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Pe ak Perf ormance FESTIVALS & News From Our Division Chairs &

Past-President William McDevitt

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Random Thoughts

It’s been a few issues since I’ve written an article, so I thought that it was time to begin again. This is the perfect time because we just finished another successful NJMEA State Conference. For the past several years, we have set up a survey for the membership to provide input about some of our major events. We did

so again this year after the State Conference. We have had an amazing response! Within 24 hours of the TempoExpress notification, we had over 150 responses. At the close of the survey, it was up to 230. This is the best response that we have had of any survey to date. I thought that this would be the perfect time to address the membership on how we use this information, so you understand how important your input is to planning future events. Some of the questions are used for general information. Others are used for targeted responses. For example, “If you stayed over- night, what nights did you stay?” would be general information. “What are your top 3 choices for Academies to be presented next year?” would be a targeted question. We use the targeted questions to get a sense of where the membership stands on some issues. We also understand that with 230 responses and almost 2000 people walking through the door over the course of the weekend, it is just a general idea of the membership’s thoughts, not a full set of responses. What we do look at are themes that seem to re-occur throughout the survey responses and try to address them the best that we can. What most of our members don’t know is that on the Saturday evening of the conference, after everyone has gone home and the

hotel is empty, the members of the committee meet to discuss emergent issues and changes that need to be made for the following year. For example, at this meeting last year, we discussed the idea of expanding Thursday into Academies like Eastern Division and having them open to everyone. After much planning, they were added to this year’s conference with much success. There were many positive comments about this new feature. There were also some negative ones that we had already addressed at this year’s meeting, like what Academies should be offered next year (hence the reason for the survey question). Many of the comments that are made in the survey contradict others. For example, for every person that commented about how

wonderful the conference was, there was another that thought that it was awful. For every person that cited an excellent clinician, there was a person that cited a terrible clinician (and some were the same clinician!). What I would like to do is provide our member- ship with some answers to a few of the topics that seem to have re-occurring questions associated with your responses. Hopefully you can come away with some helpful info. If not, maybe you can understand why we do things or at least know that we are discussing things that are important to you.

“Keep the registration table open all day on Thursday” – This was addressed at our post-conference meeting. In the past,

all of our pre-conference attendees were registered before lunchtime. The NJMEA Executive Board meets late Thursday after- noon. In the past, the Exec Board ran registration, so they could not be in two places at one time. This will be fixed next year. “It’s too crowded” or “Find a new location” – We have discussed this issue NUMEROUS times. Unfortunately, this is the

best facility that is in a central location for our State – and yes, New Brunswick is central! We do the best that we can with the facility that we have available to us. One major decision last year was to leave the Ramada. This seems to have been a positive decision. “Rooms were not appropriate for certain sessions” – This was also discussed after the conference. We are very limited by the space that we can have. In fact, we are not even guaranteed space in the Tower until January on the year of each conference. If that space is rented by a company, we don’t get to use it. We have to plan the conference knowing that the entire thing could be thrown into a shambles 6 weeks before we open the doors. “The break on Friday is too long” – This was done because we had people comment in the past that they didn’t have time to visit the exhibits. Now the exhibits are open during the lunch. We will look at this for next year. “Bring back the Thursday lunch” – There has been much discussion about this over the past few years. There were several

problems with the Thursday lunch. First, the space that we needed for the luncheon is the space that is used for the General Music sessions. Second, the cost of a hotel luncheon is very expensive. Most of the cost that was

TEMPO 6 continued on page 8 MAY 2012

 Adjudicated performances 

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Taped and Written Comments

Clinics for all performing ensembles

Dinner/Dance Awards Presentation

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Additional performance opportunities

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 Cedar Point Amusement Park  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  House of Blues

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Washington, D.C. April 26-29, 2012

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