The annual National Conference of the ESU-US is always an enjoyable opportunity to catch up with old friends from other branches as well as National Headquarters, and to do this in New Orleans was a very special treat. The Seattle Branch, with seven attendees, had the highest representation of any branch, and the rest of Region VIII provided eight more for a strong Western attendance.
On the Saturday night before the Annual General Meeting, Dr. Quinn Peeper, President of ESU-US, along with his partner Michael Harold, were outstanding soloists in a "Rach and Bach" concert at the historic Orpheum Theatre; interspersed with other orchestral and operatic vocal presentations, Michael played Bach's Piano Concerto #5, and Quinn Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2 to a standing ovation. The concert also served as a very effective promotion of the English-Speaking Union, with testimonials given by several individuals who had personally benefited from ESU programs.
Saturday was taken up with meetings of the National Board and all branch Presidents in attendance. These meetings provided an opportunity for both formal and informal discussion of issues common to many branches as well as to the national organization. Among those issues was a change in leadership, as it was announced that Chris Broadwell, who had served for 14 years as Deputy Director and then as Executive Director, was leaving the ESU-US. Ed Mohylowski, the Deputy Director, would serve as Acting Executive Director until a replacement could be hired.
At the AGM on Sunday morning, Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill, Chairman of the ESU-US, summarized the work that the Board was doing to guide the organization into readying itself for its second century. Carol Losos provided detailed information on the state of our education programs, most especially TLab, and Rossana Ivanova discussed the challenges and successes of national fund-raising efforts over the last year.
On Monday an optional tour of sugar-cane plantations along the Mississippi took us to both San Francisco Plantation and Oak Alley, with extensive tours at both locations of the house and grounds.
While next year's National Conference location is at this time undecided, it will serve as a runup to the ESU-US Centenary in New York in 2020. I would personally like to encourage all Seattle members who are able to attend these meetings, as they are both fun and enlightening. Patricia and I have missed very few in the last 25 years, and have enjoyed every one.
-Bill Maschmeier, President
ESU Seattle Branch
The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.
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