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Jun 25

President’s Message

On behalf of the IDRS Executive Board, our working sub-committees, and the staff, I send my greetings to each and every one of you. Like many of you, I am adjusting to artistic life during a pandemic, embracing the discussions about social justice, and I am nervous about the realities of arts and arts education in society over the next months and years. However, I remain optimistic about the reach and impact an organization like IDRS can have for its membership and the international double reed community at large. As President of IDRS, I maintain  a deep resolve and commitment to assessing, improving, and furthering our mission.

I wanted to share a few announcements with you today since we are unable to come together as a community in Iowa City, as we had all planned this week. I would be remiss to not thank Ben Coelho and Courtney Miller for the fantastic work they did to build a stellar conference this summer, and I hope we will all be able to convene in Iowa City sometime in the future to realize the dream they had for the conference. 

I want to let you know about a number of initiatives, changes and updates. First, the Executive Committee recently approved funding to support ongoing COVID-19 research happening at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Maryland. We are part of a consortium that was spearheaded by two organizations in the United States, the College Band Directors National Association and National Federation of High Schools, to better understand particle emissions from playing wind instruments in anticipation of providing some helpful suggestions for those of us wind players who will be back in the studio, rehearsals, and performance in the months ahead. We will let you know as soon as we have information to report. 

Second, I wanted to honor the dedication, commitment, and legacy of our own Dan Stolper who passed away last Tuesday at the age of 85. Dan had been with IDRS from its beginning years and provided a steady hand as Editor of The Double Reed for decades. We will continue to celebrate his life, his principles, and his legacy in the third issue of the Double Reed which will go to print early this fall.

Third, I recently communicated about the need to reassess the repertoire for the 2021 Competitions that was announced on June 1st. Following thorough discussions with the competition committees, subcommittee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Executive Board, we are pleased to announce we will be republishing the repertoire with some changes to the Gillet-Fox Oboe Competition. The Norma Hooks Young Artist Competition repertoire will stay the same. I want to thank the Committees, led by Jennifer Auerbach and Nermis Mieses, as well as the music vendors who sell sheet music, for their dedication and work on behalf of the society. 

Finally, I want to bring your attention to a number of actions we are working on as the Leadership of the Society begins to fully acknowledge our complicity over the years with the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our leadership, conferences, competitions, and both articles and iconography in The Double Reed. The Executive Board recognizes that people and music of underrepresented and marginalized communities must have greater representation throughout our Society. Our Statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion released last Fall was one small step in this process, but now, it is time for acceptance and action.

The Executive Board is meeting regularly to continue its assessment of a new Code of Regulations to replace our outdated Constitution and to overhaul policies and guidelines for Conferences, Competitions, and Leadership positions – all through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The DEI Subcommittee, consisting of Kristin Wolfe Jensen, Katherine Needleman, Sarah Roper, John Steinmetz, Frank Swann, Lia Uribe, and Lecolion Washington, has provided invaluable and candid assessment from a perspective outside the IDRS leadership. 

We look forward to sharing the new and improved policies and procedures with you in the coming weeks and months as we prepare to present the new Code of Regulations to you, the IDRS Membership. Ultimately, we are not only in this together, but we are stronger together.

Thank you.

Eric Stomberg,
President, IDRS

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