From the Office in Budapest

Dear IKS Members and Friends,

It is an IKS Jubilee year, and you are all invited to the celebration! Jubilees occur on special anniversaries and are usually given names such as Silver for 25 years, Golden for 50, and Diamond for 75. This means that our 2023 IKS International Symposium in Los Angeles will be our Golden Jubilee, because the first International Kodály Symposium was held in 1973 on the campus of Holy Names College in Oakland, California.

To help us celebrate, Anne Laskey and Kelly Foster Griffin, newest members of our IKS Bulletin Editorial Committee, have together written the lead article in this issue about that historic 1973 two-week event. As you read, we hope you will be pleasantly surprised at how many countries participated, the quality of presentations, the high level of performances, and the inspiration of its organizers to conclude the symposium with a resolution to form what we know now as the International Kodály Society. We are standing on the shoulders of visionary giants!

Now more than ever, we need to be the ones to keep that vision alive! I am personally inviting you to attend this 2023 Symposium so that we can make history together again! The 2023 organizing committee has been and continues to be spectacular! There is no other word to describe how hard they have worked (and continue to do so), how many logistical obstacles they have overcome, how intelligently they have designed the themes and sub-themes, how fairly they have screened proposals, and how carefully they have looked out for your comfort and safety.

Of course, the symposium presentations, concerts, and special events are not to be missed, but YOU will make the biggest difference. Something wonderful happens when we gather from the four corners of the globe as the International Kodály Family to unite our hearts, raise our voices in common song, share our cultures, learn from each other, and demonstrate to our troubled world how our musical unity is a great, benign power that can do much to lift, refine, and heal humankind.

I will never forget how in the 2013 symposium in Kecskemét we learned the choral parts to Kodály’s Háry János, then stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the stage with the opera choir from Szeged and participated in a full performance of this great work on the open-air stage as part of the Kecskemét Summer Festival. Our Szeged choir friends were so welcoming, appreciative, and helpful to us. Our common goal of participating in great music transcended all possible socio-economic or political barriers. We were of one heart and one mind! This is the spirit of the IKS at work because we are an organization specifically designed to fulfill Kodály’s clarion call, “It is not worth much if we sing for ourselves; it is finer if two sing together, then more and more people—hundreds, thousands—until the great Harmony rings forth in which all of us can be united. Then we can truly say: ‘Let the whole world rejoice!’”

What happened in Kecskemét that year is typical of what occurs in every one of our symposia because of YOU! You will return home refreshed, inspired, and eager to teach with your expanded vision of who you and your students are becoming through quality music teaching and learning.

Another reason to attend symposia is to participate in person in an annual General Assembly. Yes, it is a “business” meeting, but it is about your business. The IKS is a non-profit educational and cultural service organization, and the General Assembly is how the leaders you elect report their accountability to you, and how all of us vote on decisions, show gratitude for those who have organized a symposium, held an office, or our support for newly elected officers. We also hold online General Assemblies during the even years (symposia occur only in odd years), but there is nothing quite like attending in person. Again, our unity becomes tangible when we are gathered in person. And as in past general assemblies, there is music making and a presentation by the organizers of the next symposium. Your presence, your voice, and your vote will be much valued. So, please set aside 2 pm on August 4, 2023 – I eagerly await the privilege of welcoming you there.

Lastly, and if I may once again be personal, I did attend the original 1973 symposium as an observer (for that first symposium, one week was for delegates only, and the second week was for delegates observers). I had just finished my fourth year of teaching, and in those days, there were almost no possibilities outside of Hungary for getting a close-up look at the Kodály Concept of Music Education. That one week changed my career and my life. The Kodály way, properly learned and applied, is a powerful change agent because it unerringly focuses on the Earth’s most precious resource: people. We are engaged in a great work: to positively cultivate the hearts, minds, and spirits of young and old through the most natural of capacities, the inborn human tendency to be musical!

Here is the weblink to find out more about our Golden Jubilee Symposium on July 31 - August 4, 2023:

Dr. Jerry L. Jaccard