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Rusty Courson, ABA President                            
Rusty Courson

Well, at this point, summer is over for most of us.  Hopefully, you were able to rest and relax a little.  As I write this, I’m trying to wrap up last minute preparations for band camp, as many of you are doing as well.  Others are completing their first week of camp this week.  Hopefully everyone will have a great summer and fall!!!

 As we move forward into the 2014-15 school year, our new website associated with the relationship that we established with Dorian Business Systems is up and running.  If you haven’t already, please go in and register on the website TODAY!!!  If you’ve moved to a new school, please go in and UPDATE your registration to reflect the move.  This is especially important, as you need to be registered HERE in order to receive emails and updates from any of the board members (from myself all the way through your district chairs).  One of the advantages of ABAFest is the ability to send an email to everyone in the state or a specific district with one click…something that we’ve never been able to do before.  Simply go to www.abafest.com, click on the registration link, type in all of the requested information, and you’re done!

We expect the following features to be in place on ABAFest this school year:  Our cumulative list (which will be sortable), and completion of the MPA component (many of us used the website to register for MPA last year, but the entire module should be completed prior to MPA’s next winter/spring.  Most of us will use Audition Manager for all-state auditions one more time, but we expect that at least one district will beta test the DBS version next year...much like we did when transitioning from paper/pencil to Audition Manager some time ago.  There will definitely be some growing pains, but if the transition is as smooth as we had with MPA last year, I think that we’ll all be pleased with the results.  We all owe our liaison to DBS, David Raney, a huge debt of gratitude for his hard work on this project.  Like many of you, I enjoy the advantages of technology, but I couldn’t begin to understand how to write code!!!  David is one of us, yet understands and embraces that process as well, and we’re very fortunate to have him working alongside the programmers at DBS!!!

Hopefully you were able to attend our Summer Convention in Orange Beach earlier this summer at the Hampton Inn and Suites.  We will be back in that location next year as well.  We had outstanding clinics presented by Elva Kay Lance, Randall Coleman, Ken Ozzello, and David Allinder.  PRACTICAL professional development is always important, and we thank each of you for sharing with us!

A special thanks to Wayne Broom (AWB Apparel), Art’s Music (Paul Frehling), Frank Godfrey and Jeff Thurber (DeMoulin Band Uniforms), Roland Mouchette (Mouchette Enterprises), and Chester Bean (Sound Choices) for sponsoring our social gathering on Wednesday evening.  For the first time in many years, we enjoyed a traditional shrimp boil meal!!!  Some of you may remember that in the early days of summer convention, we would have a shrimp boil on the pavilion at the state park.  After the pavilion was destroyed by a hurricane (I forget which one), the shrimp boil went away.  Thanks to the determination of the sponsors mentioned above, the shrimp boil is back and from what I’ve been told…is here to stay!  Please let these vendors know how much we appreciate their efforts, and if you were unable to be there, make plans to be there next year.  I can assure you that it will be worth your timeJ.

I’m doing a little self-plagiarizing (yes, it IS a real thing lol), here, but I would like to welcome our new directors to the profession.  I’d also like to remind those of you that have been at this for awhile to reach out to the new directors as well (and new directors, be RECEPTIVE TO THE OFFER!!!).  I keep asking myself “When did you become the OLD guy!!!”  I honestly can’t remember…it just happened at some point as directors older than me retired.  The bottom line (let the self-plagiarizing begin) is that we should all treat directors and those associated with their programs (parents, students, etc.) with respect and admiration.  SO MANY of the world’s problems could be solved if we would simply treat people right.  Keep that in mind as you progress through the school year.  Everything in boldface comes directly from my article last August.  I don’t think I could have said it any better, and it’s so true that it bears stating again.  I’ve asked my kids for years to “…do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.”  I must admit that I’ve been guilty of straying from that mantra, but I could state so many names of folks in our profession that have kept me on the straight and narrow during the 25+ years I’ve been doing this.  In closing, try to treat people right, remember that we do what we do for our kids, be willing to reach out to help those that need help, and be willing to ask for help when you need help (the hardest one of the group for me).  If you do those things this school year, I know that you’ll have a GREAT year!!!

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