“Gratitude through the transition: Looking back and moving forward”


[1] Slippery Rock University, USA

In my editorial for the previous issue, I mentioned that there were many changes happening at Voices, particularly in terms of co-editors-in-chief, production editor, and copy editors, and since then also in terms of article editors. In this editorial, I would like to take time to honor those who have given so much of themselves to make Voices what it has become today and to look forward in anticipation for what is yet to come.

First and foremost, I would like to take time to honor Brynjulf Stige. It was 21 years ago that Brynjulf and Carolyn Kenny first imagined this space and worked together to bring it to fruition. After Carolyn stepped down 7 years ago, Brynjulf maintained his commitment to continue what they dedicated their time and energy to for 14 years together (joined by Cheryl Dileo for the last 3 of those). It is difficult to put into words the depth of gratitude I feel for Brynjulf, both on a professional level and a personal level. His dedication to music therapy as a practitioner, educator, scholar, and mentor can be seen in all that he does, and particularly in the co-creation and continued dedication to Voices in all of its evolutions.

In his editorial for the second issue of 2013, Brynjulf describes the genesis of Voices during the 1999 World Congress of Music Therapy held in Washington, DC. With a commitment to both enhancing international communication within the music therapy community, as well as a commitment to providing open access to music therapy scholarship, Brynjulf and Carolyn partnered together to launch this World Forum for Music Therapy. They called it a world forum because they wanted to emphasize that this was a space for voices from all over the world to come together and to share the multiple ways people from different countries, cultures, and traditions engage relationships between music and health.

Brynjulf was not only crucial in the formation and evolution of the journal alongside Carolyn, but he steered it through its transition 7 years ago when Katrina McFerran and I moved into our roles as co-editors-in-chief. He gently mentored us in our roles, providing guidance, freedom to develop new ideas, and support when we struggled in our new roles, while continuing to work tirelessly behind the scenes to maintain the financial viability of this open access online journal—a task which often goes unacknowledged but is crucial to the ongoing viability of this incredible space for music therapy scholarship.

Brynjulf first approached me to join the Voices team as a co-editor-in-chief at a joint conference of the Canadian Music Therapy Association and a Gender, Health and Feminist Music Therapy conference in Montreal in 2012. When he introduced the idea to me over coffee, I was very reluctant to accept the invitation and he had to work hard to convince me that this was something he and Carolyn felt confident I could take on. Luckily, Kat McFerran was coming onboard at the same time and so together we imagined ways to both honor all that made Voices unique and to imagine new ways for multiple voices to be honored and acknowledged in the space. We sat together for hours, over several days, in Oslo at the European Congress and dreamed of ways to include multiple languages (limited at this time mainly to abstract translations), a wiki to replace country of the month (which is now up thanks to the dedication of Maren Metell and Lucy Bolger and ready for people to contribute to), and special issues that focus on critical perspectives through our commitment to social justice and social change.

Second, I would like to show my deep appreciation for Katrina McFerran. I must say, without a doubt, that Kat has been a driving energy at Voices for the past 7 years in her role as co-editor-in-chief. Her humour has always been refreshing during our online meetings, as well as her dedication to keeping lines of communication open for all parts of the team, including the co-editors-in-chief, production editor, copy editor, article editors, reviewers, and abstract translators. She always made sure we met together regularly as a team, to present at conferences, and to have fun together over dinner and drinks whenever viable. She worked tirelessly to ensure that the regular issues ran smoothly, and that the team felt supported. Her organizational skills are enviable, as is her ability to keep everyone focused on the task, all while juggling her own productivity as a scholar and educator, and as a parent of two amazing kids. I know that we all appreciate her generosity of spirit and her dedication to Voices.

Third, I would like to express gratitude for the wonderful contributions of Hilde Kjerland as production editor, Melody Schwantes in the role of copy editor, and Avi Gilboa, Daphne Rickson, and Michael Viega as article editors. Again, words feel insufficient in expressing the appreciation that each of you deserves. While we are saying goodbye to Avi and Hilde, both Melody and Mike are moving into different roles on the team which we are excited about—Melody back into the role as article editor, and Mike into the role of communications editor—and Daphne is taking a break at this time.

My gratitude also extends to those continuing on in their roles in the team as article editors, Alex Crooke, Juanita Eslava-Mejia, Rika Ikuno, Seung-A Kim, Tríona McCaffrey, Marisol Norris, and Helen Oosthuizen. And to Maren Metell and Lucy Bolger in their roles as Wiki editors. You are all such an indispensable part of this team. I really love the energy and dedication that each and every one of you brings to the team.

At this point, I would like to welcome and express my gratitude to our new team members. To Claire Ghetti (co-editor-in-chief), Marie Louise Ljones (production editor), Bec Blakeney and Tim Honig (copy editors), and Juan Pedro Zambonini (article editor), you have all hit the ground running. Two weeks ago I could not imagine that we would get this issue out on time. After tirelessly working on not only learning your new roles, but working long hours, we did it! As we are all making adjustments in our new roles, it has been so great to work with all of you so closely. The energy and commitment you each bring is really appreciated. I must acknowledge that Claire came aboard with the understanding that her role would be somewhat periphery, taking on the role of maintaining our financial viability and helping out in other ways as needed. How grateful I am that she has actually taken an equal role as co-editor-in-chief in all ways. I am sure it has taken more energy and commitment than she had anticipated, but her generosity of spirit and her commitment to excellence has been so evident. Thanks so much Claire for all that you bring.

Looking forward, I would also like to welcome some new people to the article editor team, who will begin after this issue is completed. These include Nsamu Moonga, Elly Scrine, Tanya Silveira, and Hiroko Miyake. We are eagerly anticipating welcoming you onto the team and expanding our vision with your added perspectives.

Finally, thank you to all of the authors and reviewers for this issue and for all of our issues. And thank you readers for engaging with Voices. Without all of you, there would be no venue such as this to enrich our music therapy communities. Thank you also for your patience as we have been transitioning into this new evolution of Voices. It goes without saying that at times things may have fallen through the cracks and may not have moved as smoothly as we would have liked. We appreciate the understanding that you have shown as we have moved through these situations. I felt some trepidation when I realized that we would be going through so many changes all at once. What I have witnessed through this transition is that the Voices community is a strong and vibrant community. The seeds sown by Carolyn Kenny and Brynjulf Stige 21 years ago took root and the resulting rhizomatic shoots have proven to be multiple, interconnected, and self-replicating.