January 18, 1998
The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm on January 18, 1998 at the home of Dennis Báthory-Kitsz in Northfield, Vermont. Timothy Price acted as moderator. In attendance were: Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, David Fuqua, David Gunn, Bill Harris, Peggy Madden, and Timothy Price. Planning but unable to attend were Zeke Hecker, Erik Nielsen, and Don Stewart.
David Fuqua asked if the list was kept as a database. David Gunn pointed out that he kept the list as a simple text file because it had gone through a number of incompatible versions over the years. Dennis explained that the original list had member names, phones, and other information, but was in an early computer format that couldn't be translated. The problem of separation was discussed: mailing list in one place, treasury in another, and newsletter production in a third. Davids Gunn and Fuqua will work together to get correct information from Don Stewart.
There was some discussion on how to increase use of the website, including bulletin board and chat room. Dennis read from the weekly statistics that noted the Consortium site was receiving up to 400 visitors per week, including several hundred visits to the newsletter. However, participation from Vermont composers was extremely low. Discussion followed with consternation and without solutions, but Tim offered to write to the membership about it. Discussion wandered.
Tim said he "hurts for interaction with performers". David Fuqua agreed, and said that composers should be expected to work with performers in these proposals. Tim suggested the outdoor center in Fairlee for a week, with one-to-one Vermont composer exchange. Bill suggested we get school endoresements. David Gunn thought we had "jumped from a nascent idea to Carnegie Hall." Bill agreed, saying he would first talk further with the conservatory -- especially about money -- before we got ahead of ourselves. David Gunn asked if we hadn't forgotten our plans to play in art galleries and the like. Dennis read from Zeke Hecker's and Erik Nielsen's points, and Tim Price mentioned those from Craig Hanson. Summary:
The question of performers also arose. Don Stewart (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Zeke Hecker (oboe) were committed. Zeke had said he would organize a touring group from southern Vermont. Dennis noted that Steve Owens had a list of wind players for the Montpelier Festival, and David Fuqua said Don Stewart might have a similar list. David Gunn pointed out that Craig Olzenack was willing to play bass clarinet, and others noted that Karen Kevra was excited to play new flute music. Tim Price would draw up the list, looking for a northern and southern Vermont touring group. The question of how much to pay for each concert was discussed, and Dennis suggested that $400 would be a likely amount to pay players for time and transportation; David Gunn noted that they would expect at least as much for a wedding or bar mitzvah, and then suggested we offer them for bar mitzvahs.
Dennis forwarded Bea's enthusiasm, and her reminder to everyone that this was the Consortium's 10th anniversary year. There was brief discussion of how to exploit this anniversary, which quickly switched to listening to wind music.
Bill suggested that it be combined with poetry readings, as was sometimes done with music compilations. "Don't forget you're in Vermont," he said, noting that it was a way to get money. Dennis was confused about how the music would be used. Tim noted the call was for scores for use in light setting, including restaurants; he read from the previous minutes and his his letter to the members. Dennis said he didn't want to encourage not listening by using it as background music. Tim reiterated that it should be an informal grouping for the public, not a concert. David Fuqua said "these are not ambient pieces", so Tim countered by suggesting they be used in galleries. Intense discussion followed regarding background vs. listening, and David Fuqua though an art gallery was far better than a restaurant, rather than "problems with people coming and going and talking." Bill wondered if it was even gallery music. Dennis wondered who would pay for it in galleries. Bill suggested we make a good recording instead and give it to the galleries; others disagreed. Dennis suggested instead that we have them host a concert, and record it there and give them a CD to play from then on, with historical, musical and location value, i.e., it would be kewl..
Dennis reported Erik's recommendation that we seek a "cultural tourism" grant: an arts organization, a business or a professional organization, and a municipal organization form a 'consortium' to request Vermont Arts Council funds. Such a consortium would be considered valuable to Vermont as a kind of "tourist culture", however distasteful that may be in concept. We don't lose our identity, he reported, but we add another facet to what we do. Erik also suggested that Barre, which is working on its museum and signage, is particularly interested in cultural tourism. This idea in general was not greeted with enthusiasm by the group, but Tim agreed to contact the Arts Council for application information for all their grant programs.
Peggy asked again why Tim thought the wind material wasn't for a concert. He said there were not enough instruments, and it was "not emotional music." Dennis felt that it fits in as a "whole piece with other events", such as the Braintree Old Home Days and the Unadilla pre-festival concerts. More intense discussion followed, including brass music for outside (Bill), wind music was too intimate (Tim), consider green vs. hall vs. gazebo (Bill), we should get the money first (Dennis).
Dennis brought up the question of Manfred Clynes and SuperComposer. Clynes and his company have offered to convert 50 of our Midi files to SuperComposer format. Dennis demonstrated the results by playing the company's CD of "humanized" music. Everyone was impressed. Bill said "why do we need performers". David reiterated, "Midi! Midi! Midi!".
David Fuqua felt that compilation CDs "didn't move", and thought percussion music was a good idea. He said CDs that do move have name recognition (such as James Tenney) and spoke from his experience at Frog Peak Music. If the reason to do a CD is to sell, he warned, "you will be disappointed." A compilation might make back the investment, but the Consortium will not make significant money. Finance must take this into account first, understanding that the reason many composers and performers make CDs is to hand them out at performances and events. He suggested each composer pay a share. Dennis objected that this would go up against the Consortium's philosophy of inclusivity; Tim felt a composer could come up with $300 for a portion of a recording; "it's hard to imagine not," he said. Bill likened it to poets and a vanity press.
The group then listened to short excerpts from the Maine Composers Forum CD.
Comments included Peggy's (liking the diversity and range of styles), David Fuqua's (liking the inclusiveness of style), David Gunn's (feeling our wind music was more diverse, and that as far as the Maine CD music was concernedm, he had "heard it all before"). An extensive aesthetic discussion followed. You had to be there. So be there; next meeting date is below.
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Secretary
January 18, 1998 [minor revisions January 19] [additional revisions January 31]