Iowa Bandmasters Association
December 2020 eNews
Membership News
IBA Honor Bands

It is time to submit your ensemble to perform as a part of the 2021 conference. While I recognize that all of our programs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is my hope that we will still be able to feature a full slate of concert bands and jazz bands in May. In order to better accommodate bands who’s rehearsals have been impacted by COVID-19, both the application and recording deadline for bands interested in performing at our conference have been pushed back. 

The Band Performance Application Form must be uploaded to by 11:59 pm on December 18, 2020. Recordings must be uploaded to by 11:59 pm on February 10, 2021. Please contact with any questions.

IBA Collegiate Workshop

We are LIVE with the registration and schedule for the IBA Collegiate Workshop on January 30, 2021! Registration can be found here, or on our page.

We specifically want to invite all of our IBA collegiate members, as well as all of our mentors and mentees. All are welcome! Registration will be open till January 27th.
Major Landers Scholarship
In light of our current climate, the Major Landers Scholarship registration deadline has been extended to Friday, December 11, 2020 at 11:59 pm. If you are a high school director and you have a student who wants to major in instrumental music education and is planning to attend an Iowa college or university, please encourage them to register for the Major Landers Scholarship audition process. 
This one registration enrolls them in their district competition as well as the state competition. Please contact with any questions.
IAAE Virtual Arts Advocacy Day
IAAE will be sponsoring a virtual Arts Advocacy Day on January 20, 2021. The theme of our event is "Arts Education is Essential". IAAE is soliciting advocates who will be willing to contact legislators to discuss the importance of arts education in our state as well as request their support of our "ask" for the 2021 legislative session. IAAE will provide you with an email template, supporting documents/video attachments, and the contact information (email/phone number) of your assigned legislators. Our goal is to have all 150 Iowa legislators contacted by at least one constituent. You may register as a virtual advocate at the IAAE website. IAAE will send out final information to all registered advocates the second week of January, 2021. Please spread the word!
From the Podium
I feel like every time I sit down to write one of these, my head ends up going to the same place - though I suppose I’m always in that same pseudo-dark place these days. November saw the worst impact of the virus yet in Iowa, and although our numbers seem to have improved over the past week, COVID is still surging around the country and we are entering what experts say could be the worst public health months we’ve experienced in generations.

With seemingly everything canceled this year, there can be a tremendous feeling of loss. Concerts and honor bands are canceled. Even schools have moved online. But in spite of all that, December is still a special time for our students and our programs, rich with traditions. Whether it’s the holiday music or special decorations, our traditions connect us to our past and to our future. Whether it’s exchanging gifts of baking cookies, our traditions connect us to our friends and family, to our students and colleagues. And whether it’s ugly Christmas sweaters or silly Santa hats, our traditions connect us to ourselves, to the child we once were and aspire to still be. Yes, many of our traditions are being put on hold this year, but that doesn’t mean that they are gone forever. Nor does it mean that their memory cannot provide a respite in the middle of a very hard time.

For my wife, Phaedra, and I, going to Midwest has become a wonderful tradition. We were married fourteen years ago on December 22, and despite warnings from Tony and others that a December 22nd anniversary would spell the end of my Midwest days, it has become a part of our Anniversary celebration. For the past several years, I have caught a midweek ride out to Chicago in time for the conference. Then on Friday, Phaedra would drive out so we could wander the Christkindlmarket with Jen and Jayson, or have dinner at the Berghoff with Brad and Andy (and search for the elusive pickle!) before spending the weekend in Chicago. It’s a great anniversary tradition! And though I will miss everything about that week terribly this year, the memories I have from years past can’t help but make me smile.  

So whatever your traditions are for this time of year, hold tight to them, for they are the things that can make a difficult year not seem quite so hard and make a dark time seem just a little bit brighter. Have a great holiday season, a happy new year, and for the love of everything holy, let 2021 be better than 2020!

Chris Strohmaier
IBA President
Iowa Bandmasters Association
94th Annual Conference
May 13 - 15, 2021