Iowa Bandmasters Association
January 2021 eNews
Membership News
IBA Honor Bands

Thank you to all of the groups who submitted applications to be considered for a performance slot at the 2021 IBA Conference.  We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted many of our programs, however I am pleased with the number of bands who went ahead and submitted the applications.  If your band did submit an application, remember that the recording deadline was pushed back. 

Recordings must be uploaded to by 11:59 pm on February 10, 2021. Please contact with any questions.

Jazz Education Opportunity

Please join the Jazz Educators of Iowa (JEI) for “Honoring the Roots of Jazz,” an online panel discussion with jazz educators from around the country including Dana Hall (DePaul University), Damani Phillips (University of Iowa), Camille Thurman (University of Northern Colorado), and Jerry Tolson (University of Louisville).

Moderated by JEI president Dennis Green, this panel, which is free of charge to all educators (JEI membership is NOT required), will address how jazz, at its roots, is a response to racism and oppression and how we can teach this historical context while also coaching notes and rhythms.  This panel discussion will be held on Tuesday, January 5, at 6:00pm.

Please register here if you are interested in attending.

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.
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!
Iowa Arts Data Project is now LIVE!
The Iowa Arts Education Data Project showcases Iowa’s arts education data through a user-friendly, interactive dashboard. The dashboard is intended to promote meaningful dialogue around arts education across the state and to encourage equitable and data-driven decisions by schools, districts, educators, community members, and policymakers that support a well-rounded education for all Iowa students.
The Iowa Arts Education Data Project displays high school course and enrollment data by fine arts discipline - dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and media arts/other - as well as by grade level, gender, and building-majority race/ethnicity and FRL status. Stakeholders can use the data to determine areas of strength as well as areas of need. By providing a variety of demographic lenses as well as various grain sizes by which to view the data - state, AEA region, district, and school - the dashboard provides compelling snapshots of fine arts education access and opportunities across Iowa.
The dashboard was originally scheduled to go live on April 1st, but its release was postponed due to the pandemic. Districts and schools had an extended early viewing window from March until May.
To learn more about the Iowa Arts Education Data Project and view the dashboard and accompanying resources, visit or contact Angela Matsuoka at 

From the Podium
Happy New Year and welcome to 2021!!!

It’s amazing how much better we feel from the turn of a single calendar page. And this year, we needed that turn as much as we ever have. 2020 has been tough for all of us, filled with the void created from missed concerts and festivals, canceled trips and altered traditions, and tragedies of a global pandemic. It’s easy to understand why there has been so much celebration around the end of the “dumpster fire” that was 2020.  In Hiawatha, radio station KOKZ even staged an actual dumpster fire to incinerate the constant barrage of challenges that we faced last year.  After adding face masks and toilet paper atop debris from Derecho and political placards (sadly, no murder hornets), the Hiawatha fire department set the dumpster ablaze, symbolically transforming the disasters of 2020 into a pile of ash. Very cathartic!

2020 left us with a lot of ash. Sometimes when we reflect on the year, that’s all we can see.  Whether we want to or not, we will carry pieces of 2020 with us, pieces that will color our future. But it is what we choose to carry forward that will determine the course of our 2021. Gustav Mahler warned that as we move into the future it is important not “to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame.” Like so much of life, it is all about perspective. So as we begin 2021, will we carry forward the ashes of 2020, or can we instead find the fire? Can we bring forward the light and the energy instead of the darkness and muck?

As you reflect on 2020 and prepare to embark on 2021, remember that it is the flame not the ashes that will instill energy and enthusiasm both in you and in your students. Find those bits of fire from 2020 and fan them. Then carry that fire forward into your classroom in the new year. You are a huge influence on the lives of your students, maybe their biggest influence, and your perspective, your fire, will shape not only your 2021, it will shape theirs as well. 2021 is full of potential and it is up to all of us to light the way.

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