You Gotta Sing When the Spirit Says Sing
The CMN 2018 Annual International Conference
by Joanie Calem
Every fall, the CMN Conference is a time of meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, relishing whatever weather we have, and swimming through a weekend of a whole lot of singing.
The 2018 Children’s Music Network Annual International Conference will be at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, on Lake Erie. The hotel is a cozy place, with décor inspired by Native American tribes local to the area, as well as by the Arts and Crafts movement. The Lodge is home to a collection of historic artifacts, artistic representations, and recreations of Ohio’s distant and recent past. There are nature trails and access to the lake, allowing close encounters with the birds that flock to the area in every season. And the food is incredible as well!
This year, the theme of the conference is Diversity, and how, in this era of angry public discourse, the Children’s Music Network can make sure that we are truly maintaining an open tent to welcome one and all. Our keynote speaker will be Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, PhD. “Dr. T” comes to us with a wealth of experience in cross-cultural studies, theatrical and television performance, and commercial credits. She is currently on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University and is founder and director of The Conciliation Project.
As anyone who has ever attended a CMN conference knows, the Magic Penny Award is given to people who have demonstrated lifetime achievement in the field of children’s music. This year’s recipients are Kim and Reggie Harris. Kim and Reggie have been performing, teaching, writing, researching, and recording for over thirty years, sharing music and stories with both kids and adults, inspiring all generations to know our history and work toward a better world. We look forward to celebrating with Kim and Reggie and immersing ourselves in some of their most cherished songs.
This year, the conference theme song is an African American spiritual, You Gotta Sing When the Spirit Says Sing. As a zipper song, this spiritual can go in many different directions, but in its essence it expresses the human spirit’s constant movement toward self-expression. At CMN conferences, singing is a community experience. This song is waiting for you to add some harmonies! One way to zip in something new into this song would be to sing, “You gotta dance when the spirit says dance.” We will gladly use this song to build community right from the beginning of the conference with contra-dancing on Friday night.
As per usual, we will have too many wonderful workshops! The workshops will be divided into four tracks, with workshops for early childhood specialists, workshops for people doing music with audiences of all ages, workshops on the business of children’s music, and our ever-popular song swaps. Please check out the full schedule and workshop descriptions on the CMN website.
Be sure to bring your swimsuit, as there are both indoor and outdoor pools (weather permitting of course), and athletic wear for the gym. CMN members will also offer always-popular morning yoga sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
All of our tried-and-true CMN conference traditions will be present at the conference: a silent auction, sales tables, Glad Rags, and late night jamming. We look forward to singing and dancing with all of you!