Twenty Years of IAMA Publications


Twenty years ago this spring, a fledgling organization, the newly formed International Adventist Musicians Association printed its first two publications, Newsletters and The IAMA Journal. Two decades and 41 issues later, its magazines have become both a place for dialogue on music issues in a rapidly changing culture and a record of what has happened in Adventist music as one century ended and another began.


This issue of Notes celebrates twenty years of publications by the International Adventist Musicians Association. Today’s two-color magazine and its varied content are the end result of twenty years of experiments in format and content. In those two decades, revolutionary advances in computer technology have dramatically affected the quality of the magazine and how it is produced.

In the fall of 1984, the year of IAMA’s founding, its officers excitedly set about to prepare the organization’s first magazines. Hans Jorgen Holman, an exacting and scholarly music history teacher at Andrews University, eagerly started to prepare a professional magazine, The IAMA Journal. At the same time, another group began to prepare a magazine, Newsletters, which would share news and ideas for specific areas of music endeavor. The release of both magazines in the spring of 1985 became the first tangible evidence that IAMA had become a reality.

The idea for IAMA was presented in the fall of 1981 at a meeting of SDA college and university music department chairs in Dallas, Texas. They endorsed the idea and established themselves as a consulting group and steering committee. A constitution was written, General Conference endorsement was obtained, potential members were contacted, and, in the fall of 1982, an action was taken to establish IAMA. The first election of officers occurred in the spring of 1984. At a meeting that summer at AU, the officers agreed to produce the earlier mentioned magazines.

As its editors quickly discovered, creating a magazine from scratch can be a daunting undertaking. Computer technology was in its infancy and not easy to use. Additionally, midway through preparation of the journal, Holman had to withdraw because of serious health problems. Charles Hall, a teaching colleague at AU who had earlier that spring facilitated the printing of IAMA’s Newsletters, completed production of the IAMA Journal.

For the next six years, one professional magazine was produced annually, supplemented by a bi-monthly photocopied newsletter titled Notes, both produced by IAMA president Dan Shultz.

In 1991, Shultz presented a proposal for a more attractive, single publication that would combine the best features of the professional publication and the supplements. He also asked that a new person be chosen as president of IAMA so that he would have more time to develop the new magazine. The board voted to endorse the changes. Elsie Buck was elected president the following summer, and that fall the first issue of a newly formatted, reader-friendly magazine, Notes, was released. This is the 34th issue in that new format, one that has since been modified and improved as preparation and printing technologies have changed.

Over the years special issues have been devoted to a number of topics. As readers might expect, the most discussed subject has been the changes happening in worship music. Beginning in 1995, a special issue that gave equal time to both sides of the argument was printed, launching an ongoing discussion that has continued to the present. Over 20 articles have since appeared on the subject, including a special issue of Notes devoted to a lively discussion of the music used at the 2000 General Conference session in Toronto.

Other special issues have focused on SDA music in Brazil, hymnody in the SDA church, careers in music, the challenges of being a professional musician and keeping the Sabbath, organs in the Adventist church, and music touring. Also, over 300 articles have provided readers with information about SDA music and musicians around the world, news about significant happenings in Adventist music, how-to articles for developing special programs, and historical insight about how different aspects of SDA music started and evolved.

More recently, many of these articles have been placed on IAMA’s website,, where they can be easily read and downloaded.

Expenses for producing the magazine are limited to printing and mailing since preparation, editing, and layout are contributed. The typical issue takes about 200 hours to prepare, with special issues usually requiring addi- tional time. Dues typically cover about half of the expense. The remainder is covered through contributions.

Notes is presently the only Adventist publication that is devoted solely to covering all aspects of music in the Adventist church. While it has provided news about Adventist music and musicians and a forum where music-related issues and ideas can be presented and discussed, it has perhaps done more than that. Hopefully, it has created a greater sense of community and unity among those who work to help make music one of the most effective avenues for ministry in the work of the Adventist church.

From the 2005 Winter/Spring issue of Notes, magazine of International Adventist Musicians Association