History

Iowa Music Teachers State Association came into being on December 22, 1885. Emory M. Sefton of Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA, MTNA Vice President for Iowa 1882-1886, was inspired by his contacts in the National Music Association and vigorously brought the message to Iowa musicians. He was a dedicated young man of 26 years when he called a meeting of the teachers of voice culture and instrumental music in Iowa to meet for the purpose of forming a state music teachers' association, to be auxiliary to the national association. These leaders included a number of musicians of broad interests who were eager to make music available to Iowa's youth. His work in Iowa's fertile soil came to fruition in the now well known Coe College meeting of 1885 when his selfless character was evident in the way he assisted in the election of William Godfrey of Cornell College as the infant organization's first president. Officers were elected and IMTA was organized under the name, Music Teachers State Association of Iowa. However, even in the years through 1892, one occasionally finds the title given as Iowa Music Teachers Association.

The rapid growth of the population and the resulting need for cultural activities had much to do with the beginning of our organization. The first convention was held in Des Moines May 4 - 6, 1886 and was attended by more than 130 musicians, featuring seven papers and one concert. The third convention was held in Toledo in May 1888. At that time a report was sent to the national convention that IMTA had 99 members and $4100.00 in the treasury.

The early leaders of IMTA set high goals in their efforts to promote the cause of good music and good music teaching in Iowa. The papers given at conventions on voice, piano, music in the schools, composers, composition, and music theory were eagerly heard and discussed. Further, the media of the time covered meetings, performances, and papers generously, often printing complete speeches and papers in their accounts. Such reporting came at an opportune time, since music had but little academic acceptance. Accreditation of music as an actual part of college curricula often was looked upon as peripheral and impractical, even though it was considered pleasant and entertaining.

Before 1907 when Music Educators National Conference was formed in Keokuk, Iowa, the school music teachers had few outlets other than MTNA and IMTA and so these meetings were very meaningful to this group. The school music problems continued to be important to our association for a third of this century. Charles Fullerton of Cedar Falls was a president during this time and devoted much time and effort to raising the standards of music in Iowa's Schools most of which consisted of only one room.

The 1900 convention was a joint national-state convention of MTNA and IMTA.

Until 1911 annual conventions used only Iowa talent on their programs, and at that time a change in the constitution made it possible to permit the use of outside speakers and performers.

There was a tendency to provide overly expensive professional entertainment at some early meetings and this led to financial difficulties that became burdensome by the year 1893. The conventions from 1890 to 1892 were held in late December in order to overlap with the meeting of the Iowa State Education Association. The result was that the educators' meeting overshadowed if it did not overwhelm the musicians' meeting to the eventual detriment of the latter.

From the years 1934-1945 there were meetings held to explore the desirability of forming a union with IMTA as an affiliate of MENC. By the convention in 1946 it was felt that there was a need for an association of music teachers, as well as one for music educators. It most emphasized that for about 25 years IMTA had served both music teachers and music educators. In 1899, IMTA had been influential in establishing music as a requirement in public grade schools. However, from about 1910 onward, music educators gradually became more independent until finally they established the Iowa Music Educators Association in 1938, which became the Iowa Affiliate of Music Educators National Conference.

IMTA voted to become a state affiliate of MTNA at its convention in October, 1952. This had actually been done at least twice before, decades earlier, but over the years, due to many contributing factors, IMTA's association with MTNA had become quite peripheral.

Many music teachers and music educators were reassessing their status in IMTA. Many of the earlier conventions were scheduled in the fall of the year to better coincide with the public school calendar. For the early half century of meetings, each convention had been planned to be helpful for both music teachers and music educators.

In 1957 it was decided not to associate with Music Educators National Conference (MENC). 1) MENC's meeting time did not suit IMTA, which wanted an earlier time in the autumn and 2) it was essential for IMTA to meet on college campuses to find a way of sharing the expense of procuring distinguished outside talent for its main concert and workshops. Conferences from 1932-1957 organized an IMTA orchestra to perform at conventions with the primary aim of performing original compositions by Iowans and other American composers. This facet of activity made a significant contribution to one of IMTA's early and continuing goals fostering the growth of musicianship in Iowa.

The history of IMTA is divided into three segments: the period before 1930, the second spanned from 1937 to the beginning of World War II, and the third began in 1947 and continues to the present. The years 1893 and 1894 were IMTA's first dormant period. IMTA was reorganized in 1895 in a meeting arranged by Joseph Ruggles of Iowa City. It was reorganized as The Society of Music Teachers of Iowa, under which name it functioned from 1895 through 1933. It was unofficially frequently called the Iowa Music Teachers Association. This is the name used on all programs from 1946 onward and somewhere around 1953 this name was officially adopted. In 1895 it was decided to hold each year's meeting in the fourth week of June, always with an eye on improvement in teaching methods. This decision remained in effect for almost twenty years. Over these years the offices held by women increased, culminating 20 years later (1915) in Mrs. Frederick Heizer of Sioux City becoming the first woman elected President, IMTA. The second dormant period came because of the great depression. The last pre-depression convention was held in 1933 in Waterloo. There were no conventions between 1934-1945. The 1931 president, Paul Ray of Coe College Cedar Rapids, reorganized the association about 1937. The next period of inactivity was enforced by the stringencies of the war. Edward Kurtz of Iowa Teacher's College, Cedar Falls, was president at that time and was responsible for a reactivation in 1946. Annual conventions have been held since that time.

In recognition of the crucial roles played by Paul Ray and Edward Kurtz in watching over IMTA during the years of depression and war, and in assuring that IMTA could again resume its activities, these professors are honored, together with Emory Sefton, the founder in 1885, and Joseph Ruggles, the reorganizer in 1895, as The Four Cornerstones of Iowa Music Teachers Associations.

During the 1950's MTNA developed and recommended a special Piano Teachers Workshop after a series of successful trial sessions in Florida. This one-day workshop, PTW, was it was called, dealt extensively with both the musical and the business side of private teaching. First sponsored by Dr. Paul Beckhelm, music head at Cornell College, in 1957 at Mount Vernon, it was also made available in other parts of the state. Ever since 1946 each convention workshop has dealt broadly with methods, technique, and music literature at the several levels. In more recent years additional workshops have been, and continue to be presented by a number of college and university IMTA members. It is especially significant that IMTA has become known beyond its borders for the quality of its literature manual that has developed. Known as the IMTA Syllabus, it is revised and up-dated every five years.

Under the leadership of many fine people and their slates of officers IMTA has made great progress over the years as is reflected in the strides made in such areas as certification, auditions, festivals, theory, repertoire, and local chapters. We now have a membership of more than 400 of which over 90 are nationally certified. There are approximately 18 local associations and 3 student chapters.

IMT, our state magazine was begun by Paul Beckhelm of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon in the winter of 1952-53 with quarterly issues published since that time. The president of the state organization edited the first issues until 1957 when an editor for the magazine was named. It was originally typed and duplicated with the first printed format occurring in the fall of 1957. It has become known as one of the finest state journals published.

In 1985 we celebrated our Centennial at our state conference held at Drake University that June. Marvin Thostenson compiled a history of our organization, which was published in honor of this event.

One important area of concern during the years 1915-1925 was standardization, which eventually evolved into our present certification plan. Perhaps the outstanding member in this regard was Mrs. Frederick Heizer of Sioux City, who was President of IMTA for three years 1915, 1916, and 1917. Mrs. Heizer instituted a standardization project to encourage fine teaching. Certification was first discussed by the state of Iowa during its convention in 1953. The initial plan for certification was not accepted, but progress was made toward thinking in that direction. The topic was again discussed in 1956 with serious consideration given to certification late in 1957 and this led to success in 1959. There are more than 90 members presently certified in the state of Iowa. This is 22.8% of our total membership, which makes us 7th in the nation for percentage of teachers certified within a state.

Interest in piano workshops was doubtless an influence that led to the development of auditions. A piano and vocal contest held in 1895 at the Reorganization Convention brought four pianists and four vocalists, all advanced and perhaps of college age. Gold medals were presented to the two winners. From this time on, the advanced pupils of a dozen or more teachers performed at each convention. Before long, there were two such pupil programs. This led to our present IMTA Pre-college Competitive Piano Auditions.

Auditions are held once a year in twenty-one different district locations around the state. Students of woodwinds, strings, and voice may also take part. The first district and state competitive Auditions were held in 1958. The first audition categories were grades 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12, the time limit 10 minutes with a $1.00 fee. 270 pupils performing at seven sites were entered in IMTA's first district auditions. Of these 21 winners were heard by the judge, Rudolf Ganz. He selected finalists that thrilled the 1958 convention audience. The theory test was added in 1960. Presently there are over 175 teachers and about 1150 students participating.

IMTA and West Music sponsor an annual scholarship audition for seniors. Scholarship funds are awarded to the winning students planning on pursuing music in college.

In 1982, IMTA awarded its first Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. Marvin Thostenson, Professor Emeritus of Drake University and in 1994 the first Certified Teacher of the Year was awarded to Mrs. Lois Nassen. These awards have been presented annually since those first awards. Iowa raises funds yearly to support the MTNA foundation to recognize a member for their contributions to IMTA.

IMTA also sponsors festivals for the local associations. Students play for a master teacher and receive instruction on the pieces played. There is no rating given.

Many IMTA members have served on national boards & committees and in many capacities on the divisional level.

Awards received by IMTA include the University of Iowa's Collegiate Chapter being named the MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the year in 2006 and IMTA being named the MTNA State Affiliate of the year in 2007. The Iowa Music Teacher Magazine was nationally recognized by MTNA as State Publication of the Year in 2008.

2017-19
Cyndie Caruth, Ankeny

2015-17
Jason Sifford, Iowa City

2013-15
Donita McCoy, Ames

2011-13
Dr. Alan Huckleberry, Iowa City

2009-11
Jerie Gail Ramsey, Lamoni

2007-09
Cyndie Caruth, Ankeny

2005-07
Dr. Ted Reuter, Waverly

2003-05
Karen Langstraat, Indianola

2001-03
Diane Brimmer, Independence

1999-2001
Dr. Sue Haug, Ames

1997-99
Diane Smith, West Des Moines

1995-97
Lois Nassen, Hubbard

1993-95
Dr. Suzanne Torkelson, Waverly

1991-93
Dr. William David, Ames

1989-91
Devonna Matthiessen, Monticello

1987-89
Sue Hudson, Des Moines

1985-87
Connie Danielson, Ellsworth

1983-85
Norma Seifert, Des Moines

1982-83
Norma Seifert, Des Moines

1980-82
Helen Wohlenhaus, Atlantic

1978-80
Dr. Marvin Thostenson, Iowa City

1976-78
Dr. Eugene Hudson, Waverly

1973-76
Ann Steele, Ames

1972-73
Dr. Carl Bleyle, Ames

1970-72
Dr. Kenneth Drake, Des Moines

1969-70
Dr. Robert Rittenhouse, Pella

1967-69
Dr. Robert Shultz, Des Moines

1965-67
Dr. Lawrence Hart, Ames

1963-65
Dr. Marvin Thostenson, Iowa City

1961-63
Dr. Myron Russell, Cedar Falls

1959-61
Dr. Alvin Edgar, Ames

1958-59
Dr. Robert M Larson, Cedar Rapids

1957-58
Norma Cross, Iowa City

1956-57
Dr. Edwin Liemohn, Waverly

1955-56
Myrtle Stewart, Des Moines

1954-55
Dr. Sven Lekberg, Indianola

1953-54
Dr. Paul Beckhelm, Mt. Vernon

1952-53
Norman Goodbrod, Grinnell

1951-52
Paul Schumann Ray, Cedar Rapids

1950-51
Herald Stark, Iowa City

1949-50
Frank Jordan, Des Moines

1948-49
Tolbert MacRae, Ames

1941-48
Dr. Edward Kurtz, Cedar Falls

1934-40
Paul Schumann Ray, Cedar Rapids

1933-34
Paul Ray, Cedar Rapids

1931-33
George Pierce, Grinnell

1929-31
Tolbert MacRae, Ames

1927-29
Charles A. Hayden, Creston

1926-27
Dr. Philip Greeley Clapp, Iowa City

1925-26
Elias Blum, Grinnell

1923-25
Dr. Philip Greeley Clapp, Iowa City

1921-23
Charles Neff, Fayette

1917-21
Henry Matlack, Grinnell

1915-16
Mrs Frederick Heizer, Sioux City

1913-15
Ernest Leo, Cedar Rapids

1912-13
Henry Matlack, Grinnell

1911-12
Adolph C. Kleine, Dubuque

1910-11
Charles Fullerton, Cedar Falls

1909-10
George Pierce, Grinnell

1908-09
Dudley Smith, Grinnell

1907-08
Charles Neff, Fayette

1906-07
Charles Grade, Muscatine

1905-06
Frank Nagel, Des Moines

1904-05
William Pontius, Dubuque

1903-04
Henri Ruifrok, Des Moines

1902-03
Alexander Rommel, Mt. Pleasant

1900-02
Frank Nagel, Keokuk

1899-1900
Alexander Emslie, Webster City

1898-99
Frank Nagel- Keokuk

1897-98
Bertram Henry, Burlington

1896-97
J.W. Reymann, Des Moines

1895
Reorganization of IMTA

1893
practically disbanded

1892-29
J.M. Eppstein, Toledo

1891-92
Joseph Ruggles, Iowa City

1890-91
Willard Kimball, Grinnell

Dec. 1889-90
Dr. Alexander Rommel,Mt. Pleasant

May-Dec.1889
Herbert Oldham, Toledo

1886-89
William Godfrey, Mt. Vernon

1885-86
Emory Sefton, organizer, Cedar Rapids

1982- Dr. Marvin Thostenson

1983- Dr. Robert Schulz

1984- Dr. John Wannamaker

1985- Norma Seifert

1986- Helen Wohlenhaus

1987- Connie Danielson

1988- none awarded

1989- Sue Hudson

1990- Marie Barta Pellet

1991- Dee Matthiessen

1992- Helene Dockendorff

1993- Amy Mulford

1994- Diane Brimmer

1995- Lois Nassen/ Jerie Gail Ramsey

1996- Dr. Suzanne Torkelson

1997- Marilee Mertins/ Berneil Hanson

1998- Deanne Tibben

1999- Dr. Sue Haug

2000- Dr. William David

2001- Donita McCoy

2002- Chiu-ling Lin

2003- Pat Luiken/ Patricia (Reuter) Riddle

2004- Cyndie Caruth

2005- Pam Sibbel

2006- no recipient

2007- Lucinda Lear

2008- Diane Smith

2009- Karen Langstraat

2010- Judith Dixon

2011- Dr. Ted Reuter

2012- Catherine Burke

2013- Deborah Ausborn

2014- Laurie Braaten-Reuter

2015- Dr. Alan Huckleberry

2016- Theresa Camilli

2017- Dr. Janci Bronson

1994- Lois Nassen

1995- Connie Danielson

1996- Diane Lawson

1997- Chiu-ling Lin

1998- Sue Hudson

1999- Diane Smith

2000- Jerie Gail Ramsey

2001- Dr. William David

2002- Dr. Suzanne Torkelson

2003- Dr. David Piersel

2004-Cyndie Caruth

2005-Lucinda Lear/ Diane Brimmer

2006- Karen Langstraat

2007- Deanne Tibben

2008- Joan Hopkins

2009- Marilee Crawley-Mertins

2010- Pat Reuter Riddle

2011- Deborah Osborn

2012- Judy Hyland

2013- Judith Dixon

2014- Jason Sifford

2015-Dr. Sharon Jensen

2016-Bang Lang Do

2017- Dr. Janci Bronson

2009 - William David

2015 - Pam Sibbel