The National ASTA Conference in Pittsburgh was thoroughly inspiring from beginning to end. From the view of the bridges and city lights coming out of the tunnel when I arrived at 4-ish AM to saying goodbye to new and old friends in the Westin Lobby as I prepared to catch my shuttle back to the airport, the ASTA event was worth every minute.
My first day involved attending the State Leaders Workshop. The Michigan name card was on a table with the other big chapters – Texas, California, Illinois and Pennsylvania. It was such an honor to discuss issues with these dedicated state leaders. Our presenters were extremely effective and well-prepared. At the end of the day, they presented our chapter with the “Best Website” award.
The next two days were spent attending Master Classes, Reading Sessions, Workshops and Orchestra Festival performances. It was a treat to be able to hear Michigan Orchestras from Mona Shores (Kelly De Rose/Nick Mosley, Directors) and St. Joseph (Burke Lokey, Director). They did our state proud.
The exhibits were filled with displays of instruments, music and all things strings. There were several opportunities to get a free cup of coffee and snacks. There were lots of areas to sit and chat with new and old friends. Every meal was an opportunity to spend time with awesome colleagues. On opening night, attendees were treated to a huge party with free beverages, food and entertainment.
One part of the conference that was new for me was the 10 PM nightly jam session. I was able to attend on Friday and it was a BLAST! I traded licks with a guy I’d never met before and with some former students. We smiled and laughed for an hour straight and vowed we’d see each other next year in Atlanta!
All of the reasons I’m passionate about teaching strings were reinforced in Pittsburgh!