ASU musicologist recognized for decades of service to American music


Lynne MacDonald

Kay Norton, musicologist and professor in Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre, received the Distinguished Service Citation at the virtual Society of American Music annual conference this summer.

“The Society for American Music is my professional society home,” said Norton, who joined the organization in 1991. “The society matches the Americanist side of my research – American sacred music — especially gospel — and music of the southern United States.”

The citation is given by the board of trustees to a current member of the society who has given exemplary and continued service to the society and its mission. The society is dedicated to the study, teaching, creation and dissemination of all musics in the Americas and serves a wide and diverse array of academics, librarians, composers, performers and members of the general public.

Norton said she was initially introduced to the organization by her major professor in graduate school and said it was the wonderful colleagues, positive energy and fascinating scholarship that kept her accepting administrative, committee and planning team roles.

In her 30 years of membership, Norton said she only recalls missing one meeting.

Norton’s years as a member of the Society for American Music included acting as session organizer and chair of various interest groups for numerous conferences, and as chair of fundraising and fellowship award committees. She later served as member-at-large of the Society for American Music board of trustees from 2005–07 and as vice president of the society from 2013–17. Most recently, she has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Society for American Music from 2018–20.

“All my roles have been great, but I especially enjoyed my times serving on the board of trustees, first as member-at-large and later as vice president,” Norton said. “The entire membership votes on these positions, so it is an honor to be elected. Being involved gave me the opportunity to meet a great many other members and exchange fascinating ideas about research and the well-being of the society.”