From the Office in Budapest

Dear Members and Friends of the International Kodály Society,

It is my great pleasure to introduce Krisztina Molnár-Litvai to you as our new IKS Executive Secretary! Krisztina brings much previous experience to this position, having already been an executive secretary for the Hungarian Association of Spanish Teachers, an administrative assistant to the Budapest Klezmer Band Ltd., and as a Spanish language teacher in Hungarian schools. Moreover, she grew up in the Hungarian music education system. We are also grateful to former IKS executive secretaries Lili Vandulek and Boróka Bodacz-Nagy as well as Dr. Zsuzsánna Mindszenty for their excellent work as a search committee to find and recommend Krisztina to the IKS Board.

I also wish to express on behalf of the IKS Board our heartfelt thanks to outgoing Executive Secretary Agnes Sztana, for especially serving the IKS during these two years of pandemic-imposed restrictions, major communication inconveniences, and government paperwork. She accomplished this in the face of her own and her family’s significant health challenges. Thank you, Ági!

Regarding the pandemic, if anyone wanted proof of our resilience and resourcefulness as finders, makers, and teachers of quality music, they would have found it in our first ever online symposium this past August 9–13. We extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the local organizing committee in Katowice, Poland: Dominika Lenska, Krzysztof Dudzik, and Łukasz Szmigiel. Their brilliant organization of the symposium proceedings into “Day and Night Editions” made it much easier to accommodate so many time zones around the world. Their mastery of the complex technical issues associated with a worldwide online symposium was amazing to behold, as was also the high quality of the concerts and presentations. We also hasten to thank the administration of their sponsoring institution, the Karol Szymanowksi Academy of Music, for their generous support and use of facilities to produce such an outstanding symposium. Also, many thanks to the IKS Action Committee for Symposia and Regional Development, chaired by IKS Vice-President Susanna Saw, with members Past President Dr. James Cuskelly, and former Board member Dr. Joy Nelson for their overall symposium guidance and oversight.

To me, one of the most unique aspects of our symposia are the daily keynote addresses. This year’s four keynote speakers are featured on the cover of this issue of the Bulletin. I am fascinated about how each author’s concepts seem so interwoven with and supportive of the other three, perhaps due to the rich potential of the symposium theme of Village Voices – Global Harmony. Taken together, these four outstanding keynotes constitute a basic course in what to do, how to do it, and why. May you all find much encouragement in them for your own very important work:

1. Dr. Anna Waluga, a pioneer in establishing the Kodály Concept in Poland, reported on the ongoing process to reawaken Polish folksong. Her descriptions of the richness of Polish folk music provide a type of what we may expect to find in other cultures. The Polish experience is full of clues about how all of us might be able to go about restoring the ancient musical treasures of our own peoples to national musical life.

2. Carol Brown’s insightful and poetic metaphors especially draw our attention to the importance of local and regional musical cultures. She cites other authors in ways that help us to not lose sight of the humanity inherent in Kodály’s vision. Carol’s description of musical diversity is a reminder that Kodály’s vision is about much more than mere methodology. She gives us practical examples of how to widen our field of activity to discover, explore, and incorporate nearby resources into our own teaching.

3. Dr. Zsuzsánna Mindszenty’s equally motivating keynote focuses on how valid the basic principles of Kodály’s vision remain in our media-rich and increasingly globalized society. Her personal story about how she—now a gold medal prize-winning conductor and president of the Hungarian Association of Choirs, Orchestras, and Folk Ensembles—came up through the non-specialized music schools of Hungary. She makes the point that those of us who teach and make music the Kodály way in “regular” situations are a fundamental part of his vision of “Music for Everyone.”

4. Dr. Pek Lin Chong’s love for the indigenous peoples of Borneo is infectious. Her desire to share her findings and her generous invitation for us to receive them are heartwarming. Her experiences as an educator-researcher-curriculum author exemplify the multi-faceted kind of teaching musician Kodály envisioned. Her research highlights that there are yet many intact folk cultures in the world to be celebrated and perpetuated in classroom music and on the concert stage before they are overwhelmed by commercialization.

I am also happy to report that planning for the 2023 IKS International Symposium is well underway. Save the dates of July 31 to August 4 for Connecting Humanity Through Music in Los Angeles, California. The well-staffed local committee is already energized and hard at work making decisions and arrangements to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first international Kodály symposium. Be sure to check the IKS website for updates.

Lastly, I hope that it is apparent how much we have accomplished together in spite of the challenges and uncertainties of the past two years. My heart is full every time I hear from individual members or leaders of our affiliated national institutional groups. You are all amazing examples of faith in our message, its power to change lives, and brilliant problem solving. Let’s keep moving forward with joy and kindness through the healing power of music!

Jerry-Louis Jaccard EdD
President