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The History of FEMEA

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

The Story of FEMEA

Based on the Official History by Florence R. Stumpf When the Florida Education Association met each year prior to 1927, the musicians in the host city provided music for the meetings. Otherwise, music went unrepresented in the meetings and sessions of the state's educators. Music teachers had no organizations; no sectional meeting was scheduled. Miss Florence R. Stumpf, after a year of teaching music at Memorial Junior High School, had become supervisor of music in Tampa schools. When it became apparent that again there were no plans for a music sectional session at the Florida Education Association convention scheduled for December 28-30, 1927, at Tampa, and remembering the effectiveness of music meetings in Pennsylvania where she started her teaching career, Miss Stumpf boldly wrote to the FEA office, asking permission to plan a sectional meeting for musi teachers. As she pointed out, it would probably be helpful to classroom teachers who were expected to include some music instrucion in their daily schedule. First Sectional Meeting Not only was the request granted, but also Executive Secretary, R. M. Sealey urged that it become a permanent section of FEA. The meeting was held on the afternoon of December 28, 1927, at the Federated Clubs Building, 809 Horatio Street in Tampa. Miss Stumpf presided and was later elected chairman, with Mrs. Minnie Meeker of Lakeland as vice-chairman. Attending this meeting were Ruth Barnes, Edna L. Bassett, Mrs. Julia K. Campbell, Mrs. S. Grace Cate, Olive W Crouse (a visitor), Alice E. Garner, Flossie Green, Mrs. Eugenia Goulding, Mrs. Ethel B. Joyner, Kathleen Lynn, Mrs. Meeker, E.D. Michalke, Anne Grace O'Callaghan, Marguerite Stratford Porter, Miss Stumpf, Olivia J. Thomas, Emily Tumlin, Miss Eva Wilson, and Mrs. Eulalie Wooten. The program: Music Appreciation in the Schoolroom, by Miss O'Callaghan of Atlanta; Rural School Music and Organization by Mrs. Sadie Lindemeyer Told of Miami; Instrumental Music in Public Schools (Piano Class), by Mrs. Meeker. Several of those present reported on another effort for organization which stemmed from a preceeding FEA meeting but which has developed under the Regis of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs. It seems that the FEA at its 1926 meeting at Jacksonville had voted to hold regional rather than statewide meetings. (The plan was later abandoned.) Several music supervisors who had met informally at FEA meetings realized that this would eliminate these contacts, and decided to form "The Florida Supervisors Club," independent of FEA, whith one annual statewide meeting. Mrs. Browne Greaton Cole of Ocala was elected president; Miss Ruth Cazier, then Supervisor of Tampa, was elected secretary. Dues were set at twenty cents. The Florida Supervisors Club, with Mrs. Cole presiding, convened on March 11, 1927, at West Palm Beach, as a section of the State Federation of Music Clubs, which for years maintained a committee on music education headed by Mrs. M.B. (Janie C.) Byrd of Jacksonville. Mrs. Byrd had campaigned untiringly for making "music a required subject in the public schools of Florida," continually urging the State School Superintendent and other state officials to authorize its introduction. It was natural for the group of supervisors to seek affiliation with the organization responsible for initiating and promoting the state's public school music program. Some of the Florida Supervisor's Club members attended the December 1927, FEA music sectional meeting in Tampa. Learning that they were working together toward one common purpose, the two groups were soon consolidated; and the the Jacksonville-West Palm Beach pioneers later dissolved their Supervisors Club in favor of the FEA sectional organization. Mrs. Cole was not at the Tampa meeting, but the following year, when the music section of FEA met during the FEA convention in Orlando, she encouraged the continuation of the progress, which had been made. Participating in the Orlando meeting where Marguerite Porter, Daytona Beach supervisor of music; Mrs. Sadie Lindermeyer Tolf, Miami music supervisor; Mrs. Grace P. Woodman, Jacksonville music supervisor; Florida Howard, Orlando music supervisor; and Tampa's Florence Stumpf. Forty-seven persons attended. Says Miss Stumpf: "Miss Porter's enthusiasm permeated the group. She was present at our original organization in Tampa and at our second meeting at Orlando. She worked hard to increase the membership. As the president of a six-county organization of music teachers, she was one of the state's pioneer music educators. National Affiliation Urged At this meeting Harry Grant, Hillsborough High School (Tampa) orchestra director was elected chairman, but was unable to attend the following meeting held at Pensacola during the 1929 FEA convention. Miss Ruth Hibbard, DeLand, the secretary-treasurer, "kept us together spiritually" during the year by several letters urging school music people to join the national organization for music educaotrs-now called the Music Educators National Conference. Miss Porter, a real pioneer in music education, having left her high school assignment in 1920 to introduce elementary music education in the Ocala schools, was elected chairman of the music section as the FEA again met in Orlando in 1930. Florida music education in the early '30's is summarized thus by Miss Stumf: "Elementary music education was fostered mainly by the state colleges and universities through their teacher training courses. Each classroom teacher was urged to teach his own music to the children. Supervisors held in-service training classes in their districts in the hope that music would be universally taught throughout Florida. But it soon became apparent that much of the energies of the music section of FEA was directed toward Senior High School Band, Orchestra and Vocal work, particularly in competition festival activities. The elementary supervisors gave their time and energy to the movement of the State Competition Festival. Locally, they held Music Memory Contests, which they considered to be a part of the Listening or Music Appreciation program in the schools. Music Week Festivals were initiated. Elementary pupils played prominent part here. There was no instrumental music program, as such, in the elementary schools. Supervisors of elementary programs joined the Senior Hish School Vocal groups at their discussions at FEA meetings. "This became the bridge over which we crossed to the organizations of the State Vocal Association Clinic in DeLand in 1938. Since our interests were largely vocal, we followed the succeeding clinics and applied the knowledge gained from exellent consultants to our elementary music work. The history of the State Vocal Association from this point to 1947 is fused with that of each sectional meeting at FEA conventions where elementary and high school music teachers always met together. However, more and more emphasis was directed to State Competition Festivals. The band group became more and more prominment and more emphasis was placed on the former. "First" Elementary Meeting Called in on the planning of the important "first" meeting were Miss Olive M. Menz, Pinellas County Supervisor of rural music education; Mrs. Ruth Daniels, Hillsborough County supervisor of rural music education; Mrs. Inez Morgan, Sebring supervisor of music; and Miss Porter of Daytona Beach. Miss Stumpf served as chairman pending permanent organization. The session was held at Seminole Heights Elementary School on November 17, 1947. At a business-luncheon meeting Mrs. Ruth Daniels became the first elected chairman for the elementary section. Otto Kraushaar, FMEA president; Al G. Wright, Florida Bandmasters Association president; Harry Grant, Florida Orchestra Association president; and Law Mallard, Florida Vocal Association president, hailed the new section as an important forward sep and encouraged the development of the elementary section. Although under the sponsorship of the Florida Vocal Assocation, the elementary group from the beginning followed a policy of including instrumental demonstrations along with classroom singing activities. The program of the first session in 1947 is an illustration: Morning Classroom demonstrations of out-of-tune singers; folk rhythm and creative rhythms; introduction to music reading in Grade 3; Music reading and two-part singing in Grade 5 - Led by Florence Stumpf. Afternoon Demonstration of instrumental groups, by John Heney and P. J. Gustat. Demonstration of beginning string instruments, by Dr. Karl O. Kuersteiner, Dean of the School of Music, Florida State University.

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