by Tim Seston and Val Smalkin
Dear CMN Family,
When we look at the happy faces in the picture below, taken at the Mid-Atlantic Benefit Concert and Song Swap in Washington, DC, we smile from ear to ear. Why? Because the Children’s Music Network brought people in the Mid-Atlantic Region together with people in Uganda, and they all recognize the positive power of music in children’s lives.
Here’s how it worked: One of our members, Stephen Wandu Bimo, lives in Uganda and works with unaccompanied child refugees in Camp Bidibidi, the world’s second largest refugee camp. (Read more about his CMN collaborations in this issue’s feature, “Planting Seeds of Love in South Sudan”.) His work inspired the Mid-Atlantic Region to hold a benefit concert along with a song swap. Ben Gundersheimer, a Grammy-award winning artist and CMN member, donated a show for the benefit of those children. It was an inspiring evening, and the Mid-Atlantic Region is committed to combining fundraising for charities in our backyard with song swaps and concerts. Do you think your region might be inspired as well? If so, just connect with your local CMN members and start creating!
Meanwhile, on the national level, we are happy to report that the Children’s Music Network is growing and thriving through the dedicated work of many volunteers. Rather than list them all here, we invite you to peruse our list of ongoing projects and volunteers, and perhaps even join in the satisfying work!
Our Board’s most exciting goal for this year is to act on the insights we gained through the Diversity Training Session at our 2018 Annual Conference. Building on that experience, we hope to make our community more welcoming to diverse cultures. For example, the Board has selected the National Convention Center in Washington, DC, for the CMN 2020 Annual International Conference, precisely because it is in a densely populated area accessible to various demographics, and especially because there are several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nearby with superb music programs. These connections will be of great benefit to us as we seek to grow. We have much to learn from our neighbors, so we are starting now to build bridges—or perhaps we should say, open the freeway—between CMN and diverse communities so we can learn, share, and grow. We believe these changes will take time to cultivate and bring to fruition, but with attention and intention, the future looks beautifully diverse.
Your Board of Directors has found working for you to be enlivening, inspiring, and even fun. We hope you will be moved to join in and make light work with many hands.
Yours in song,
Val Smalkin, email@example.com
Tim Seston, firstname.lastname@example.org