Director's Message

Dear Students, Members and Friends,

Well folks, this is the last catalog for 2003. We have had a tremendous year, but before it gets away from us, I want to acknowledge a few people who have gone the extra mile in support of the Academy.

First there's Joe Hollowell and Emily Russell. These two have been our volunteer angel almost from the moment the school opened. Emily became our Volunteer Coordinator this past fall and Joe has helped me with grant writing, piano moving and overall advice. Their giving hearts and their love of music make them a special pair. You know that welcoming, homey feeling you get when you're at the Academy? That's Joe and Emily.

Second, I want to thank Craig Sachen who single-handedly built our recording studio and wired the electricity in our new Music Therapy room. Bryon Wiley, one of our fiddle teachers, took our raggedy garage and, with his construction expertise and selfless generosity, turned it into our wonderful Music Therapy room.

Last fall Terri Laddusaw introduced herself to me at our AMA table at the Fiddlers and Pickers Competition and quickly came on board. Her enthusiasm for the Academy is infectious and her dedication to helping us be all that we can be is evident in the hour and hours of office assistance she's given us over the last 12 months. Having the support of people like Terri reminds me that what we do really matters. And her wonderful singing voice is a welcome addition to the school as well!

Matt Herbert has been one of my students since he was a junior in high school. Through the years I've watched him mature into a fine young man and a great musician. Since the Academy's inception, he's lent is energy, his ideas and his support by putting on house concerts and helping me with workshops and festivals and anything else that he can do.

Everyone who reads this catalog [printed edition -wm] mentions how great it looks. Americana would not have such a fine document without the efforts of Gina Alexander. Every time she builds a new one it takes endless hours of computer work which is no small feat. And every time we get a nicer catalog.

Finally, I want to recognize Michael Paull for coming on board this train. I needed a second in command because the running of this place was getting overwhelming. Mike cam in and said, "I want to be a part of this school. Let me know what I can do for you." The next thing I knew, he was picking up loose ends and putting on some of the hats I couldn't manage to balance on my head anymore. And he's an amazing pianist and composer, by the way. I'm honored to say that Michael has become the Academy's Assistant Director.

What a teamÂ… We are a better-oiled machine and accomplishing so much more thanks to the dedicated efforts of these folks.

I am told we are doing the impossible by making Americana happen in spite of the shaky economy and the uncertain times we live in. I think we're making such progress because this Academy is meant to be and all of us who are involved in it believe that what we're doing matters and always will. When you see the folks I've mentioned, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate them, too. I can't thank them enough.

From the bottom of my heart, Peace, Love and much music.

Thom Alexander
Executive Director

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