Kelly Kessler leaving her post at IBMA

IBMA will have some big shoes to fill for 2019 and beyond.

Kelly Kessler, the association’s director of communications and professional development, is leaving to become a faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University. Kessler, who has been with IBMA since 2016, will teach ceramics.

Because the IBMA office is closed next week for the holidays, today is her last day at work.

In her final IBMA newsletter, out today, Kessler wrote that it was honor to work for IBMA and urged bluegrass fans to keep supporting the genre.

“Bluegrass is a small, vibrant music in a vast field of arts and entertainment,” she wrote. “Our music will never be just another commodity on tap. It is a living, breathing thing we must repeatedly roll up her sleeves for – to pick up, to pony up, to promote, to support – if we want to keep it going.”

IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger thanked Kessler for her “tremendous contributions” to the association and her work on behalf of association members, and he wished her well in her new job.

“Our entire association deeply appreciates Kelly’s dedication and significant contribution over the past 2 1/2 years. Among many other things, she has enhanced the way we communicate with members and the entire bluegrass community. The IBMA’s social media presence and the reach of our e-newsletter have both grown tremendously. She has also been invaluable in coordinating various efforts such our Leadership Bluegrass program. She will be missed, but we wish her much luck in the future!”

The IBMA staff is small – just four full-timers including the executive director — so any vacancy is challenging. But the current staff – Kessler, Amy Beth Hale, Eddie Huffman and Schiminger – has been responsive and steady in its time together.

Schiminger is already looking for solid candidates to fill the vacancy. Primary duties include managing IBMA’s social media activities and website content; creating the association’s electronic newsletter, promoting IBMA activities, helping with press releases and media activities at the annual World of Bluegrass conference, and festival and developing and marketing IBMA efforts to raise funds and expand the organization’s reach.

Kessler also was staff liaison for Leadership Bluegrass and several awards committees. The new hire will be expected to handle those duties as well.

If you know someone who fits the criteria, let Schiminger know right away.

First, though, take the time to thank Kelly Kessler for a job well done and wish her well in the classroom.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.