Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Minutes July 13, 2022

Minutes of Contra Board meeting, 7/13/22
Those present: 


Minutes [edited 7-20-22]

John calls the meeting to order.

John said that the minutes of last meeting were not available, so the minutes were not reviewd and approved.  

ADDENDUM by John:  I thought the minutes were unavailable because they hadn't been posted on the COTMD board blog/website.  In fact, Fred had sent copies to all of us well ahead of time, and all of us that were at this meeting failed to remember this fact.  I have no idea why I forgot it, once reminded of it I remembered having read thru it, because it even included comments about things that were accomplished post meeting via email.  I read all that, understood it, and then failed to remember that this info existed when we had this meeting.  For now, we will have two sets of minutes to approve at the next meeting, this being one of those.

Treasurer’s report:
$6505.66 in bank
$350.00 in cash
$6,855.66 total

A motion was made and seconded and all voted to accept the treasurer’s report.
Victor announced his donation of $175, with which he paid the CDSS for this year’s COTMD affiliation/membership and tax-exempt status.

John called for a discussion of what is being done to advertise our August dance.

Victor will make it a Facebook event by Wednesday 7/14 and will send a newsletter by the end of this week.
Victor will send Karl a write-up to use in advertising.

Karl has a contact at the Lourie Center. They will email our Contra events to their list. Karl will fund the first 6 months of a Columbia Contra meetup group.   It costs $100 every 6 months. The board can decide on effectiveness over that time and either continue that group or not. It was suggested that we ask dancers, as part of a waiver document, how they had heard about the dance.  But we may also get how heard, email, and other info from a sign-in sheet. Suggestion was made to reach out to university radio to advertise the dance. Suggestion was made that many university students may have trouble finding transport to the dance at the lake Murray location whereas the intown location will be much easier.

John called for a discussion of insurance.  Karl presented the insurance information he had researched.  Possible sources were via CDSS, or via an outfit called "Event Helper"

The CDSS insurance would cost less, but pay only up to $5,000 for a  bodily injury claim.
It would have to be approved as adequate by CFMA. The Event helper insurance  would cost only a little more, and provide up to $35,000 for a bodily injury claim.  That insurance is already approved for purpose by  CFMA.  Based on these numbers presented by Karl, we had a discussion to try and decide whether to proceed with officially approving our purchase of either kind of insurance for a year.  We would expect to pay Event Helper $677 per year to insure up to 24 dance events.  If we have one dance in December, and no dances in June, or July, we could have 2 dances a month in the remaining months.  We calculated that, assuming 19 dance events per year, the per dance cost of the insurance would be about $36 , (roughly  three extra dancers needed to offset insurance cost).  Exceeding 24 dances per year would require additional insurance payout.  Less than 19 dances would raise the insurance cost per event.

The discussion gradually drifted to  a consensus that the Event Helper insurance was the way to go.  John mades a motion to authorize buying Event Helper insurance for one year.
The motion was seconded and followed by a unanimous yea vote.

Victor asked that we revisit the question of if, when and how we might need to suspend or terminate the operation of our dance group.    The average cost of a dance including talent, sound, and hall is about $500.  He suggests that the bottom line is $1500, as this is enough to give 3 dances.  If we had to stop, we would have to do a tremendous amount of work to restart. It takes a huge amount of time and effort to apply for grants.  John said that the rules for dissolving COTMD are in the bylaws, but that CDSS rules might  supersede our bylaws. Following a discussion of this, a motion was made and we voted on this, all agreeing that $1500 was the bottom line causing us to cease regular activity and enter emergency operation. We  agreed  that if we ever arrive at the point of our budget getting this low, we would meet and decide
how to proceed,  which could include  having three more dances, having one big dance, or just shutting down and transferring our funds and assets to CDSS or to another  nearby Contra group, or even going into some sort of hibernation mode.  The point of having a "$1500" red line is to trigger a formal required urgent evaluation of how to proceed, not to force any particular outcome.

Karl suggested that more could be done to strengthen our dances and preventing us from reaching out bottom line. He suggests reaching out to U of SC students.  He also suggests reaching out to other groups to which an individual board member might belong. As an example, he mentioned that he is in a vegan group that is interested in a variety of “events.”  They may well be interested in our dance events. Also we could be applying for a grant from the SC Arts Commission. We need to be getting new people to handle things, and we need to seek donations, before we reach the low point.

Victor and Karl initiated a discussion of recorded music dances, some of which could be techno. The techno dances vary in how many minutes each of the dances lasts: for example the first four on a particular record were 5,15, 30, and 5 minutes. It was determined that most recorded dances should be traditional.

Victor kindly offered to call for us, both for recorded music and for live bands.

We are planning to have both a live music dance and a recorded music dance in September, October, and November.
We would like a live band for the 4th Saturday in September, but we do not know whether the dance will be at Pulaski St or at Lake Murray.

Our strategy would be for our regular/traditional monthly live band dances to ask for CMFA for that Saturday, and if not available, to hold those dances at Lexington or another facility.  As for the additional "new in-between dances" we would take the more experimental route of asking CMFA for Saturday first, and then Friday if that was not available.  As we gain experience with CMFA we can consider being flexible about  using the Pulaski venue  by considering either friday or saturday for all dances, but that not being the current plan of action.  For now, we are decided to keep our "regular " dances always on the same Saturday, and be flexible about our "additional/new" dances.

Bob asked, once we have submitted the paperwork to request a date, how long will it be until we know that the room is reserved for us? [I did not hear an answer to this question.]

When dates are secured, John would start to set up sound at Pulaski St., for now using existing amplifier and speakers on the site and relocating these. so that the speakers are in front of the band setup area, and elevated.  This would include an amplifier and 2 speakers, and maybe someday in the future a mixing board and wiring for 8 inputs for 4 people (caller and 3 musicians with 2 channels  each.) The 8 channel mixer would be for all groups using Pulaski St Pink Room, and would be owned by CFMA and has to be procured some how in the future.

Victor, who is the Charlotte contra board’s secretary, informed us that they had 100 dancers at this season’s first dance, but the second dance was a bailout due to Covid. He is also involved with River Falls-Harvest Moon, who are now dancing on the 1st, 3rd. and 5th Saturdays. He mentioned that Charleston has 10 local callers available.  They had their first dance last Friday but their new venue could only hold 28 dancers, so they had to turn dancers away.
Victor also said that the Charlotte group would like us to sponsor their new version of what used to be the gypsy meltdown and is now the Carolina meltdown. Set for the second weekend of March 2023, it will still be at Camp Thunderbird on Lake Wiley. The cost of renting the whole camp is now prohibitive, so they are only renting the dance hall. They need manpower: their new people are not trained and need help for running the event.  They also need money: $500 from COTMD would be welcome.

If we had a big event in Columbia, we would have to use gyms in big churches. To avoid that fate, we would need a long term planning committee to work with Arts folks to find appropriate space ahead of time.

At about 9 pm, John made a motion adjourn the meeting. It was seconded and all voted to adjourn.   ADDENDUM by John:  I forgot to set a date for our next meeting, so that will be handled via email.