Greetings and Happy Holidays to members of the Illinois District!

I hope this note finds you well.  I just wanted to take a few minutes during this time of reflection to let you know how much I have appreciated serving as your president over the last two years.  It certainly goes by fast – I was reminded of that last week when I received my 25-year membership card at chapter rehearsal.  I certainly didn’t think back in 1992 when I walked into a Coles County rehearsal that I would wind up serving as president of an organization that has forged so many friendships and meant so much to me over the years, but there you go…who would have thought, right?

I am very happy with the progress we’ve made over the last two years.  We brought back Attacks and Releases and the Chapter Mentor (now Advocate) program, as well as witnessed some new and exciting things like the first-ever District Youth Chorus to compete at the International Midwinter Convention and a brand new “Spring Harmony Jamboree” that offers coaching, classes, and fun for our membership.

As I tell my students about presidents – they are only as good as the people with whom they surround themselves.  I have been extremely lucky to have had some great people help me in this administration.  I want to personally thank the past presidents, especially Jeff Bowyer, for their constant advice and support.  I wish to also thank my board of directors who have tirelessly worked behind the scenes to help improve conditions throughout the district.  I want to give a special shout-out to the guys from both of my chapters, the Sound of Illinois and Coles County, who have given of their time and talents to help run our conventions, fund-raise, and have supported my every decision.  Your friendship means more than you know.  I also want to congratulate my good friend, Jim Waldorf, who will soon take the reins of the district and continue the good work we have accomplished.  He and I have already been hard at work bringing some fresh faces to the board of directors, including Pat Claussen (incoming VP of Membership), Don Leonard (incoming VP of C & J), and Michelle Adams (incoming VP of YIH).  They will be joining a great team of individuals to take us forward as a district.

As I transition into a new position as Immediate Past President, I will continue my service to the district, and will also be working with Michelle to expand our YIH program – particularly with a new H.S. mixed chorus festival to be held in conjunction with the Spring Harmony Jamboree.  I have also been asked to fill the shoes of Brett Mulford (incoming EVP) as Chapter Advocate for the Central Division.  I’m looking forward to assisting local chapters with resources they can use to be successful and vibrant examples of our hobby.

Once again, let me express my thanks for your support over the last two years and I wish you and your family blessings this holiday season.

Yours in harmony,

Rich Hansen
President, ILL District

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