Address to the Annual Meeting of the Association of Anglican Musicians

Marty Wheeler Burnett, D.Min.

The following is a transcript of the presidential address delivered via videoconference on June 24, 2020.

Greetings, AAM Members! This is Marty Wheeler Burnett, President of the Association of Anglican Musicians. Thank you for joining us for this first ever – and I hope only – virtual annual meeting.

It’s been a year like no other. Our thoughts and prayers are with our members and loved ones who have dealt with illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our association also stands with all who are striving for justice and equality as we confront the systemic racism and sexism in our nation and our church.

We should have been in Richmond this summer. Thanks to Ellen Johnston, Kevin Kwan, and entire Richmond Conference committee. We look forward to joining you in 2022. AAM members, the best way to honor the work of this committee is to make a commitment to attend the 2022 Conference, and I hope you’ll join me in doing so.

As I mentioned in a recent president’s letter, we’ve been the liturgical and musical first responders during this crisis. I admire your creative work and your use of technology.

Here are some highlights of the past year:

  • The use of technology, including Zoom for board meetings
  • Updating all of our customaries and committee job descriptions
  • We also added a new column in The Journal, edited by Stephen Leist, called “Committee Profiles” to help members learn more about the work of our committees.
  • I was pleased to appoint Bishop Neil Alexander as our Chaplain
  • We formed a new committee, LPAC – the Lay Professional Advocacy Committee, chaired by Linda Patterson. This group plans and prepares for our presence at General Convention, and they also network with other organizations of lay professional employees within the Episcopal Church
  • The Gerre Hancock Internship Committee chaired by Kristin Lensch. This year’s intern was Isaac Drewes at St. James Cathedral in Chicago. The upcoming year’s internship had to be postponed due to the pandemic, but it will be held during the 2021-22 year at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
  • AAM was an exhibitor at the FORMA conference in January in Atlanta and presented a workshop to the participants, coordinated by Jason Abel.
  • Our Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by Michael Messina, has a survey in progress. If you haven’t already responded, I hope you’ll do so before it closes on June 30. The data gathered from the survey will help us plan for organizational and staffing needs in the future.
  • Our Founder’s Society was launched, chaired by Paul Ellison. Take a look on our website and learn more about this and consider remembering AAM with a bequest in your will.
  • Our Endowment Committee – Robert McCormick, Chair – reviews grant applications and makes recommendations to the board. All the grants funded this year and in previous years are posted on our website – take a look.
  • One of the grants that truly excites me is a grant that we offered to the coalition of 85 music organizations, of which AAM is a member, sponsoring research on aerosol transmission of COVID-19 in rehearsal and performance settings. This study has now begun and will have data available to us in the fall that will help in planning our programs in the years ahead.
  • We also supported the SCLM (Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music) in their study of issues facing women in The Episcopal Church. The survey was sent to all of our women members, and the data from these women musicians will be included in the report to General Convention.

Thanks to all of our committee members who are completing terms of service. Although we can’t meet in person, we acknowledge all of you, and will do so in the weeks ahead as we post complete listings of our committees on our website.

On behalf of our Association, it is my particular honor to thank our Immediate Past President, Paul Ellison. As we have dealt with the unprecedented challenges of this past year, he has exhibited steady leadership, wise counsel, and ever-present good humor. I have relied on his advice and perspective as we have dealt with many challenges this year. Thank you, Paul, our 36th President of AAM, for four outstanding years of service and leadership to our association.

Thanks to Mark Ardrey-Graves who is completing his term as board member-at-large this summer, and thanks to our committee chairs and appointed officers who are completing terms of service. I’ll note two in particular: Michael Burnette, our long-time Placement Advisor, and George Emblom, PCDC Chair.

Thanks to all our officers, chairs, and committee members who will begin or continue their service in the year ahead.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our Dallas Conference next summer in 2021. Thanks for all that you do for AAM. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and thank you for being a participant in the Association of Anglican Musicians.