The primary responsibilities of the Chapter President are to oversee (1) business operations of the Chapter and (2) the Chapter’s annual Regional Conference. In support of this, the Society provides three handbooks that outline Chapter procedures. This handbook outlines the business operations of the CMS Regional Chapters. The Handbook for Regional Conference Planners and Handbook for Chapter Treasurers are useful reference tools as well.



The College Music Society promotes music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction. A consortium of college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music, the Society provides leadership and serves as an agent of change by addressing concerns facing music in higher education.

The Regional Chapters provide forums for the exchange of ideas on issues of local, regional, national, and international interest and concern. The Great Lakes, Great Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Rocky Mountain, South Central, and Southern chapters provide the opportunity for interaction by members residing within these regions.



Central Chapter – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, & Wyoming.

Great Lakes Chapter – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario, Quebec, & Wisconsin.

Mid-Atlantic Chapter – District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, & West Virginia.

Northeast Chapter – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, the Maritime Provinces, Massachusetts, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, & Vermont.

Northwest Chapter – Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, & Washington. 

South Central Chapter – Arkansas, Oklahoma, & Texas.

Southern Chapter – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, & The Virgin Islands.

Southwest Chapter – Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, & Utah.


The Regional Chapters are affiliate organizations of The College Music Society. The relationship of the Society and the Regional Chapters is in keeping with the laws of the United States and the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service governing not-for-profit, educational and professional organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(6) of the Tax Code. Regional Chapters comply with all regulations imposed upon the Society by the Congress and the IRS for the conduct, cooperation, and reporting of affiliate organizations.


Regional Chapters are legally, fiscally, and financially accountable to the Society for corporate and tax reporting purposes. The governing board of CMS must assure the Internal Revenue Service that all activities of CMS regional chapters are used for educational and professional purposes.

Tax Reporting

Chapters need not concern themselves with reporting their own tax information to the Internal Revenue Service. The Executive Office files all required tax forms on behalf of each Regional Chapter. In the event that letters or notifications from the IRS concerning tax filing are received, please forward such correspondence to the CMS Executive Director.


An annual budget and annual financial report are required of each Chapter in order to plan for its forthcoming Regional Cnoference. Please see the Handbook for Chapter Treasurers for further details.


Each Regional Chapter has its own Constitution, which is a legally binding document adopted by the membership at the time of its founding and required by the Internal Revenue Service. The Chapter’s Constitution is the principal document that establishes the chapter. Amendments may be made to the Constitution; however, this process is onerous and requires the assistance of a legal professional. Chapters wishing to make amendments to their Constitution are requested to consult with the CMS Executive Director <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.


Regional Chapters should establish Bylaws to specify the qualifications, duties, powers, and conduct of its officers. Bylaws are, in effect, a contract among members and must be formally adopted and/or amended. Such a document can be helpful in achieving consistency throughout officer transitions and useful to the membership in understanding the expectations of its elected personnel. Bylaws can define rules related to board meetings, elections of a board members and officers, filling vacancies, and other routine conduct. Bylaws should not be confused with the chapter's Constitution, nor must they conflict with the Constitution, as the latter is the principle governing document for the Chapter.



The CMS Board of Directors has asked its Vice President and Executive Office staff to facilitate communication between the Board and the Regional Chapters. Together they work to:

1. Prepare for meetings of the Council of Presidents of Regional Chapters;

2. Share information between meetings of the Council of Presidents;

3. Disseminate information concerning activities of the Regional Chapters;

4. Facilitate fall online elections for each Chapter; and

5. Maintain the online roster of Regional Chapter officers.

Questions concerning any aspect of the Board-Regional relationship may be forwarded to the Vice President or Executive Director.



The Board of Directors of the Society has delegated to the Vice President the task of Regional Chapter development, and, accordingly, the Vice President is responsible to the Board of Directors for all Chapter activities. The Vice President chairs the Council of Presidents of Regional Chapters, guides the development of the Chapters, both strategically and operationally, and guides the interface between the work of the Regional Chapters and the Board of Directors. The Vice President welcomes communication from the Chapter presidents. Inquiries concerning any aspect of Chapter operations are welcome at any time.



The Council of Presidents of Regional Chapters, chaired by the CMS Vice President, meets periodically via electronic means throughout the year. The purpose of the Council is to share ideas on all aspects of the work of the Regional Chapters, from large strategic issues to operational details. These discussions enable the Vice President to share the concerns of the Chapters with the CMS Board of Directors and Executive Committee.



The Society views Regional Conferences as critical to its entire conference initiative. Annual Regional Conferences are organized by each Chapter and held during the spring of each year on a campus of an institution within each region. Each Chapter President should carefully review the Handbook for Regional Conference Planners, as it contains detailed information regarding conference planning, staffing, oversight, and execution. Let it be noted that the Chapter President must not also serve as the Program Chair for the Regional Conference but should, instead, take on an administrative role. The Chapter President’s primary responsibilities related to the conference include establishing conference dates and locations, appointing key personnel, engaging the keynote speaker(s) for the program, assisting with promoting the conference, and chairing the annual business meeting of the membership during the conference. The President should ensure that the Program Chair is meeting established deadlines, and that the Chapter Treasurer and Board submit an annual budget by July 1 of each year for reference by conference personnel.

The CMS Board of Directors encourages Chapter Presidents to develop liaison with each other, as well as with the chapters of colleague organizations, and to consider the development of joint meetings and special events when desirable.



The CMS Board of Directors provides support for Regional Conference programs as outlined in the Handbook for Regional Conference Planners. Chapter Presidents should reference these guidelines for clarification.  



The responsibility for disseminating all information concerning Chapter activities lies with the Chapter’s President and Regional Conference Program Chair.  Please note the following distinction: The President's role is to communicate information with the membership regarding governance of the chapter, while the Program Chair is responsible for transmitting information related to the Chapter's annual regional conference. A noteable exception is that the President will advise the CMS Executive Office regarding any keynote speaker(s) or invited guest(s) who receive payment for their services.

The CMS Executive Office will assist chapters with publicity in the following ways:

CMS Website:

– Regional Conference Website

Space has been dedicated on the CMS website for each chapter to post information related to its annual conference. The Program Chair is responsible for providing the CMS Executive Office with content to be posted on these pages as outlined above. Details regarding content and format are included in the The Handbook for Regional Conference Planners.

Upcoming CMS Events

To keep its membership constantly aware of its events, CMS maintains a highlighted list of upcoming programs on its home page. Regional chapter activities are included on this list and appear in chronological order (the most immediate nine events display at once).  Kindly note the following links:

Emails & Reminders:

Professional Notices

Professional notices are targeted email messages sent from the CMS Executive Office to its membership. Chapter Presidents may send up to six professional notices per year to convey information to the chapter's membership regarding governance issues or to call for specific action (e.g., conference announcements, calls for nominations, election results, etc.). Since they are targeted, emails can be sent to all chapter members or a select population (e.g., students, retirees, etc.). In all cases, the President should construct and forward the message to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as a Word document. Please note that graphics or attachments will not be included in these announcements, thus only text is required. There is also no need to stylize the layout, as the Executive Office will format the message into a standardized template. Unless otherwise requested, professional notices will be sent no later than the end of the business day following receipt of content.

This Month at CMS

The CMS Executive Office will include reminders of regional chapter activities in This Month at CMS—the official CMS monthly deadlines reminder bulletin.


Other Media:


CMS offers the use of webinars via its Zoom platform on topics of interest related to the profession. Webinars may be scheduled up to twice per month by request. Chapter Presidents who feel the CMS membership would benefit from taking part in a webinar related to activity in their chapter should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to set up an appointment. He can provide further details regarding logistics and the technical requirements for establishing and executing an effective webinar.



Executive authority for the Chapter is entrusted to the Chapter President. Accordingly, the President, with the help of the Chapter officers, should plan to do the following:

1. Call meetings of the Chapter officers;

2. Assemble a nominating committee for elections of officers;

3. Chair the annual business meeting of the membership;

4. Oversee the Chapter Treasurer in preparation of the annual budget and submission of the annual fiscal report;

5. Submit an annual report of the activities of the Chapter by July 15 of each year. Guidelines for the annual report will be found below.

Meetings of the Chapter Officers

Depending on the how duties are outlined within the Chapter’s Bylaws, the officers of the Chapter will have various responsibilities, including nominations, financial accounting, and similar items. Accordingly, periodic meetings of the Chapter officers—in person, by telephone or by electronic means—will be necessary. To ensure the best use of time, we suggest that you develop an agenda prior to the meeting in consultation with the Chapter officers.

The Chapter Business Meeting

The President of the Chapter should schedule an annual meeting of the Chapter membership. This meeting may take place at any time during the fiscal year and must be must be open to all members of the chapter. The meeting agenda should be shared with the membership well in advance and should include officers’ reports, other business matters, and the opportunity for members to raise issues, concerns, and share ideas. It need not be a lengthy meeting but care should be taken to schedule the meeting at a convenient time to ensure maximum participation.

Budget & Financial Matters

The fiscal year of the Society is August 1–July 31. It is the responsibility of the Chapter Treasurer, in consultation with the Chapter Officers, to submit a budget by July 1 for the coming fiscal year. The Chapter President should ensure that this deadline is met, and should assist the Treasurer by communicating, well in advance of this deadline, with Local Arrangements Hosts regarding costs related to upcoming programs. Details regarding the budget process are described in the Handbook for Chapter Treasurers.

Election of Officers

Elections for Chapter officers will be held for a period of one week, beginning on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November and concluding at 11:59 p.m. MST of the following Monday. Chapter elections will be conducted by electronic ballot and administered by the CMS Executive Office. This provides all members of the Chapter with the opportunity to participate in their election, and gives newly elected officers the opportunity to receive mentorship prior to the Chapter’s subsequent annual conference.

A nominations committee should be appointed by May 1 of each year in preparation for the following fall’s election. The officers of the Chapter may serve as the nominations committee, or the President may choose to appoint a Nominations Committee that includes members who are not current officers. Nominations may be collected through various means; however, all nominees must hold current membership in the organization. It is worth noting that nominees are placed on the ballot at the discretion of the nominations committee, and the act of nomination does not necessarily qualify an individual for election. The Executive Office can assist the Chapter's nominations committee in posting an Call for Nominations, if desired. 

The Society strongly recommends a double slate of nominees for each office. Even though your Chapter’s Constitution or Bylaws might not so specify, a double slate of nominees offers the fairest choice to the membership.

Each candidate for office should supply the nominations chair with a brief biography (250 words or less) and a brief statement of their qualifications. A headshot may be requested as well, but this is optional, The Chapter President should collect and send, on behalf of the nominations committee, the final slate of candidates and accompanying materials to the CMS Director of Professional Activities no later than October 1. Materials should be sent by email as Word file attachments (separate .jpg in the case of photos). Please do not stylize the ballot by placing and sizing photos, as this must be formatted by the CMS webmaster.

Following the election, the Executive Office staff will report the results to the Chapter President. In turn, the President is asked to contact all candidates to thank them and let them know the outcome of the election. Chapter Presidents play a key role in ensuring continuity within the chapter by facilitating communication between incoming board members and those leaving their posts. Fostering a culture of mentorship can enable smooth transitions amongst leadership personnel.         

Reporting Requirements

Chapter Presidents should file an annual report with the CMS Vice President no later than July 15 of each year. This report provides an important source of information for use by the Society. The report is forwarded to the Board of Directors and shared with the Council of Presidents of Regional Chapters. The report should summarize the work of the Chapter over the previous year and should include information about the Chapter’s annual conference, attendance figures, problems, innovations, successes, failures, and other matters. Guidelines for the annual report will be found below.

Support for Chapter Presidents

Both the CMS Vice President and the Executive Director will be delighted to discuss Chapter business matters and to advise concerning how the Society approaches some of these tasks. In addition, other Chapter presidents are usually very glad to be of help to other Chapters by sharing ideas and advice. Please do not hesitate to call upon either the CMS Vice President or Executive Director if you wish to discuss these matters.



The annual reports from the Regional Chapters enable the CMS Board of Directors to consider the needs and important work of the Chapters.

Regional Conference

Please describe briefly the following: (1) the date and location of the Regional Conference; (2) highlights of the program, including keynote speakers or invited guests; (3) attendance figures, including regular member and students; and (4) social functions. Were there any unusual circumstances this year?

The Annual Business Meeting

Please report briefly concerning decisions made during the annual business meeting.

Future Regional Conferences

Please describe plans for the conference for the following two years, including dates and location, as well as any special program initiatives the Chapter will be sponsoring.

The Society’s Common Topic

The Society addresses each year a common theme or topic of importance to our profession. These topics will first be addressed at the regional conferences, then considered further during the Society’s annual national conference the following fall. Click here for a list of past, current, and future common topics. Please briefly describe the forum used for addressing the common topic in your Chapter, and review any specific observations stemming from this discussion that would be of interest to the membership at large. What common topics for the coming yearswould the Chapter look forward to addressing?

Chapter Operations

How can either the CMS Board of Directors or Executive Office be of more support to the operations of your Chapter? Are there services or resources that you would find useful at the regional level? What needs to be fine-tuned in order to better help you? What does your Chapter need to do its best work?

Other Issues and Concerns

While Annual Reports may be submitted at any time following the Spring Regional Conference, they are due by July 15. Please submit Annual Reports to the Vice-President. Reports should be submitted as Microsoft Word files attached to an e-mail message.



Deadlines calendars related to the duties of the Chapter President leading up to upcoming regional conferences may be found by clicking here. Please note: There is overlap between calendars, as regional conference planning is essentially a 2-year process. These calendars should be freely shared with Chapter officers, board members, committee members, and anyone else involved in the governance of the chapter. If these deadlines are noted and adhered to, it will provide a framework for decision making, and will permit all resources of the Society, both human and financial, to be used to maximum advantage. If planning is behind schedule, we urge you to work with the officers of the Chapter in order to catch up. It is important to phase into these  calendars as soon as possible.