Letter From the Editor
Last September, before school started, I attended a school in-service program where the facilitator presented a captivating series of images accompanied by the song, “We Are All Connected.” After the workshop I searched for it on the Internet, and discovered, much to my delight, that member Sue Straw was the composer. Thus the theme for this issue was born and is so gloriously extended in our “Seeing Through Music” and “All Around This World” features, “Music in Bloom” and “Thoughts to Chew” columns, and five of the seven songs!
A chance comment from Susan Salidor, my perennial conference roommate, along the lines of “there should be an article about ukuleles” elicited the second theme. Susan and Amy Conley offer compelling—and sometimes humorous—reasons for adding this instrument to your life, while Alina Celeste provides invaluable direction for how to actually play it in her fascinating column on YouTube resources, “In Search of the Wild Ukulele.” Fair warning: Once you go down the rabbit hole, it may be hours before you return! Clicks beget clicks beget clicks!
The Presidents’ Message is an inspiring must-read, and conference reflections are not to be missed. Kayte Deioma’s photos are a perfect harmony to the openhearted tributes given by our writers, and illustrate why each and every CMN member should make it a priority to attend these seminal gatherings.
It’s a wonderful issue. Read it, enjoy it, and of course, pass it on!
And now for my news. This is my last issue as PIO! editor. I’m thrilled to announce that Ginger Lazarus, PIO!’s copy editor, will take over the position. Ginger is a writer, teacher, editor, and singer whose combination of insight, humor, and commitment to CMN will make PIO! sing. She will be assisted by Heather Taylor, PIO!’s new copy editor.
Three years ago I had the privilege of assuming the editorship of PIO! Since then, with the support of CMN’s Board, Jane Arsham, PIO! Advisory Board (Yes, there is one! Thank you, Bonnie Lockhart, Sally Rogers, Joanie Calem, and Nancy Silber), PIO! staff, and our member writers, an enterprise that I barely comprehended has matured from its first brave digital iteration (constructed by Caroline Presnell and Carl Foote) into a beautifully realized online journal celebrating the talents of CMN’s membership. My BOD liaison, Susan Salidor, and my husband, Will Hornsby, also served a key role, providing support and clarity at decisive moments.
The stars aligned to bring together a staff that not only worked well together but liked and appreciated each other’s sense of humor and communication styles. It helps enormously that each of these gifted collaborators is an independent and far-reaching thinker who strives to improve not only the content but the look and delivery of the journal. Hats off to Ginger Lazarus, copy editor; Kim Arden, graphic designer; and Carl Foote, webmaster.
The journal’s infrastructure is not often celebrated, but here are some of the changes the staff has made to enhance the reading experience:
- Creation of issue themes and stylistically connected cover imagery
- Inclusion of a slide-out Table of Contents (TOC) indicated by a book icon
- Development of distinct three-column TOC template for Columns and Songs
- Elevation of Departments and Reports to the top of the TOC
- Addition of icons and author attributions to Songs in the TOC
- Design of badges for CMN Anthems and songs performed at annual conferences
- Creation of sharing buttons for Facebook and Twitter
- Unlocking of content, with everything except songs now available to non-members
The editorial staff committed to selecting stories that drew from CMN’s collective wisdom, highlighted its history, upheld its social justice focus, and examined the many distinct issues of working with children musically. Like those before us, we mined riches from PIO!’s past issues and instituted new directions, like Alina Celeste’s Let’s Talk Tech column and the semiregular Resources for Renewal.
Our generous columnists consistently contribute engaging and thought-provoking pieces that I find myself referring to on a regular basis. Val Smalkin deserves extra recognition for not only serving as CMN’s co-president, but as PIO! Songs editor, columnist, and feature writer.
What’s on my horizon? I’m not really retiring. Rather, I’m transitioning to the newly created volunteer position of “content advisor,” and will continue to serve the journal in whatever way needed.
It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you, all.