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Message from the President

Chris Dobbins

Greetings, and welcome to the internet home of the College Orchestra Directors Association. CODA is an ever-growing group of 400+ college orchestra directors, graduate and undergraduate students, composers, and industry professionals dedicated to the excellence and artistry of the collegiate orchestra.

I joined CODA at a point in my career during which I was shifting into the role of both band and orchestra conductor at my institution. I felt alone and isolated and filled with so many questions to which I couldn’t find easy answers. My dear friend Steven Ward at Abilene Christian University was kind enough to let me come shadow him and his program for a few days to see what running both major instrumental programs could look like. During that visit, he suggested to me that I check out CODA and talked glowingly about the community. Boy was he right! Joining CODA helped me answer immediate questions, prepared me for the tenure process, gave me easy access to ready and willing mentors, and has provided a wealth of information in terms of bowings, repertoire suggestions, and the published journal. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to attend the CODA National Conference where I met other conductors grappling with many of the same issues that I faced, and I learned that I wasn’t alone.

I sincerely hope each member of CODA feels as supported and welcomed as I have, and it is my great honor to stand on the shoulders of giants to lead this organization for the next year. I hope that together we can make CODA even more welcoming and inclusive, in addition to making great progress on initiatives to bring back the mentorship program, start a national student advisory board, explore the idea of an intercollegiate orchestra, and much more.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the CODA officers with questions or just to say hello. To that end, I encourage you to reach out to your regional leadership early and often and to use them as a resource. CODA is one of those rare organizations that will give you back even more than you put into it, and I sincerely hope you’ll take full advantage!

It will be my great pleasure to welcome you all to Omaha for the CODA National Conference in 2025. I already can’t wait to see the welcoming mix of new and old faces that only CODA can provide!

Welcome and warm wishes to each of you,

Dr. Christopher Dobbins
President, College Orchestra Directors Association
Director of Instrumental Activities and Associate Professor of Music
Washington and Lee University