Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thank you, and keep in touch!

I've come to the end of my final term as Regional Councillor for this fabulous Region of the Guild, and my successor, Marilyn Schempp, will be installed as Councillor for Region VI at the national AGO convention in Nashville next week. As I contemplate "passing the torch" to her, I have very mixed emotions.

Of course I will enjoy the extra time I'll recover in my schedule (and I already have plans for use of that time!) But on the other hand, I will truly miss serving in this particular volunteer position. I'll miss the many opportunities I've had to converse with and be inspired by so many dedicated volunteers who serve the Guild and its members in our ten states. So many of you have truly touched my life.

One of those people is Larry Wheelock, Dean of the Milwaukee chapter. His letter, printed in that chapter's letter soliciting membership renewals and donations, expresses eloquently the strength and scope of Guild membership to "touch the future." An excerpt from it is printed below.  I hope his words inspire you as much as they did me.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Regional Councillor for the past six years. I know you will join me in warmly welcoming Marilyn, from Sioux City, SD, to the role. She brings a wonderful skillset and passion for the work of the Guild, and I am certain that she'll be a great Councillor for us. (Did you know the South Dakota chapter, in Sioux City, will host their SIXTH POE this summer?)

All sincere best wishes to you all -- and please, do keep "in touch"!

From Larry's letter: 

As the Chapter Executive Board was planning this renewal mailing, Steve Jensen quipped that the Dean usually sends along a touching letter. We chuckled at his jest, but in the days following the meeting I have been musing on how appropriate the allusion to touching really is. There are so many references to touching which apply to the situation. 
• From Latin we have toccare, meaning ‘to touch’ and giving us the musical form, “toccata,” (a “touch-piece”) with which we are all familiar. 
• We keep-in-touch to be aware of our colleagues and our arts-community and to allow them to be aware of our guild and chapter activities and programs and what each has to offer. 
• We touch-base with our profession and our colleagues to make sure we are grounded; connected; on-track. 
• We speak of the touch of a keyboard and our approach to it as we discuss practices and techniques and how to improve our own use of them. 
• We speak of putting-the-touch on someone, meaning, “to ask for money,” which we find so necessary at this time of year. 
• And, perhaps, most importantly, we hope that we touch our audiences and parishioners and choristers and students; that they are touched by our musicianship, skill, emotion, and musicality. 

This touching letter is the result of that contemplation. I need not tell you of the financial challenges faced by each of our churches, synagogues, schools, and institutions, and by many individuals in this time of widespread concern. I can only ask that you examine for yourself the value and importance you place on your chapter membership and then respond by renewing promptly and, if at all possible, adding a donation beyond your dues. ... Your renewal can make a difference. Please renew promptly and consider a donation; by doing so (with apologies to the Teacher’s Union) you too can “touch the future.”