Minneapolis 2020 Conference Updates

Society for American Music Annual Conference Minneapolis 2020

Information Concerning Travel and Conference Arrangements


Check here often for updates from the Board of Trustees and conference organizers concerning conference arrangements and travel to Minneapolis in light of the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.

Conference Canceled

The annual conference of the Society for American Music slated for March 25-29, 2020 is cancelled. The Board will be discussing the possibility of shifting the conference and its content to a virtual format and will have more information on these plans in the next few weeks. Refunds of conference fees will also be processed over the next few weeks. I ask your patience as Megan works to accommodate everyone. Please consider donating to the Society to offset expenses we will incur. Lastly remember to cancel your hotel reservations at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis (612-339-4900). We apologize for the inconvenience. Please stay informed and healthy during this difficult time.

Tammy L. Kernodle, President
Society of American Music

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Conference Team

Letter from the President and Board of Trustees

Dear members of the SAM community,

The SAM board has been monitoring conditions surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in regard to our annual meeting in Minneapolis (25-29 March 2020). At this time we are committed to holding the conference as planned.

While the risk of contracting coronavirus in Minnesota remains low (as of 7 March, there is only one case of COVID-19 in Minneapolis-St. Paul), we recognize that members of our Society travel from around the globe as well as North America to attend the meeting. Some of you who have registered may decide not to travel, or may not be able to travel.

Because of the unusual circumstances, the SAM Board and the conference team have developed strategies to accommodate those who have registered for the conference but are unable to attend. Presenters will be given the option of selecting someone to present their work in their absence, or, in cases where such selections are not possible, of providing a video of their presentation to be shown at the conference. Presenters who choose to present long-distance, whether via video or proxy, still must register for the conference. More information will be sent directly to presenters and session chairs by the Program Committee. Those not attending will also be given the option of accessing conference sessions virtually.  

Full refunds of the conference registration fee will be provided to those who decide not to attend or who can’t attend, and who do not desire to access the conference virtually; however, no refunds related to excursions or the Banquet will be made. It has been customary that fees associated with excursions are not refunded; we will continue with that policy–tickets are transferrable to others. SAM is contractually obligated to meet a food and beverage minimum regardless of conference attendance. Refunding fees associated with our Banquet could put us at risk of failing to meet these obligations. We hope that our membership understands the unusual circumstances we are facing and our rationale.

As this situation unfolds we expect that a number of you will request refunds. Please be patient as the Executive Director processes them. To offset the financial loss SAM will incur from these events, please consider turning your refunded conference fees into a donation. 

We will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 while working with our local arrangements committee. If the situation changes, and we need to take more stringent measures, we will let you know.

The website will begin to provide information in regards to preparing for travel, hotel and conference hygiene etiquette in the next few days. 

We hope to see you in Minnesota, and we wish you good health during this time of uncertainty.

Best regards,

Tammy L. Kernodle
President and the Board of Trustees
Society of American Music

Silent Auction Canceled

In light of the current national health concerns, this year’s Silent Auction has been cancelled. The SAM Board felt this was an appropriate measure to take in order to minimize the handling of auction items, payments, etc., by a large number of people over the course of the conference.

But the students still count on your support! And so we hope you will consider making a donation to the Student Travel Fund in lieu of taking part in the Silent Auction.

Click here to donate.

If you have already mailed auction items to the conference, these will be held for next year’s auction.

Thank you for your continued support, McKenna Milici and Andrew Tubbs, Student Forum co-chairs
Checklist for Travel Decisions
  • Continue to monitor communications from SAM, including the SAM webpage devoted to this situation.
  • Stay current with your college or university’s stance on travel restrictions, particularly if your travel is institutionally funded.
  • Watch for communications from your airline regarding travel restrictions and refunds.
  • If you are sharing a hotel room, stay in touch with your roommate(s) and their decisions.
  • If you are unable to physically attend, cancel your travel arrangements (flight, bus, carpool, other) and hotel arrangements.
  • Before you cancel your conference registration, please strongly consider participating and/or attending sessions virtually (see below).

Checklist for Participation Decisions
  • CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS (Presenters, Chairs, Moderators, Facilitators, Panelists, etc.)
    • If you are unable to physically attend, for whatever reason, but do wish to participate by proxy or virtually:
      • Contact Megan MacDonald and Marian Wilson Kimber to let them know you cannot physically attend but will participate so that we can continue to provide you with specific information as it unfolds.
      • You must be registered for the conference to participate by proxy or virtually.
      • You will be provided information about how to virtually attend (see ATTENDEES below).
    • If possible, arrange for someone to present your paper as your proxy; if you need assistance with that arrangement, let Megan and Marian know.
    • If proxy is not an option, please video-record your presentation and send (file or link) to COMING SOON.
      • See the Zoom tutorial posted here COMING SOON.
    • If you are unable to attend and will not participate by proxy or virtually, please notify Marian Wilson Kimber and Megan MacDonald.
    • Contact Megan MacDonald and Marian Wilson Kimber to let them know you cannot physically attend but wish to virtually participate so that we can continue to provide you with specific information as it unfolds.
    • Virtual participation will require access to computer or laptop with audio/microphone (and preferably also video) and strong Internet connection.
    • If you are unable to attend and will not participate virtually, please notify Marian Wilson Kimber and Megan MacDonald
    • If you are unable to physically attend, but wish to participate virtually, please notify Megan MacDonald so we can provide further information about how to connect.
    • Virtual attendance will require access to computer or laptop with Internet strength sufficient for livestreaming reception.
    • Information will be provided to registered attendees about connecting to virtual sessions.
  • ALL
    • If you are unable to attend the conference and will not participate virtually, for whatever reason, remember to send a request to Megan MacDonald for registration refund, which will be processed as quickly as is feasible.

Recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based in the United States, recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as coronavirus, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • There is no need to wear a face mask unless you are experiencing signs and symptoms of being sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

What To Do If You Get Sick

If you have symptoms and were in an affected area (or were in contact with someone from an affected area) and have a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

  • Seek medical care.
  • Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.

Message from the SAM office

Good afternoon,

I understand that plans are changing rapidly for the attendees of our Minneapolis conference. In addition to letting us know over email, if you are changing your plans to join us in Minneapolis for any reason, please fill out this survey. I need to have an accurate record of why people are choosing not to travel to the conference and it is specifically useful for me to know if you have been prohibited by your university or local government for our records.

To reiterate, I need you to fill out this survey if your plans have changed and you are no longer physically attending SAM for any reason. This includes, but is not limited to, if you are:

  • a presenter choosing to have someone read your paper
  • a presenter choosing to present virtually
  • an attendee who wants to attend virtually through our Zoom webinars
  • someone who simply does not want to attend and desires a refund
  • someone who does not want a refund but is also choosing not to attend for any reason

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

If your reasoning changes, for instance if you originally chose not to travel for personal reasons and later your university prohibits all non-essential travel, please email me. That information is useful for my records as well.

For your convenience, here is the link to the survey once again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NL3CRKB

Best wishes and thank you for your patience during this time,

Megan MacDonald
Executive Director