CMN Conference Archive
2011 International Conference, Hyannis, MA
The 2011 CMN International Conference took place in Hyannis, MA (Cape Cod), September 16-18, 2011. The weather was gorgeous, and the Resort & Conference Center of Hyannis was the perfect spot for a gathering of over 140 CMN'ers, family and friends to spend an engaging weekend singing, laughing and learning together.
The songs were plentiful, including many rounds and lively partner songs by Joanne Hammil, a longtime CMN leader who received our 2011 Magic Penny Award. Our workshop leaders gave us food for thought on many subjects – helping kids use music to overcome bullying, teaching through music in early childhood, Internet marketing and more. And thanks to keynoter Barry Louis Polisar, who offered a generous dose of his unique humor and many reflections on songwriting and life.
2010 International Conference, Los Gatos, CA
Attendees young and old joined among the redwoods in Los Gatos, CA, for CMN's 2010 International Conference on October 8-10. Beautiful sunny days and cool starry nights high in the Santa Cruz Mountains lifted our spirits as we shared a weekend of lively songs, dances, discussions and fun with friends old and new.
Friday and Saturday evenings were filled with song from a spirited Round Robin, followed by late night jam sessions, song circles and dancing. During the days, we attended workshops on a host of topics and heard Peter Alsop's informative and humorous keynote on how music provides a great way for children to explore their feelings and deal with difficult issues in their lives. Our CMN annual meeting gave us a chance to honor Caroline Presnell, our longtime National Coordinator, who will be moving on at the end of this year. We ate cake, sang "Sweet Caroline" and celebrated her love of CMN and the many talents she brought to our organization.
On Sunday we presented the 2010 Magic Penny Award for Lifetime Achievement to our own "Uncle Ruthie" Buell. Ruthie's lighthearted songs filled the room as we learned more about her many years sharing music in the classroom, especially with children with special needs, as well as her pioneering work in radio broadcasting for children."
2009 National Conference, Black Mountain, NC
The theme of the 2009 National Conference, A Tapestry of Songs, was woven into the entire program from the special pre-conference fundraising concert on Thursday evening through to the Magic Penny presentation and closing on Sunday. This year’s conference was held at the serene Blue Ridge Assembly Center in Black Mountain, NC. Black Mountain, an Appalachian paradise with beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls, creeks and wildlife all around. Stimulating workshops, a rousing Round Robin, funtabulous song-swaps, a chance to remember beloved members no longer with us and quality networking time with new and old friends highlighted the event.
The 2009 Magic Penny Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to four-time Grammy winner, singer, songwriter and humanitarian Tom Chapin. Tom was recognized for his thirty-year career on stage and for his profound influence in the classroom on school children and teachers alike. CMN was pleased to welcome the dynamic singer, songwriter and percussionist Billy Jonas as the keynote speaker for the conference whose moving presentation on the importance of the musical work we do with children was the high spot of the weekend for many attendees.
2008 National Conference, Zion, IL
The Children’s Music Network’s 2008 national conference took place at the beautiful Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center in Zion, Illinois. Celebrating our 21st Birthday as an organization, our conference featured fabulous workshops and song swaps, networking time, an outdoor barbeque, a bonfire, the Magic Penny Award presentation and keynote speaker, a silent auction, and late-night jam sessions. And of course our beloved three-part round robin! The fellowship of people connected to music for and with children as always was warm and inclusive, moving and profound.
The 2008 Magic Penny Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented at the conference to Grammy Award winner Bill Harley. In a moving tribute, CMN recognized Bill as one of America’s finest performers for families. He is a prolific author and recording artist, is a regular commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and has been featured on PBS. We were thrilled that Bill Harley also gave an inspiring conference keynote during the weekend as well.
2007 National Conference – 20th Year Anniversary, Albany, NY
At its annual Children’s Music Network’s National Conference, September 28–30, 2007 in Albany, New York, CMN celebrated its 20th Year Anniversary. Held at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road, this multigenerational event brought children and adults together to foster cooperation, cultural diversity, respect for the environment, self-esteem, and empowerment through music for and by young people. The conference featured creative and practical workshops, discussion panels, and master classes on the subjects that are unique to people who work with young people and music, in formats that ranged from lectures to song swaps, with soul-nourishing break-out discussion groups. As always, the weekend overflowed with rich opportunities for singing, networking, learning, and professional development for old and young alike.
Keynote speakers at the 2007 National Conference were the inspiring Kim and Reggie Harris. Their presentation brought a rich and insightful perspective to the conference based on their highly acclaimed work as singers, songwriters, storytellers, historical interpreters, cultural advocates and educators.
This year CMN presented the 2007 Magic Penny Award to Sarah Pirtle for her wide-ranging work using children's music for peace, conflict resolution, and environmental education. Sarah was also the major catalyst in the formation of the Children’s Music Network as a formal organization, so there was an extra dimension to the honor in this anniversary year.
2006 National Conference, Petaluma, CA
The sixteenth annual Children’s Music Network National Conference was held at beautiful Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, California, the weekend of October 6–8, 2006. The conference included a variety of interesting workshops and song swaps for adults and children, and as always provided lots of opportunities for networking, learning, and music making!
At this year’s conference, Hawaiian elder Nona Beamer was honored with CMN’s 2006 Magic Penny Award. Celebrating Auntie Nona’s moving devotion and longtime dedication to the preservation of traditional Hawaiian music, dance, and stories was a powerful part of the whole weekend.
2005 National Conference, Delavan, WI
Delavan, Wisconsin, was the location of the first CMN National Conference held in the Midwest, a lively, song-filled gathering at the Lake Lawn Resort Hotel October 21–23, 2005. The Sunday program included a special presentation: Healing Arts in Times of Need, in which two members described work being done with evacuees from hurricane areas of the U.S. and in tsunami-devastated Sri Lanka. We heard a firsthand report about using music and other arts with children in evacuee shelters and hospitals. As always, conference attendees could select from a number of excellent workshops.
One of the program highlights, the 2005 Magic Penny Award and song-filled tribute, honored Ruth Crawford Seeger, whose books of children's folk songs and suggestions for their effective use in the classroom are classics still in use across the country.
2004 National Conference, Elmer, NJ
The fourteenth annual CMN National Conference, a Gathering for Children's Music, was held Columbus Day weekend (October 8-10) in Elmer, New Jersey, at Appel Farm Arts and Music Center. As usual, there were many great hands-on workshops this year.
The 2004 Magic Penny Award for lifetime contribution to children's music was given to Bob Blue, a founding member of CMN and an exceptional teacher and songwriter. Bob embodies the heart of CMN and has long used music—often integrated with curriculum—to make life more fun and meaningful for children. The award tribute included special performances of his songs and a showing of the award-winning video What Matters, which documents his work.
2003 National Conference, Los Angeles, CA
The thirteenth annual Children's Music Network National Gathering took place October 10-12, 2003 at the beautiful Omni Hotel in a historic section of downtown Los Angeles, California.
The theme for CMN's 13th annual gathering was "Finding our Voices and Celebrating our Cultural Roots." CMN national gatherings are multigenerational events bringing children and adults together to foster cooperation, cultural diversity, self-esteem, and empowerment through music for and by young people. The 2003 gathering was no exception-people once again found it a rich and rewarding experience. There were great songs and beautiful harmonies sung throughout the weekend at workshops, song swaps, informal musical jams, and at the Friday and Saturday night round robin concerts. As always, the gathering was an excellent opportunity for networking, and sharing resources. New at the gathering in 2003 was The Advocacy Center, a wonderful resource room filled with educational materials, curriculum, books, activities and inspiring ideas. Also, for the first time we held a very successful Silent Auction as a gathering fundraiser with musical instruments, educational software, puppets, tours, music and more! We are deeply grateful for the support of all the Silent Auction contributors, please go to the link above to find out more about them.
Each year at our gatherings, the Children's Music Network bestows the 2003 Magic Penny Award on someone who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to children's music. This year's award was given to Suni Paz a writer and singer of songs in Spanish for children. Suni has worked to help English language learners make the transition from Spanish to English while retaining their native language and pride in their native culture.
A number of other special guests were part of the organized weekend activities. Deborah Pittman, a classically trained musician and teacher of music at California State University at Sacramento, brought us together on Friday evening with a session on finding our voices and becoming singers (all of us). There was a distinguished panel of honored "elders" who shared their musical gifts and experience in a Saturday afternoon panel discussion and also throughout the weekend:
Guy and Candie Carawan are beloved music activists and collectors. They sang in the Civil Rights Movement, spent time with Gullah people on John's Island, South Carolina, and have published several books, recordings, and song collections. They have sung and taught at the Highlander Center in New Market, Tennessee.
Nona Beamer has spent nearly seventy years studying and transmitting the beauty and complexity of her Hawaiian heritage. She is a renowned teacher, composer, choreographer, and historian. Singing to and with children is at the very heart of her work. Nona is a recipient of CMN's Magic Penny Award.
Katherine Siva Saubel, an elder of the Cahuilla Nation, is loved and respected as a singer and storyteller, teacher and traditional tribal leader. She has a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share, and has been instrumental in teaching and preserving her native culture and language.
Faith Petric is the founder of the San Francisco Folk Music Club and author of The Folk Process column in Sing Out! magazine. Faith is a walking treasury of songs. She has brought her music about the lives and struggles of people to gatherings both great and small around the world.
Marcia Berman is a pioneer in the field of children's music. Based in Los Angeles, she is known throughout the country among parents, educators, professional associations, and fellow children's music artists. Several generations of children have been raised on her albums, and several generations of teachers have benefited from her workshops at their schools and colleges, and at local, regional and national conferences. She is one of the recipients of CMN's Magic Penny Award.
2002 National Conference, Freedom, NH
The twelfth annual Children's Music Network National Gathering on October 18-20, 2002, was held at scenic Lake Ossipee Conference Center in Freedom, NH. The beautiful rustic setting of Lake Ossipee Conference Center was the setting for musicians, educators, radio broadcasters, songwriters, performers, storytellers, children, parents and others interested in children's music to come together for fun and interesting workshops, song swaps for children and adults, and lots of opportunities for networking and learning. A cornerstone of each gathering is the traditional Friday- and Saturday-night round-robin concert, and the gathering this year also featured an impromptu campfire singalong on the shores of the beautiful lake beneath a starry New Hampshire sky.
CMN's 2002 Magic Penny Award honored the great children's songs of Oklahoma-born singer, songwriter and activist Woody Guthrie. Representing the Guthrie family at the gathering was Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie, Executive Director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives. Nora brought a video about Woody's life, and shared her insights and thoughts in a very moving dialogue during the Magic Penny tribute to her father.
Woody Guthrie once said, "By far my best audience for folksongs and ballads have been the kids. The story you're telling them in words goes through their minds like a newsreel, only plainer." He wrote dozens of children's songs, eighteen of which first appeared on the 1951 Folkways recording "Songs to Grow On." Chock full of classics such as "Car Car," "Put Your Finger In the Air" and "Don't You Push Me," the album is recognized as one of the most influential collections in the history of children's music in the US. In 1990 during a routine cleaning, a librarian at Sarah Lawrence College rediscovered twenty more of Woody's classic songs, tunes that were presumed forever lost by his family. In 2001, Rounder released "Daddy-O Daddy! Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie," a new recording of several of these unrecorded songs plus other Guthrie favorites recorded by artists who love Woody and the music he created. Rounder made a gift of a copy of this CD to all those who attended this year's CMN gathering. It was deeply appreciated by all.
2001 National Conference, Petaluma, CA
The eleventh annual Children's Music Network National Gathering was held October 12-14, 2001, at Walker Creek Ranch near Petaluma, CA. The beautiful rolling hills of Walker Creek Ranch have been the site of several CMN national gatherings over the years, and it was a pleasure to return there for a wonderful weekend of networking, workshops, song swaps and musical jams. Both Friday and Saturday evenings featured the traditional Round Robin concert, a time for any participants who wish to share a song. Friday evening also included folk dancing, and Saturday featured a performance workshop with the teen group, 'Til Dawn, as well as the rich variety of workshops that are typically offered at national gatherings. As in every national gathering weekend, the workshops were a terrific resource to find new songs, new techniques for working with children, and supportive place to discuss common concerns. Given the recent tragic events of September 11, 2001, the weekend was an especially important time to process these events together and share the many musical ways people were finding to work with children in times of crisis.
CMN's 2001 Magic Penny Award honored the great children's musician Ella Jenkins and the rich legacy and gift of songs she has given to the field of children's music. She is one of the most significant figures in children's music today, and the Magic Penny celebration was a wonderful opportunity to appreciate her music and her teachings and to hear her speak.
2000 National Conference, Warwick, NY
The tenth annual Children's Music Network National Gathering was held in a beautiful rustic setting at Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York, the weekend of October 13-15, 2000. This multi-generational event attracted musicians, educators, radio broadcasters, songwriters, performers, storytellers, children, parents, and others from all over North America who came together to foster cooperation, cultural diversity, self-esteem, and empowerment through music for young people. The gathering offered fun and interesting workshops and song swaps for children and adults, and it provides lots of opportunities for networking and learning within a stimulating and encouraging environment. As always, attendees experienced singing, dancing, networking, celebrating, and, of course, the traditional Friday- and Saturday-night round-robin concert.
Our keynote speaker this year was legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, a long-time Children's Music Network member. Pete Seeger's songs are rooted in the lives, the stories, and the struggles of the people all across this land and all around the world. Pete Seeger has been honored and beloved for being a central figure in the modern-day "folk music revival." From the 1930s, when he began playing with Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, through his almost sixty years of activism in the labor, peace, civil rights, and environmental movements, he has steadfastly held the belief that everyone should be able to participate in making music.
Also at the 2000 gathering, children's music pioneer Marcia Berman was honored with CMN's 2000 Magic Penny Award. Based in Los Angeles, Marcia Berman is known throughout the country among parents, educators, professional associations, and fellow children's music artists for her contributions to the field of children's music. Throughout her career, spanning more than forty years, she has recorded over twelve albums of songs for children, ten of which were done in collaboration with songwriters, singers, dancers, storytellers, musicians, and children. Several generations of children have been raised on her albums, and several generations of teachers have benefited from her workshops at their schools, colleges, and conferences.