Dear FSMA Membership,
In this time of uncertainty dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been given the opportunity to showcase the resilience and adaptability that we, in the arts -specifically music - are known for. We are problem-solvers and are dedicated to creativity and resourcefulness.
COVID-19 has struck our world at a critical time of year for all tasked with the education of the next generation. The impact that the coronavirus has had on our nation and our state has many implications for education as a whole during this impactful time here at the end of the year, and that includes music performance assessments.
After careful deliberation, the Florida School Music Association and the component associations (Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Orchestra Association, and Florida Vocal Association) have decided to cancel the remaining 2020 District and State Music Performance Assessments to ensure the safety of our students and teachers. The leadership has taken into consideration recommendations from the CDC, government officials, and feedback from members. Payments previously made will be automatically refunded in the coming weeks.
Please understand that this decision was made for the safety of all involved and was a collaborative decision among the leadership of FSMA and the component associations. There are several mitigating factors that led to this decision. First, the level of uncertainty regarding the upcoming days and weeks would greatly impede event planning. Second, many of our school districts have closed and having students participate in MPA events further exacerbates the day-to-day instructional process as schools move towards closing out the year. Thirdly, location resources needed in order to hold MPA events between component organizations vary greatly as a result of the virus.
I recognize the hardship that this makes for you as directors and how this information can certainly be disappointing for students, especially our seniors; however, paramount to all of the other mitigating factors is the health of our music community. Please allow me the opportunity to express my appreciation to the presidents and executive directors of FBA, FOA, and FVA for their collaboration with FSMA regarding MPAs.
I wish each of you a healthy year-end. Artists are known for resiliency. In that regard, please take the necessary precautions to keep yourselves and your students safe. I truly believe that the restorative power of music is needed more now than ever before. Let us continue to shine the light of artmaking into the days ahead.
Craig S. Collins, Ed.D.
President, Florida School Music Association