Marshall Music Club President Leads State Band Through Global Pandemic | Characteristics

When Brenda Ford first received an invitation letter to join the local Marshall Music Club, a branch of the National Federation of Music Clubs, in 1999, she never imagined that in 2020 she would be working in as president of the organization to get them through. a totally unforeseen global pandemic.

The NFMA is a national non-profit organization that strives to provide musical opportunities for people of all ages, with various subgroups in cities across the country.

Ford was first introduced to the organization through her work as a music major at East Texas Baptist University, where she met Dr. Glenda Collins.

Ford said Collins taught him piano for a summer, during which the two discussed the organization a few times. After summer school ended and Ford graduated from ETBU, she received an invitation in the mail to join the same organization that her teacher had mentioned so many times.

“I had no idea what this meeting was when I walked into it,” Ford explained, although after that first meeting she said she was hooked.

“I met so many smart, talented people, and they really took me under their wing,” she said.

Since that time, Ford has served in a number of roles with the organization, including a short stint on the piano accompanying meetings.

“I practiced and practiced, but I wasn’t playing very well,” Ford said with a laugh. just shaking his head in the back of the room.

After that, Ford took on a number of roles, including using his teaching experience to create unique and creative musical lessons for the band. Eventually, however, her time came to take on the role of club president.

“I was nervous at first and hesitant, I was definitely like ‘why me’ but they were very nice and everyone encouraged me to do it,” she said.

Ford ended up serving two terms as president, for a total of four years at the helm of the local organization.

During this time, she said she began to attend district music club meetings, and after a while Ford took on more and more responsibility, eventually being named district president.

She said that as president she tried to do things in a different way, bringing unique and entertaining ideas to the regular routines of the organization. Well known for her humor, Ford said she often did her reports and other responsibilities with a fun twist that often ended in a standing ovation.

Once again, through her work with the district club, Ford said she began attending regular state meetings.

“I started going to state meetings and met all these wonderful people and they were all like me,” she said. “They all loved music, they were all curious.”

After a while, Ford said she was honored to have been initiated as a member of the organization’s “lifers” group.

“When you’re introduced to ‘lifers,’ it’s like going to jail,” she said. “Once you’re there, you’re there.”

Fifteen years later, Ford has now held a number of senior positions in state organizations, including as fourth vice president, vice president of the nominating committee, vice president of recognition and awards, vice-president of lifers, parliamentarian and, most recently, president.

Ford was elected president of the state organization in 2019, to serve in that role until 2021. She said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the organization didn’t know how to go from there. ‘before.

“We had planned a meeting in Dallas in August, and we had to make a decision,” she said. “It was tough, we weren’t sure, but we decided to have it anyway because we thought it would be over by then.”

When the calendar arrived in May 2020 and the COVID-19 numbers hadn’t gone away, Ford said it was starting to worry about the convention, thinking of new ways to address this new problem.

It was then that she had the idea of ​​hosting the whole thing virtually.

“I wasn’t going to let the whole state meeting pass by the wayside,” Ford said.

The meeting was themed “Vision 2020,” focusing on the future of the organization and how to work with the next generation, which fits perfectly with the advanced new online format that Ford has decided to put in place.

Nick named the “Unconventional Convention” in reference to COVID-19, she said the organization was able to achieve something that many other arts organizations were unable to achieve.

After building a “tech team” of organization members who can help others get set up, spending months organizing and rescheduling workshops for the online format, as well as hand-sewing 120″ goodie bags” as giveaways to online guests, Ford said the organization’s convention went extremely well.

“It was really a hit,” she said.

The event was even able to integrate one of the most precious elements, a regular performance and a meeting with the artist. Ford said that by hosting a pre-recorded show with the artist and then inviting them after the viewing to a live meeting with attendees online, attendees were able to do the same things they loved to meet and do, thousands of miles away. a way.

The event was such a success, in fact, that the organization’s next state chairman decided to continue to incorporate a virtual presence element into all future conventions, creating a hybrid online and in-person meeting much more accessible.

“I was proud of how it all ended,” Ford said, “My husband said to me, ‘Nobody but you could have made it,’ and it really meant a lot because he is an excellent teacher, and he said he saw how many hours or work went into everything.

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