Arizona Music News

A Publication of the Arizona Music Educators Association

March 2021

March is "Music in Our Schools Month"

We hope you are finding some creative ways to celebrate this year's "Music In Our Schools Month." NAfME's theme this year is, "Music. The Sound of My Heart." You can find resources, ideas, and more information on NAfME's website here.

NAfME's Virtual Capitol Hill Project

In honor of "Music in Our Schools Month," NAfME has encouraged each state to create a committee to virtually visit Arizona senators and representatives that are currently serving in Washington, DC. Thanks to the organization of Stephanie Campbell, AMEA Advocacy Chair, we have had many positive meetings with our Congress members. In addition to Stephanie, the other members of this committee are:

  • Michelle Irvin, Fine Arts Coordinator, Scottsdale Unified School District
  • Rebecca Vogel, Fine Arts Coordinator, Phoenix Union High School District
  • Renee Shane-Boyd, NAfME Western Division President
  • Scott Burgener, Current AMEA President and Music Coordinator for Mesa Public Schools
  • Darin Shryock, AMEA President-Elect

Items discussed were COVID relief funding for schools, ESSA and Title I, II, and IV funds, the Reopen and Rebuild America's Schools Act, and Arizona SB1400. Thank you to the AMEA committee for their participation in this project!

Arizona SB1400

If you haven't heard about SB1400 yet, you'll want to become familiar with it. Arizona Senate Bill 1400 - Course Equivalents is a bill that, if passed, will allow high school students to earn credit for activities outside of school, such as private lessons, participation in non-school music groups, community theater, club sports, and many other activities. The AMEA board does not support the passage of this bill, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • These activities may not be led by certified teachers and may not follow established state and national standards.
  • It is unclear whether state universities would accept credit earned in this fashion.
  • This creates an equity issue for students who may not be able to afford to participate in such outside-of-school activities.

From what we understand, school funding won't be affected, but if students choose to do these activities outside of school, it likely could decrease enrollment in school music classes which could eventually lead to lost teaching positions for music educators.

The bill, introduced by Senator Paul Boyer, has gone through the Senate and has had it's first reading in the House. You may wish to contact your state representatives to share your opinion on this bill. You can find their contact information here.

AMEA and Constituent Board Elections

Biennial elections are held in accordance with the AMEA Bylaws. All candidates are members of NAfME and AMEA. Terms of office will begin in July 1, 2021 and end June 30, 2023.

Each current AMEA member is invited: 1) to vote for the AMEA Board of Directors, 2) to vote for the constituent organization offices which deal with his/her specific teaching area. Vote for only one candidate per office.

NOTE: A single open ballot is presented due to the fact that all AMEA members are eligible for member­ship in any of the constituent organizations.

Your username is your last name and password is your 9-digit membership number. If you do not know your membership number, contact David Waggoner, AMEA Executive Director, to get the information.

Voting will end at midnight on April 5, 2021.

Results will be posted on the AMEA website.

Before you start the voting process, review the candidate bio's and pictures. Also, be sure to have your membership ID number readily available. Click here to vote.

Did you miss the 2021 AMEA Online Conference?

You can still purchase access to recordings of all the sessions, which will be available through May 1, 2021. You can do so using this form. Also, if you've already attended the conference and would like to access the recordings, you can do so using the same form.

In Memoriam - Robert Nichols

Robert Ralph Nichols, 61 of Mesa, Arizona passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2021 from pancreatic cancer. He was in his home, surrounded by his family.

Rob was born August 10, 1959 in Oxnard, California to Ralph Calvin Nichols (97) and Mary Belle Nichols. He married Jennifer Shanks in 1983. Rob was a loving father to his four amazing kids. Gregory Nichols (33), Kimberly Nichols(31), Brittney Nichols(20), and Andrew Nichols(18).

He attended Northern Arizona University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education and then attended Arizona State University earning a Master’s in Cello Performance.

Rob taught orchestra at Mesa High School, Dobson High School and Benjamin Franklin High School. Rob volunteered his time serving both the Arizona Music Educators Association and Arizona Band and Orchestra Teachers Association in almost all positions. From 2009 to 2015 he served as President elect, President and Past President of the Arizona Music Educators Association. He was awarded the George C Wilson Leadership award, the OM Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Award, the Arizona Music Educator of the Year 2015, Teacher of the Year Ben Franklin High School 2019, and NAU's Alumni Achievement award in 2000. Highlights of his teaching career include two performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. But he would also say, “When the students and I connect during a performance and together we create really beautiful music, sometimes those moments are so emotional, and the tears just flow, those are the best moments.”

A Memorial Service was held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Trinity Church Mesa. A recording of the service is posted here.

The family wishes memorial donations be made to
Trinity Church - Rob Nichols Youth Scholarship Fund
2130 E University Mesa, AZ 85203 or online at

Mesa High School Rob Nichols Memorial Orchestra Fund - donate through school website or mail to (please include note with account title)
Mesa Public Schools
Attention Accounting
63 E Main St.
Mesa, AZ 85201

Dobson High School Rob Nichols Memorial Orchestra Fund - donate through school website or mail to (please include note with account title)
Mesa Public Schools
Attention Accounting
63 E Main St.
Mesa, AZ 85201

Benjamin Franklin High School

Contact Us


David Waggoner, Executive Director

Scott Burgener, President