Throughout the US, thousands of music students gather annually to perform in state-level Music Educators Association competitions. Typically, students meet regionally with adjudicators to compete and receive important feedback that helps them improve their performance skills. Due to COVID-19, it became clear that the 2021 Music Educators Association events could not safely operate in the same manner as years previous. The National Association for Music Educators provided guidance for maintaining standards amongst COVID-19 accommodations, but due to the variations in the state formats for adjudication of performances, they did not attempt to create a solution for everyone. Many states struggled to find safe methods for students to participate and still receive the highly valued assessments.
Coming into the 2021 music season, the technology director of the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA), Greg Taylor, was very concerned about how they would meet this challenge safely and effectively. He wanted to keep students and adjudicators safe, while still allowing the performances to take place. But this would be no easy task: in the state of Ohio alone, the Music Educators Association adjudicates approximately 30,000 performances. Despite the enormity of this daunting task, he did not want to forfeit the opportunity for so many students.
It soon became clear that this was an opportunity for Greg to provide a technical solution -- all he needed were the right tools. Fortunately, Greg already had those tools because he has been an Alpha Anywhere user for nearly 10 years. "We run our entire organization on Alpha Anywhere, including a publicly facing website, as well as a single-sign-on system that supports roles-based access to everything we do. Membership data, music lists, calendar, elections, session proposals and ensemble applications for our conference and much more," explained Greg. When the new challenges presented by COVID-19 began to emerge, his previous knowledge of Alpha's toolset had him well prepared.
However, he was still under tremendous pressure to get a stable system up and running for handling performances all across the state and he needed it fast. "Timing was the biggest challenge for me on this project. This entire school year has been about re-inventing processes that took decades to create and do it in a very short amount of time," said Greg.
It was a tall ask for a single in-house developer to handle. "I am the only developer for our organization, so, juggling all my normal responsibilities and adding the virtual development on top required a tremendous amount of time and effort." continued Greg. "Alpha Software was the ONLY tool in my opinion that would help me to accomplish all that I had to do."
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