version of “Tulippu,” a charming children’s song from Japan; Dorothy Cresswell’s “So Many Stars”; and Linda Boyle’s “Spin Me a Web.” Both Linda’s song and Ted Warmbrand’s “I Lift My Lamp” were shared during the Open the Circle Multicultural Song Swap facilitated by Frank Hernandez at the 2015 conference. Rounding out the treasures to be found are Joyce Rouse’s “A Small Star” and Lydia Adams’ “My House Is a Construction Zone.”

We continue to present “classic reprints” with two engaging features from our archives. Phil Hoose’s “An Interview with Frankie and Doug Quimby: The Georgia Sea Island Singers” highlights the work of a group who continues to deeply influence our community though their efforts to preserve and promote African American songs and signing games. Mara Sapon-Shevin’s feature, “Music and Inclusion: Building a Vision Through Song,” asserts that “everyone’s voice is necessary for us to move the world forward. We don’t leave anyone out. We don’t leave people behind.” This theme is further amplified in Joanie Calem’s article, “Creating Safe Musical Spaces,” which addresses teaching and performing for integrated audiences.

Anchoring it all is Sarah Pirtle’s compelling account of the founding and building of CMN, a work of love and heart, impressive in its depth and scope. We can’t help but agree with Pete Seeger, who wrote to CMN in 2007 upon Sarah’s receiving the Magic Penny Award that “CMN wouldn’t exist without Sarah Pirtle. She helped start a good organization, and she knew enough…to bring in other talented people to share the leadership.”

Every once in a while, people ask why not open up the journal to writers outside the CMN community? Perhaps the contents of this issue provide an answer—at least for now. Our journal is written for us and by us, celebrating CMN’s mission while embracing and acknowledging the voice, commitment, talent, and generosity of each and every member.

Thank you to all our writers, composers, collectors, and dreamers who made this issue possible.