Dear SASRIM Members

A very happy and prosperous new year to you all. 2010 promises to be an exciting year, not only for soccer fans, but also for those of us who look forward with keen anticipation to the joint SASRIM and IMS Regional Conference in Stellenbosch in July, the first of its kind in South Africa and indeed on the African continent!

1. News of the Executive Committee and Message from the Chairperson

In addition to myself as chairperson, the 2010 executive committee members, elected at the SASRIM AGM in Durban in July 2009, comprise the following people:

Brett Pyper – deputy chairperson
Annemie Stimie – secretary
Hilde Roos – treasurer
Musonda Chimba – membership drive
Claudio Chipendo – membership drive
Willemien Froneman – membership drive
Beverly Parker – programme committee
Michael Nixon – programme committee
Alvin Petersen – programme committee
Jaco Kruger – publications committee
Nishlyn Ramana – publications committee.

These individuals invest a great deal of time and effort in the Society and I wish to thank them most sincerely. We are also grateful for the services of co-opted subcommittee members Santie de Jongh (who assists our secretary in maintaining our website), and Diane Thram and David Smith (who assist on the publications committee).

Sadly we must report that two longstanding and valued members elected in July 2009 – Christine Lucia and Sylvia Bruinders – have both since resigned from the executive committee for reasons of pressing work commitments and ill health respectively. They will be sorely missed. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing members of the former executive committee – Marie Jorritsma, Boudina McConnachie, Chris Ballantine, Diane Thram, Eric Akrofi and Marianne Feenstra. On behalf of all SASRIM members we thank you all for your years of service and we wish you much happiness and good health ahead.

To Brett Pyper who has now stepped down as chairperson (but thankfully remains available as deputy chairperson), and who  – with his characteristic ease and charm – led our fledgling society so splendidly through the period of its first growing pains, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and admiration. There are few scholarly communities in the world, I think, where musicologists and ethnomusicologists have joined forces and buried their differences so painlessly as has been the case with the new SASRIM community of scholars, and this is in no small measure due to Brett’s efforts in cultivating a sense of collective ownership since the merging of the former Southern African Musicological Society and Ethnomusicological Symposium.

For me as incoming chairperson, Brett is a hard act to follow – as indeed are my many illustrious forbears in both the Musicological Society and Ethnomusicological Symposium. However, if there is any contribution I can make during my term as chairperson of our society, it will be this:  to build and consolidate on the gains already made, but also perhaps to consider what might have been lost along the way. Whilst I am excited by the many new and young musicological voices who have emerged to present papers at our recent conferences, by the vibrancy in the many dimensions of the new musicology in South Africa, and especially by the many and varied topics of direct South African and African concern, I am also deeply perturbed by the absence from these gatherings of a number of our country’s established musicologists. SASRIM cannot afford to get ahead of itself and forget from whence it came. We should not allow our discourses to be so dominated by the jargon of ‘new’ interdisciplinary musicological interests that we end up marginalising the solid disciplinary grounds on which they were founded, and the many excellent scholars on whose work this foundation was laid. We achieve little if we continue to build our new South African ethnocentric musicology on little else than a deconstruction of hidden political agendas in the work of our predecessors, especially when we ourselves so overtly hold political positions of our own. Scholarship (and musical composition) is by its very nature positioned, hence a political act. This is an inescapable human condition, and an important point made by the pioneers of postmodern musicology. Perhaps, however, the time is ripe to move on from this point and to heed Stephen Miles warning that “when sociological criticism becomes a simple list of ‘good gals and bad guys’ it is defeated by its own simplemindedness”. There is so much more that we could and should be talking about. Our conferences and our journal publications should be a celebration of the diversity of all of the scholarly voices and musical interests this country contains – of old (ethno)musicologists, new (ethno)musicologists, music educationists, music theoreticians, music historians, music archivists, music librarians, music technologists, performers, composers, and many more. I look forward to the day that SASRIM can claim its rightful place as a truly united body of South African musical scholars wherein no one is made to feel that their contribution has no place because it doesn’t reflect the ‘flavour of the day’. I therefore call upon each and every member to reach out to their non-member colleagues and associates and to encourage them to have their voices heard.

2. The IMS Regional Conference held in Conjunction with SASRIM, Stellenbosch, 14-17 July.

The theme of this conference, as approved by the IMS and the former SASRIM executive in April 2009, is “Echoes of Empires: Musical Encounters after Hegemony”. This will be a truly memorable occasion for all concerned, one at which we hope to receive many visitors from across our continent and beyond, and one at which I trust SASRIM members will be present in full force.

Arrangements for this conference are well under way and the necessary information, including conference fees, registration forms and places to stay, can be viewed on the website http://associated.sun.ac.za/IMS-SASRIM/. The website will be updated continuously as arrangements are finalized in the run-up to the conference. The programme committee have decided to extend the deadline for the submission of proposals to 15 February and we trust that this extension will invite enthusiastic response.

3. SASRIM’s Website

Good news is that the SASRIM website is up and running. Visit our site at https://www.sasrim.ac.za. We welcome any comments on its current contents, and any suggestions you may have for the addition of new contents.

4. SAMUS

The coming-to-an-end of Christine Lucia’s term as editor of SAMUS has left a large void. Christine acquitted herself of her task excellently, and she will be sorely missed. In the interim Jaco Kruger and Nishlyn Ramana have kindly consented to act as co-editors of the forthcoming volume 29, dedicated to composer Kevin Volans on his 60th birthday. The search for a new editor to take over the reins from volume 30 onwards continues. A number of candidates have been approached, but as yet no definite commitments have been made. We all trust that this extremely important position will soon be filled and that our journal will continue to go from strength to strength.  

5. Finances, 2010 Membership Fees and SASRIM Address

Hilde reports the following regarding the financial status of SASRIM at the end of 2009:

I’m happy to report that the society’s bank balance is healthy. On 31/12/2009 we had R 25,713.90 on the cheque account and R 39,604.86 on the call account, a total of R 65,318.76.

See below a short overview of income and expenses for the year. Please note that these figures have not yet been audited and the final figures might be slightly different.

Income Membership 13,400
SAMUS 19,698
Conference 18,910
Total 52,008

Expenses Bank charges 1,379
Postage 4,228
SAMUS 22,800
Conference 13,705
Composer Panel 15,000
Student conf.support 4,225
Website 2,985
Auditor 2,773
Total 67,095

 Profit/(loss) (15,087)
Although this looks like a loss of R15,087, please note that SAMRO’s sponsorship of R15,000 for the Composer Panel during 2009’s conference was deposited into SASRIM’ss bank account in 2008 already, and was accounted for in 2008 finances. We have in reality made a loss of only R87.

In view of the healthy state of our finances at present and of the pressing economic circumstances that affect us all, you will be pleased to know that the SASRIM executive committee has voted to maintain membership fees at 2009 rates. These are:

Ordinary member:  ZAR250;
Overseas member/library subscriptions:  ZAR350;
Student member/retiree: ZAR125 (Students to please provide proof of registration).

Plans to move SASRIM’s postal address to Stellenbosch are underway, since this is where our new secretary and treasurer are located. Until such time, however, the SASRIM postal address remains located in Grahamstown, as shown on the letterhead of this newsletter.

SASRIM’s bank account details remain unchanged and direct deposits of 2010 membership fees can be made accordingly:

Account holder: SASRIM
Bank: ABSA
Branch: Grahamstown
Branch code: 632005
Account number: 711253084

Our email address is also shown on the letterhead of this newsletter. Annemie receives emails sent to this address and passes them on to the relevant persons for attention. Correspondence can also reach Annemie or Hilde via the following fax numbers: 0865253704 (for local faxes) or (+27(0)21 808 2340 (for international faxes). The latter should please be marked For Attention: Annemie Stimie/Hilde Roos.

 See you all in Stellenbosch in July. Until then, have a great year!

 Best wishes

 Zelda Potgieter (SASRIM Chairperson)