Thursday, February 15, 2018

Minutes January 16, 2018

Minutes  January 16, 2018
Marguerite Frongillo
John Wetzel
Victor Gascon
Virginia Winn
Natalie Weston
Dianne Britton
Fred Drusekis

The meeting began by reviewing the minutes of the last meeting (printouts provided as needed) and then formally approving those minutes.

Virginia presented the treasurers report.  We lost a total of $382 dollars in the last year, according to comparing our most recent bank-cash on hand record with the same from a year earlier.  The treasurers report was formally approved.

The mailing list was discussed.  Natalie has agreed to make sure that all board members are on the "big list" that is to be used to mail out dance newsletters to our dance email recipients (when and as such newsletters are available).  We also agreed that we would resume collecting emails, using a combined form that also allows for people to volunteer if they are interested.   

There were no new reimbursement items to deal with.

There were no reports of issues at the last two dances, which went pretty well except that we could have used a few more dancers to meet costs.

Marguerite gave the booking report.  In short, the current season is completely booked, except for one band that has not yet officially confirmed. John then bought up an item that was already on the agenda for later discussion, which was about Connie's email about possibly giving local bands and callers "first dibs" (right of first refusal?) on ALL dance dates. We formally agreed that once the booker supplies the "all available dance dates" list to the local bands and callers (presumably in writing, via an email perhaps?), those entities would have three weeks to get back to the booker with the subset of dates they would be available.  Also, the band or caller would inform the booker of the rankings of date preferences.  For example, Connie might indicate that her band would like to play the May dance as a first choice, the March dance as second choice etc.  This is assuming that bands or callers have some preference, which they may not.  The booker would then use that information to assign the dates preferred by local caller and bands using that information.  After that three weeks, the booker would be free to open all remaining available dates to all comers, local or distant.  We did not discuss or vote on the related issue of increasing the percentage of gigs to reserve for local bands and callers.  In other words, locals would have a three week sign up to gig advantage over out of town folks.

Addendum:  As secretary, I missed or forgot to write down an important additon to the above.  We formally decided to allow each local band three (as opposed to the former two) gigs per season, thus reserving roughly 50% of the contra dance band gigs of our group to local bands.  Also, we asked that local callers (if willing) each do three dances per season.  The idea of all this being to lower our operating costs and try to break even. John Wetzel, secretary.

We may have a possible new board member recruit.  More news on this as it develops....

No one has any new ideas this meeting on recruitment of new dancers and improving dance attendance.

We are still due some money on a pair of speakers.

Victor asked the group to re-approve the spending of between $100 and $150 for the purchase of 100 buttons, because the previous approval was done some time ago.  This was formally approved.

John mentioned that because of an event the night before our next dance, we will not have use of the area normally used by the band, and we will have to use a small zone of the dance floor for that function.
We also discussed that we will need to arrive ready to be flexible about the pot luck part of the evening, because of the cordoned off part of the dance hall.  It was mentioned that this time we are not providing any food out of the COTMD budget, and are hoping that the dance community steps up to provide all the food we will need.

We briefly discussed the redesign of our "bland" website.  Victor pointed out that although he did change the look and feel of the site, he was just doing a quick "unblanding" of the site, a temporary fix, and did not have any intention of hindering a more thoughtful and thorough redesign by the committee that was assigned that task.  No one has any problem with the site being changed again by the redesign committee.

We then discussed Victor's suggestion of moving to a bi-monthly dance utilizing canned music (see previous minutes for details). 
We discussed the issue of paying or not paying the bands who's recorded music we might utilize.  We decided that we can pay a specific band (such as Contra Force) if we use their music all evening.  However, if someone wishes to utilize a program of music from many sources and bands, we have the right to do so without paying, due to being covered by the ASCAP license Emerald Ballroom carries, and the fact that the music was purchased and is owned by the user for reasonable use purposes.
We also formally agreed to let Victor begin the implementation of his planned "first Saturdays" series, in the form of a three or four month trial run, to begin in February, pending negotiations with Emerald Ballroom about venue issues.
The need to "rebrand" the new series, and make sure people understand that it is different from our current/standard/original live music format, was stressed.

Finally we discussed setting up and utilizing both Paypal and Patreon as "free" vehicles for accepting donations.  Victor explained why doing so would work and would not cause us any expense, while allowing us to accept credit card and other types of donations very easily.

The next meeting will be on March 13, 2018

Meeting was adjourned.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Minutes November 7, 2017

Minutes  November 7, 2017

Marguerite Frongillo
John Wetzel
Connie Robinette
Virginia Winn
Natalie Weston
Dianne Britton
Fred Drusekis

The meeting began by first reviewing the minutes of the last meeting (printouts provided as needed) and then formally approving those minutes.

Virginia presented the treasurers report.  We lost roughly $50 dollars on the last dance, which was otherwise a fun and fairly well attended event.  There was a brief discussion of maybe talking about the need to change our prices, but we decided to table that for a future meeting, because of the need to talk about the idea of having bimonthly dances (see previous minutes).  The treasurers report was formally approved.

The mailing list was discussed.  There is confusion about what, if anything is being emailed to the mailchimp list, who (if anyone) is actually getting this done, and if so how often.  Natalie agreed to talk to Victor and find out about this, and also to take and maintain a list of new emails, as and if such are gathered at dances.  It turns out we were/are not asking new people for emails because no one is adding emails to the mailchimp list.  The plan is for Natalie to at least keep a list of any email addresses we get, so that they will be available to add to mailchimp, if and when somebody starts handling that again.

On the subject of emails, we also breifly discussed how often a newsletter should be sent out, if sent out at all, especially given that we need to ramp up our marketing effort if we are going to be having bi-monthly dances.  This discussion did not lead to any hard conclusions, given the other uncertainties about email outreach.
Marguerite provided a report on the status of bookings.

We discussed and then voted on the next pot luck.  First, we formally voted to have a pot luck at the January dance, and then, we formally voted to not fund it, and see how well the pot luck came together without money from the group added in.  Our next meeting will be only four days before that dance, so preliminary organizing of the pot luck event will have to take place via emails between board members.

The main effort of the meeting was put into discussing Victor's suggestion of moving to a bi-monthly dance.  After much discussion, we INFORMALLY voted (straw poll) in favor of trying this for a trial period of four to five months, with no start date/starting point defined.  A formal vote on all this to be taken at the next meeting.  Some limiting parameters are included in this, and they are:
1. Some branding needs to be done, to make it clear that the new dances are of a different type.  Something similar to, but not as harsh as saying "alternating between live music dances and recorded music dances".  We might want to refer to the "live bands dance series" and the "Modern sounds dance series" or whatever.  Branding ideas are badly needed here.
2.  We agreed that the majority of us (at this meeting) do not want to share any limited income from the new dance series with the bands providing the music, while understanding that Victor may have already promised such an arrangement to at least a couple of bands.  This means that we may have to forgo using the music of Contra force (for example) in favor of other bands that we have not made any promises to.  Under the umbrella of the Emerald Ballroom ASCAP license, we have the right to play recorded music at our dances.  This issue may require further board discussion!
3.  We have a consensus that if the new dance series "steals dancers" from the existing series, that this (bimonthly dance change) might on balance not be a viable long term plan, and that therefore, the new series must be clearly announced and marketed as being a "trial run" and not a permanent fixture.
4.  We want to grow our base of local calllers, and we would like the new dance series to include "open mic" calling opportunities for any of the dance community to try and do some calling.
5.  We need to get back up to speed on email outreach, to support both dance series.
As stated above, all this to be discussed again, and formally voted on, at the next meeting.

Other issues briefly discussed: 

Someone (Victor?) should add a "donation" button to our website, which would link the user to a statement that donations can be made by check, sent to Virginia's snail-mail address, said statement also indicating that a receipt for the donation will be mailed to the donor.

Connie indicated that our website/blog is a bit "sterile" and could use some jazzing up.  Connie has agreed to chair a committee which will come up with some "themes" which will then be submitted to the board for review and possible inclusion into the blog pages.

The next meeting will be on January 16, 2018

Meeting was adjourned.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Minutes. September 19, 2017

Minutes. September 19, 2017
Members present:
Victor Gascon
Virginia Winn
Marguerite Frongillo
Connie Robinette
Jonathan Janzen
Dianne Britton
Natalie Weston
John Wetzel

The meeting began by approving the minutes of the previous meeting.
Virginia presented the treasurer's report. 
No reimbursements were reported to be needed by anyone.
The reports from our last dance were discussed. 
The mailing list was discussed. 
The booking report was delivered.
We discussed recruiting students and other community members as dancers and board members.   No new candidates have been identified. 
The selling of our old speakers came up briefly.  Jonathan will be sending Virginia a check as soon as he has the money.
We discussed mailchimp and the newsletter. 
Aaron was not present to discuss this, and he may need to resign due to being very busy and feeling unable to execute agreed upon board tasks.
There was discussion to encourage Aaron to stay, as is input is needed, even if he does not have time to do stuff like mailchimp.
The contra dance video is finished, and is reportedly of excellent quality.
We discussed the search for potential board members.
We discussed recruitment of students and other community folks.
There was considerable discussion of caller training, including a suggestion from Natalie that we might hold weekly classes for any candidates.
We discussed having quarterly pot lucks, and how much funding ought to go toward these, with no firm decisions made.
We had extensive discussion of the idea of expanding to two dances per month, and Victor offered a template for how this might be pulled off without creating additional stresses for the staff that puts on the dances we currently have.  Victor's suggestion was explained in detail and met with general (but informal) acceptance, as well as some pushback.  We agreed to table this issue for the future, and mull/discuss it in the meantime.  Formal decisions on this to be made later.  Heavy uses of donation jar (no front table staff)  taped music (no paid band and no sound tech) and volunteer callers (so that venue is the only cost item) is the basis for the idea of trying this out.  Any money collected above the hall rental would be divided equally and distributed to the caller, the band providing the recorded music, and the dance group.

The next meeting will be held on November 7, 2017.
The meeting was adjourned.