of the

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.

Previous Minutes

        The previous minutes were not reviewed.

Treasurer's Report

        No Treasurer's Report was presented. David Fuqua noted that the last figures were published in Consorting, at $1,426.91 in the account. Tim Price, upon being served coffee in a Vermont Composer mug, suggested the remaining 75 mugs be offered as part of the Vermont Composers award to members. The position of his tongue relative to his cheek was not visible due to the mug.


        There was discussion of the membership. The main points:         Peggy Madden thought that the membership fee of $25 was high considering that the newsletter was available on line. Bill Harris thought a fee reduction for on-line members might be considered. David Fuqua reported that the newsletter cost $120 (production and postage) for 125 copies, making it about $1 per issue. Peggy thought those who didn't pay dues may not want the newsletter, or may wonder why, if they're not paying, they are still getting it. The list of recipients was then reviewed and reduced by about 10%.

        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.

Concerts and Other Anxieties

        An information discussion of members and money and concerts was begun. Tim wondered how we would be using money we would raise. Bill noted that we had begun paying for performers and performance locations. Tim thought a competition with prizes of $500, $250, etc., would be valuable because people would be "in a mind to join if there's a prize." Dennis agreed that he would only agree to the value of a competition if the prize raised membership, not for the music. Tim reiterated the idea of a theme for a competition. David Fuqua mentioned that it took time to prepare for a competition, and there was not enough notice for the call for wind scores. Bill pointed out that that didn't seem important in the past, because there was much more participation. Dennis said that organizers had contributed energy for successful festivals and events, but that the rest of the membership was always passive, with lots of follow-up calls and notes to get scores and other participation. Tim asked what we provided to members. Dennis listed some current member services, including:         Bill reviewed some ideas he had discussed with a conservatory (now confidential, to be named later). The conservatory's students need to perform in public places, "on the road", for some small amount of remuneration. For example, there were several string quartets at the conservatory, and using them would depend on who wanted to perform and what they were capable of playing. If the conservatory contributed to our concerts, we could share composers and performers, perhaps during the May-to-October tourist season. It "gives your performers an opportunity to perform, to perform in the boondocks, in the country," he said, underscoring the likelihood of audiences of 50 or more. David Gunn cautioned that based on previous experiences, "we can't take the number of audience for granted." Bill added that with new music department direction at Middlebury, he would see if they would be interested in "taking serious part in concerts and recordings." Aside from the idea that "it might be an enlivening thing," he said, it would let them "get out of hot Boston in the summer". Tim suggested a music camp or equivalent, noting his own good experiences with them. Bill wondered aloud about Adamant, and David Fuqua noted they had a classical piano focus, and operated in the summer. Bill suggested groups arrive on a Friday morning, rehearse in the afternoon, with performances in, for example, Burlington on a Saturday afternoon, Montpelier in the evening, and Randolph the next afternoon -- giving them food and lodging, and with publicity for their dossiers. Tim though Norwich (town) would draw both sides of the river, and Dennis noted that Norwich (university) had a Sunday brunch concert series that was well attended. David Fuqua cautioned that students scattered to festivals and workshops in the summer, and it might be better during the slow middle of semesters. Peggy followed up by saying it should be a required part of one of their courses.

        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:

        There was the suggestion from Craig Hanson forwarded by Tim for a performance site: "I was mentioning the project for the small wind groups to some friends, and they suggested the Barnes and Noble bookstore in South Burlington as a good place to play. They would probably be into it, and it would be a good place to raise our visibility."

        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.


        The group then listened to the wind pieces that had been submitted, in Midi format. They included:         Gilles Yves Bonneau had submitted three pieces (Sarabande, Suite slave, and Clôture) as scores, but these were not in Midi format, so the group examined the scores. Everyone discussed the music. The reactions included that it would "wear well" (Tim), it was "too diverse" (Bill), "diverse was good" for different audience members (Peggy), it was "pleasant" but well written (Dennis), and it would be better "with maple syrup" (David Gunn).

        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!".


        Dennis read messages from Zeke and Erik regarding a possible compact disc. Zeke felt the material from the archives would be more representative of the group than new material from a given concert, but reminded everyone that performer and composer permissions would be required. He asked for "pleasing proportions". Erik thought that the first of the series shoud be "New Percussion Music from Vermont", the second would be archival material, and the third "Music from the Festivals".

        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.


        No firm decisions were made during the meeting. In general, there was a consensus on the following:         Discussion was postponed on archives, recordings, the electroacoustic call for music, and other matters as time ran out. Some discussion continued on the evenings weekly composer chat.

Next Meeting

        The next meeting is scheduling for Sunday, May 17, location to be announced. The next newsletter is due out March 15, with a deadline of March 1.


       Coffee, tea, lemon bombs, fruit'n'nut cookies, and ginger shortbread were eaten.

Respectfully submitted,
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Secretary

January 18, 1998 [minor revisions January 19] [additional revisions January 31]

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