BEDR Committee

Districts in New York are focused on the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for all stakeholders in the school community. NYSSMA is substituting the word “representation” for inclusion and adding the word “belonging” to focus on the foundation of strong relationships as a critical element in this work.


NYSSMA Will Support: A sustained and robust process that reflects, analyzes, and enhances the various systems of the organization through a representative lens for the benefit of the populations we serve. Goals will include:

  • Creating a community of BELONGING which empowers all members and students to feel respected, valued, and equally included as they engage with the ongoing work of NYSSMA.
  • EQUITY in all aspects of the organization through reflection on shortcomings, reevaluation of traditions, and growth in accountability, transparency, and access.
  • DIVERSIFIED curricular and pedagogical practice that is responsive to the teacher and student population in all areas of the state.
  •  Improved REPRESENTATION in all areas inclusive of new ideas for classroom experiences, NYSSMA leadership, festivals, and publications.  
  • Adopted by the NYSSMA Executive Council, December 1, 2021, Dr. David Brown, NYSSMA President

Explanation of Goals: Winter Conference NYSSMA PRESENTATION 2022

It is NYSSMA’s intent to create an organization that welcomes and honors the many identities of the students we serve. When students can express their uniqueness through music, a culture of representation, elevation, and acknowledgment is created in the music curriculum, classroom, and on the performance stage.
NYSSMA seeks to align its work to the demographics of the students and teachers in our State by responding to their needs so they can engage authentically with music. It is understood that systemic changes are important to allow access to representative repertoire. NYSSMA is committed to advocacy and action to make this a reality.

Adopted by the NYSSMA Executive Council, March 6, 2022 (Albany)
Russ Faunce, NYSSMA President

NYSSMA Policy Statement regarding All-State and Area All-State practices:
In alignment with NYSSMA®’s commitment toward improving visibility and access to all participants and applicants, NYSSMA® will consider lenses of belonging, equity, diversity, and representation in its activities regarding the selection of conductors and repertoire. Furthermore, a collaborative effort will be made to remove NYSSMA® identified barriers to access, to the extent they are within NYSSMA®’s control, and to support positive and enriching music making experiences for All-State and Area All-State participants.
Adopted by the NYSSMA Executive Council, November 29, 2023 (Rochester)
Russ Faunce, NYSSMA President


Retelling Herstory – Women Composers to Program and Celebrate, Dr. Susan A. Davis

Winter Conference Presentations by Scott Dunn and Gregory Sisco
Diversity in Wind Band Repertoire (Part 1)
Diversity in Wind Band Repertoire (Part 2)
Winter Conference Presentation by Jennifer L. R. Greene
Diversity in the Large Ensemble

NYSSMA Manual Works by Women Composers & Composers of Color
Institute for Composer Diversity (Resources & Analysis)

NYSSMA BEDR Teacher Survey Results

Committee Members:
Adele Bovard, Chair (click link for email)
Michael Salzman – NYSSMA Past President
Dr. Elise Sobol
– Neuro Diverse and Special Learners

Elaine Philhower – NYSUT
Dr. Matt Rotjan – Scarsdale Schools
Jennie Knight – Buffalo Public Schools
Zachary Arnez
 – Rochester Public Schools
Margaret Chan – Zone 11
Jamie Pitnell
– Buffalo Public Schools
Gina Costanza – MEANYC
Dali Soto-Peruzzi
– Greater Amsterdam
Avid Williams – Yonkers Public Schools

All NYSSMA members are welcome to attend and participate in BEDR Committee meetings.  Meetings take place via Zoom.  Email the chairperson for the date of our next meeting.

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