Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Minutes September 18, 2018

Minutes  September 18, 2018

Victor Gascon
Virginia Winn
John Wetzel
Dianne Britton
Fred Drusekis
Jonathan Janzen

The previous meeting minutes were NOT reviewed or approved, because Mr. Wetzel forgot to post them.  Said review and approval was tabled for future attention at the next meeting.

The treasurer reported that we were paid up and current with CDSS.
We lost money on our most recent dance, but exact amount was unavailable at the time of this meeting.  We showed losses of $157 in October, and $129 dollars in November, these amounts being rough markers for the continuing shrinkage of our funds.
No one had any new reimbursements.
Reporting on the last dance mainly included complaints about problems with the venue, which we decided to discuss later in this meeting.
We reviewed mailing list issues (mailchimp problems).
Marguerite was not present to discuss details of the status of hiring bands and callers.  Basically, one band slot remains to be filled.

The "OLD BUISNESS" portion of the agenda was tabled to allow extensive discussion of the various problems with our current venue.
Soundscape is excellent.  No echoes, crystal clear sound is possible here.
Shape of hall is not good.  Not long enough, three lines not possible without danger.
Size of hall will never allow us to break even
Stairway into upper part of facility is in the way of band, forcing band into dance space.
Contra force had to use 20% of the space that would be danceable with a "smaller footprint" band.
High cieling and sheets on walls, and lighting, produce a non-contra feel or vibe.
Lots of time needed to move chairs from front room.  Victor had to spend a lot of his time and effort on this.
These issues were discussed at length, and we decided to investigate the possibility of using the "front room".
Victor said he would discuss this possibility (and our concerns) with the owner.
Any board members who have time are urged to check out the front space.
John is supposed to go down and measure the back and front spaces, so that we can make realistic capacity estimates.
John and Victor agreed that the front space, though smaller, is not much smaller, and has a much better "vibe" or feel.
That conclusion may not survive actually making measurements.
John was asked to keep a close eye on (and report on) any news regarding possible usable church space, or new dance spaces he has rumours of happening soon.
There was a general consensus that the Blue Moon is not viable for our group in the long term, although we are grateful for it saving us short term.

The next board meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2019

Meeting was adjourned.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Minutes May 15, 2018

Minutes  May 15, 2018

Marguerite Frongillo
Victor Gascon
Virginia Winn
Natalie Weston
Dianne Britton
Fred Drusekis
Jonathan Janzen

The meeting began by reviewing the minutes of the last meeting (printouts provided as needed) and then formally approving those minutes.  Before approving the previous minutes, those present made the following suggestions, asked the following questions:
Fred: Question, did we vote to keep $8 only? (John comment: we informally decided to ask for $8, but give students who request the $5 price a break).  This will give us a bit more income, while allowing people who need the student break to ask for it.  The formal pricing scheme remains unchanged, but how we present it to the public is modified so that our income may improve.  I am not sure a formal vote was needed, given that the actual prices have not changed.  A rebuttable assumption on my part.
Fred statement: we need to vote on this formally later this meeting.  (John statement:, I don't think you guys actually did vote on this, did you?  I am not certain it matters, but it could go on the next agenda).
Unattributed statememts: The slate should be a list of names, not just a reference to existing slate.  ALSO, Aaron has asked to resign from the board, but Victor has not accepted that resignation.
Those present accepted the previous minutes, with the above comments and questions to be added in.

The treasurer gave the following report:
March: In March we made roughly $200, because the band and caller were inexpensive, and we had many beginners.
April: In April we broke even.
The cash and bank funds on hand were reported.
The treasurers report was formally approved.

We have been working on a pair of grants for two years.
We purchased new equipment, and are doing well.
Virginia has a new and simplified gate form.
We need to tally up how many DANCERS came AND how many people are in the hall.
Form needs a line for donations and a line for all expenses.

Fred asked the question: Why are board members charged $7? AND Why was this not mentioned in the minutes? AND Are we still going from $8 to $5 for latecomers after half time?

Natalie said she had been to a dance in Oak Ridge, and they used a very simple form, which they will share with us.

A woman from Soth Dakota liked our dance, she dances there.
Kim Buzard is settimg up an event towards the end of june, and needs musicians.

The next pot luck will be in the fall of 2018.
Jonathan never got any notification about our last potluck.

Our booker reported on the current status of booking efforts.

Jonathan agreed to do the beginners lesson for the next dance.
Natalie reported that Tess did a very good job of teaching the beginner lesson.

CONCLUSION (of discussion?) Primary event caller should teach the beginner lesson if possible, but can hand off beginner lesson to one of us if desired.
FRED:  Having someone other than the primary event caller teach the beginner lesson is rare, but it can be done well.  Callers are different, so different beginner lessons can be helpful to beginners who attend many beginner lessons.  ALSO, all our promotional materials should make it clear that for those who need beginner lessons, the start time is 7:00 not 7:30.  Suggestions: Emphasize to beginners the importance of changing patners, and try out having all the beginners in one line and all the experts in another, to allow people to easily pick an experienced partner for lessons.

Victor has not ordered the buttons yet.  Victor is to get with Virginia about setting up pay pal and patreon accounts.

Victor discussed the status of the IRS receipt, and how he managed to get the IRS situation squared away, and how he created a receipt by using a screenshot.

Spartanburg group is having problems, cannot use Church, music store is too small and too hot, and has a bad floor.
Charlotte has ended it's Saturday dances, and is keeping its Monday dances.
Greenville is doing OK with River falls dance and City dance.
Moondance is also having problems.

The new slate of board officers was formally voted in by those present.
The vote was unanimous. 
The slate is:
Victor Gascon - President
Marguerite Frongillo - Vice President & Booker
John Wetzel - Secretary
Virginia Winn - Treasurer
Members at large:
    Dianne Britton
    Fred Druseikis
    Jonathan Janzen
    Connie Robinette
    Tim Peisch

Dianne mentioned that we need to invite interested people to each board meeting at every dance and via all of our publicity channels.  Board meetings can be a facebook event, for example.

The next board meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2018

Jonathan has a friend who is interested in playing contra music (Carson? on viola?).

Fred and Dianne are offering to have monthly music playing gatherings at their house for people interested in learning to play contra music.  Interested persons should have some facility at reading sheet music.  These gatherings can be announced on facebook.
The meeting was adjourned.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Minutes, 03-13-2018

Minutes, 03-13-2018

John Wetzel
Marguerite Frongillo
Virginia Winn
Victor Gascon
Fred Druesikis
Dianne Britton
The treasurers report was presented, including funds banked and retained as cash.  Treasurer reported that our last dance seemed to be close to break even, but the numbers have not yet been formally analyzed to make a determination.  The treasurers report was formally approved.
Mailing lists, emails and such were discussed.  Many of us do not recieve emails sent to the group, and we know this because sometimes the sender does not get these as he or she should.  The issue was discussed, including the tendency of cyber attacks to disrupt email networks and service providers.
There were no reimbursements.  We lost about $30 in January, and February was probably no gain or loss, approximatly. 
The mailing lists are being updated, and there is some turnover.  Victor believes most of our traffic comes via facebook.  We discussed allowing Bonne Terre to play four times per season rather than three (since Cabin Fever is bowing out of playing, except for emergency situations).  We decided to keep it at three slots per season for Bonne Terre.
There was some discussion about growing new local bands, and current efforts to do so will continue.
"Bryan" (?) may be interested in serving on the board.  We need to try and find her email and get it to Victor.
There was some discussion of the CDSS survey of Canadian dance organizers, and the idea of repeating that in the U.S.  There was broad agreement that that survey reflects the situation already apparent throughout our part of the USA, and not much new would be learned from doing the work of running such a survey here.
Bottom line, everyone shares the problems we have here, and we are not doing a poor job of being a dance organization.
We  discussed that students are ephemeral, and do not really help the long term health of the group.  Because of this, we discussed the idea of a simpler $8 for all scheme.  We made an informal decision that it might be best to charge everyone $8 if they will pay it, including folks who might be students, but to allow people in for $5 who ask for the student break (if they are actual students).  In other words, the student break stays in place, but is no longer going to be a prominent selling point, as this affects our budget.
Open board meetings.  We discussed inviting dancers to attend our meetings as non voting members of the dance public, so they can see what it is we do, and hopefully ask to join.  Announcements about this to be made at each dance.
The board discussed the slate of officers and board members at large for the vote to be held at our next meeting.  All existing officers agreed to stand for reelection to the same office for the next season, and we agreed to place all those members at large who are current on the new slate also, except for those folks who have not been attending meetings to the extent that they are not willing or able to serve in that capacity.
The vote concerning this slate will occur at the next meeting.  The next meeting is to be held on May 15, 2018

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.