MINUTES of the MEETING
CONSORTIUM OF VERMONT COMPOSERS
January 14, 1996
The meeting was called to order at 2:20 pm on January 14, 1996 at the home of Dennis Báthory-Kitsz in Northfield, Vermont. Don Stewart acted as moderator.
In attendance were: Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, David Gunn, Craig Hanson, Bill Harris, Zeke Hecker, Jim Lowe, Peggy Madden, Don McLean, Erik Nielsen, Don Stewart, and Larry Read (by telephone). Planning but unable to attend were Michael Arnowitt, Susan Bettmann, Dennis Darrah, Don Jamison, Randy Neal, Bea Phillips, George Todd, and Batya Weinbaum.
Articles of Association and By-Laws
The first items for discussion were the Articles of Association and By-Laws of the Consortium. Zeke Hecker questioned sections regarding board size, duties of the president and secretary, finances, meeting notice and certain wording (sections 3.7, 4.7, 5.5 and 6.3). Regarding the size of the board, Don McLean suggested a four to 12 members. Erik Nielsen suggested the board by sized "by parameter". David Gunn suggested a size of 3.5 to 75. Don Stewart suggested no limit.
After a discussion of the 75-day meeting notice requirement, no action was taken. After a history of the president's duties presented by Erik and discussion, no action was taken to further define the duties of the president. After a discussion of the wording of "closed meetings" vs. "executive sessions", no action was taken to change the wording.
- Moved by Zeke, seconded by Erik, that the proposed By-Laws be amended to create a board of five to 12 members. Accepted by voice vote.
- Moved by Zeke, seconded by Erik, that the proposed By-Laws be amended to cause section 6.3(d) to read "The Secretary shall be responsible for issuing notices of metings, taking and keeping minutes of meetings, and engaging in correspondence at the direction of the Board." Accepted by voice vote.
Don Stewart suggested his address not be used as the physical location for the Consortium. No action was taken.
- Moved by Zeke, seconded by Erik, to accept the Articles of Association and By-Laws as amended, pending resolution of (i) the 75-day meeting notice and (ii) the wording of "closed meeting" vs. "executive session", to be determined by legal counsel.
In accordance with the requirements of the IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit status application, Don Stewart will prepare a two-year projected budget. A list of prospective activities for the budget was made, based on past Consortium activities:
- Co-sponsorship of individual concerts.
- Sponsorship and organization of a state-wide composers festival.
- Publication of a newsletter.
- Contact with other composers groups and exchange of information.
- Co-sponsorship of a world wide website.
- Contribution to a radio show that features Vermont composers.
- Dissemination of information to the public about new music concerts.
- Involvement of schools, colleges and universities in festivals and performances.
Vermont Community Foundation Grant
Don Stewart explained that because of time limitations on the grant, and the possibility that the IRS may not grant tax-exempt status within 1996, he had contacted the Tom Philion of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The VSO will act as our fiscal agent pending 501(c)3 status, in exchange for the opportunity to conduct reading sessions of Vermont composers' music, with Kate Tamarkin conducting.
It was reaffirmed that dues of $25 would be paid on a calendar-year basis. All amounts over the $25 will be assumed to be a gift, unless the composer makes an arrangement with the treasurer that future dues are to be covered by the additional amounts. Members of the board will contact delinquent and former members to request they become current members.
Plans for the Future
An extensive discussion was held about plans for the future. Among the topics were the benefits of local concerts or festivals vs. a state-wide festival; the status of concert attendance and cost in the past and projected for the future; the question of what person would coordinate and what site would be used for a possible festival; the dates of a possible festival; and who would pay for the festival.
Erik suggested that late 1996 was not possible, and the group agreed. Zeke asked if anyone present would be willing to coordinate a festival; there were no volunteers. Zeke and Bill discussed Woodstock as a possible repeat site for the festival, but Don Stewart suggested southern Vermont with the Friends of Music at Guilford co-sponsoring. Don McLean declined, as the FoMAG time schedule was set out far in advance. Don Stewart then suggested that Elizabeth McCrae be contacted to consider organizing another festival in Woodstock. Bill and Zeke suggested as an alternate possibility that the VCF grant money be used to pay performers, and Zeke offered that small touring festivals would be a good idea. The problems addressed were group size, location and sponsorship. Zeke explored aloud the possibility of two to three groups giving concerts over two to three days, which would equal a kind of festival, "not just another concert." He said performing locations are "beginning to be obvious -- where the audiences and action are." Erik said that people turn out for a concert if they know the performers or composers.
Larry Read telephoned from "on the road" where his car had broken down. He reiterated several points Zeke had made about the By-Laws, and noted the need to raise additional funds. His primary idea was that it was difficult to think of a venue, because "we are selling a product that needs a different way of being sold." He suggested that we go to places which use music (rather than concert venues), specifically: churches, galleries and theaters. He further offered to accept the presidency in a caretaker role if it were offered, and to help Bill with fundraising.
- Moved by Zeke with several seconds, that Consortium concert activity for 1996 using Vermont Community Foundation funds shall involve small festivals using paid performers, performing music by Consortium members at several Vermont locations. Passed by voice vote.
Susan Bettmann and Dennis Darrah had sent along comments in an earlier telephone call, which included the offer to host four regional "house concerts" in their outdoor and indoor performing spaces. Dennis Darrah will use his radio show for performers to play, and will attempt to prepare radio programs for presentation elsewhere in the state. Also in an earlier telephone call, Don Jamison offered to help organize local concerts in the Burlington area.
David Gunn suggested that his radio show be used as a venue for live broadcast concerts as part of the touring series, to be recorded before a live audience in audio and possibly video formats for future broadcast and publicity. The group agreed that this was an excellent plan.
A list of artists and sites was then discussed, including the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; the Manchester Chamber Players; the Craftsbury Chamber Players; singer Lisa Jablow and pianist Dirk Elston, Paula Ennis-Dwyer or Diane Hewling; pianist Michael Arnowitt; an unnamed brass quintet; a traveling electronic concert with material from George Todd; the Southern Vermont Arts Center; the Equinox; and other locations. It was suggested that one of the concerts be included on the Manchester Festival schedule.
Erik explained the implications of coordination, and Zeke declined. Erik agreed to do "gopher" work, and Zeke would coordinate the concerts on a general level. It was suggested that Larry Read be president, and Zeke be a vice president and "cheerleader"/coordinator/producer of the concert series with the understanding that he be a clearinghouse for ideas and people, and to generate other ideas. It was suggested that Elizabeeth McCrae be coordinator of the detail work, calendar and scheduling, and Erik called her and left a message. The motion was withdrawn.
- Moved by Don Stewart, seconded by Bill and Erik, that Zeke Hecker be site coordinator of the concert series.
Officers were then elected:
Discussion then moved to the decline in membership. Peggy asked how members were drawn in, and if composers joined because the Consortium presented what they did, or the Consortium presented what it did because of the composers it had. No one could answer the question, so the mailing list was divided up among board members to call former and delinquent members.
- Moved by Don McLean, seconded by Erik, that Larry Read be elected president. Accepted by voice vote.
- Moved by Don McLean, seconded by Bill and Erik, that Zeke Hecker be elected vice-president. Accepted by voice vote.
- Moved by Erik, seconded by Craig, that Dennis Báthory-Kitsz be elected secretary. Accepted by voice vote.
- Moved by Erik, seconded by Dennis and Zeke, that Don Stewart be elected treasurer. Accepted by voice vote.
Ideas returned to contacting performers for the Fall 1996 touring concert series. Talking points:
Erik would pursue the idea of New England Foundation for the Arts funds and Meet the Composer funds. Various board members would explore sites in their areas. Funding discussion continued. Don Stewart hoped that the Vermont Council on the Arts might provide some funding, but Erik noted that the VCA had no money, was reorganizing, and all its deadlines were suspended. Bill said he and Larry would try to raise corporate funds, and that the Consortium needed to at least double the money received from the VCF. Erik suggested we wait to find sites, but Don Stewart pointed out that corporate/bank funders might suggest the locations that gave them exposure. Various discussion followed.
- There was some money involved.
- They would be concerts of music by Consortium members.
- The Consortium and performers would work together in selecting the works to be performed.
- There would be several concerts and a live broadcast/recording session.
- The series would take place in late October through early November of this year.
- One hour of music would be maximum.
- There would be a potential for panel discussion and meeting the composers.
- There would be an exhibit of composers' materials.
- There would possibly be a printed booklet including all the programs.
- Sites would be decided with the performing groups and funding groups.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm., though in a follow-up telephone call, Larry Read suggested that we also contact North Country Public Radio for broadcast of our concert series.
Potluck food followed, proving that meetings have some cultural value and composers like to eat good stuff. Among the treats were bagels and herb cheese, ciabatta, transparent pasta and vegetables, banana bread, tortellini salad, cheese soufflé, cold pasta and red pepper salad, grain salad, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, juices and soda and coffee. So there. Everybody come next time.
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Secretary