Saturday, November 4, 2023

Minutes October 4, 2023

Present: Dianne B., Dianne P-Q., Virginia, John, Marguerite, Fred

Absent: Karl, Kenny, Maris, Gail

The meeting at Virginia's house was called to order at 7:46pm. (Yes, we got started a little later than usual.)  It was believed by those present that there was a quorum.

The minutes for the previous meeting (August 9, 2023) were approved, with the notation that the next meeting, which had been scheduled for September 13, was postponed due to illness.  It is the meeting being held presently.

The Treasurer's Report was approved.  We have had only nominal expenses and our run rate has been consistent with date reported in previous months.  We will be paying CFMA for the hall on a quarterly schedule at which time we will use the communication to reaffirm the intended near-term schedule.

The Booker's Report communicated the following data:

10/14/23  Band: Cloud 10, Caller: Tom Macklin, Sound: Tyler, Table: Fred

11/11/23  Band: Contracola Open Band (debut), Caller: Joel Wilder, Sound: Tyler, Table: TBD

12/9/23 Band: Evil Twins, Caller: Kenny Greer, Sound: Tyler?, Table: Fred

1/13/24 Band: Cloud 10; Caller: TBD, Sound: ?, Table: ?

2/10/24 Band: CCOB?, Caller TBD: Sound: ?, Table: ?

(Note coverage for staffing the table where we collect admission fee and zip codes.  This is here as a reminder that it needs to be addressed by the board sometime before the dance; it is not a new responsibility for the Booker.  Often this can be addressed in the few moments while the hall is being set-up. Fred normally volunteers for this but needs a substitute when he's not available.)

Dance Report: The overall assessment of the CFMA hall is that it is marginal at best and Lake Murray is a much better choice for ambiance; CFMA's obvious value is proximity but that doesn't mean much if dancers aren't showing up.  In that respect if we are going to continue to sponsor dances with low attendance we can just as well do it at Lake Murray as CFMA.  We have also relearned why we don't hold dances in the summer, viz. Columbia's well-earned reputation for being "famously hot."  One of our possible out-of-town bands privately communicated to us that they would not be available for awhile for us for a couple of reasons; the first being that the travel down to us (and back in the dark) on I26 was especially difficult for them because of all the construction; and second, because the dances have been too low energy to make the trip worth the effort.  Hopefully we can get them back after things improve.

Other Topics

CCOB: The band has been practicing and several players are excited about performing.  Some are still content to either sit it out or wait for another time after the November 11 debut.  The CCOB would like the opportunity to play more often if that suits the Board.

Child Safety: We will carry this forward.  Maris and John will prepare something.

Mailing List: Nobody has been taken off lists yet.  There are 2-3 additions every month.  The Givebutter platform had a technical issue that resulted in not all to receive text messages; it is working now.

Advertising: There was discussion about the effort required to publish our events in different media.  It's not simple.  There is a certain amount of work to get it done and it varies by the outlet.  There are services that will help with this, but of course they cost money and we have no idea if they are really worth it or even appropriate for our need.

Meetup Groups: We have heard from folks in both Charlotte and Charleston that Meetup is working for them.  We need to understand how they are using it to their advantage and the effort required to make it work.

Two Dances per Month: There was considerable discussion about the wisdom and ability of continuing to produce two dances per month given the level of attendance we've experienced since our restart last August (2022).  The consensus in the room was that we need to cut back to one dance per month.  This is an opportune time because of events.   The following was motion was proposed:

Proposed motion to be voted at later time: We will soon be voting on (via email) about whether to end  our experiment of running two dances per month year round.  We may be going to go to one dance per month, on the Second Saturday, with the primary venue being CFMA with Lake Murray being backup.  We thus may also not produce dances during the summer months, viz. July and August.  Note: John Wetzel edited these minutes by modifying the italicized portions of this paragraph and the following sentence.

(For parliamentary nerds: a motion was made, it was seconded, it was discussed, but further discussion and action has been tabled pending discussion and an eventual vote via email.)

John will send an email summarizing his analysis.  That e-mail shall be incorporated by reference into these minutes, as will the responses by others to it.

Next meeting: Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Adjourn: 9:18pm

s/Fred Druseikis/

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Minutes August 9 2023

 COTMD Board Minutes August 9, 2023

Present: John, Fred, Virginia, Dianne B, Dianne P-Q, Maris, Gail, Karl (via Zoom)

Absent: Kenny, Marguerite

The meeting was held at Virginia's house.  John called the meeting to order at 7:31pm.

Minutes from the Previous Meeting.

    A motion was made, seconded, and passed to accept the minutes of the previous meeting.

Treasurer's Report.

    CFMA has been provided a YTD list of zip codes recorded from dancers since last August.  They were happy to get this.

    The YTD dance season spreadsheet has been posted to the board blog.

    CDSS annual report has been submitted.

    A motion was made, seconded, and passed to accept the Treasure's report.

Booker's Report.

    Marguerite provided a written report via email because of her planned absence.

    The Booker is very concerned about the lack of commitments to dates for the CFMA venue and alternative.  This indecision is creating problems.

    There was some energetic discussion.  Different opinions were expressed.  Some strong opinions were voiced.

    John resolved to clarify the role of the Booker.  A different role (the "Joseph Whisperer") would be identified to help facilitate the approval of dates from CFMA and to secure the alternative venue from Susan Fort if needed.  The Booker would be only responsible for lining up the talent (bands and callers) for the expected dates.

    ACTION ITEMS: John will produce a written description of roles.  John and Dianne B would discuss scheduling issues with Joseph.

Dance Report.

    The July dances were very uncomfortable because of inadequate cooling in the hall.  Our space in the building in particular is inadequately cooled.  Several (many) dancers left early because of it.  The July heat this year has been particularly oppressive.  It was noted that for many years earlier this century we didn't dance during the summer.  We forgot why; and now we've experienced an Ah ha! moment.

    Free passes have been coming in; not in great numbers but some.

    Attendance is still low, as recorded in the Treasurer's report.

    The AC (cooling) appears to be under some kind of automated schedule; it would be good to see if that can be altered to accommodate the times of our events.

    It was noted that the cooling might improve if we can keep the door to the room closed.

ContraCola Open Band.

    There was a report on the goals and progress.

    This group would like to play in the Fall.  Two dates are available: 10/28 and 11/11.

    It was suggested that the group might be able to play a few times a year, something like once a quarter beyond the initial debut.

Mailing List Status.

    We will be inviting/reminding people on our newsletter e-mails to update their contact info.  We now have over 100 names with phone numbers.

Child Safety Policy.

    Maris researched the topic of child safety at dances and gave a report on how other groups handle this.  There is a lot of good material to draw from.  ACTION ITEM: Maris and John will formulate something.

Next Meeting.

    September 13.


9:31pm.  Yes we went much longer than usual.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Minutes July 12, 2023

COTMD Board Minutes July 12, 2023

The Board gathered at Virginia Winn's house at 7pm to enjoy some dessert and coffee.
John called the meeting to order at approximately 7:30pm.

Regular board members attending: 

Gail, Maris, Marguerite, Virginia, Fred, Dianne, John, Karl (via Zoom) 

Motion to accept the minutes of the last meeting (June 14) was made, seconded, and approved.

Treasurer's Report
    Turnout numbers are lower than expected for no specific reasons.  Hall credit is 20% of gate receipts, not $2 per dancer.

    The spreadsheet was published on the Contracola board (private) blog.
    A motion to accept the Treasurer's report was made, seconded, and approved.

Booker's Report:
    Coverage at the dances will be tight as folks go out of town.
        Marguerite will be out of town July 22 and Aug 12.
        Karl may be out of town July 22.
        Fred & Dianne will be out of town Aug 26.
        Gail and Karl will coordinate key exchange for the dance on July 22.

    The current schedule looks like this:
    July 22     band: "Chris & Bobby"  caller:Tom Machlin
    Aug 12      band: "Blueridge Rounders" caller:Chris Hernandez
    Aug 26      band: "Square Root"    caller: TBD
    Sept 9      band: "Tea & Whiskey"  caller: Kenny Greer
    Sept 23     band: "Sherlock's Meow"  caller: TBD

    The Booker wishes to note that hall dates for October and beyond have not been committed. This makes it very difficult to schedule bands and callers.  We must implore Joseph to approve these dates ASAP.
    David Knight and accompanist are asking $310.
    The Booker's report was accepted.

Report for Recent Dances:
    Two short breaks at approx 50 minutes after start are working OK.
    Bands should be prepared to play three waltzes instead of normal two.
    Callers are being helpful in implementing this.

Free Passes: Worth it?

    Yes; not a lot of response but some.
    Consensus: We should continue it.

Contracola Open Band (CCOB):
    Rehearsals have started held. Turnout has been good.    Interest is there.  Some participants are interested in playing.

IRS Filing:
    Dianne will do this.  John will assist as necessary.
    This is entirely gated by the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

   There are two pieces: the CDSS report (detailed), and the Federal Form.
    Current issue: records for capital expenditures from previous years are being hard to locate.
New Board Member:  A motion to appoint Dianne Palmer-Quay to the board was made, seconded and approved.  Dianne will add her to the board email lists, etc.

Mailing Lists:   There are three: the master mailing list, the musicians list for the CCOB; and the "hold harmless" list created when we had people sign waivers.  We are missing phone numbers for a good number of emails on the master list. These were not collected originally because we had no use for them.  Now we have the capability to send text messages, so there is a need.
Dianne will be initiating a campaign to have people update their contact info.

    Marguerite noted that there is some interest in the Scottish dance community to participate in contra dances.

Child Safety Policy:

    We need to have some child safety policy writings.  Other groups probably have material that we can adapt and use.  Maris volunteered to look for some.

Next Meeting:      August 9, 2023

Adjourned:      9:04pm     /s/Fred Druseikis

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Minutes June 14, 2023

COTMD Board Minutes June 14, 2023

The Board gathered at Virginia Winn's house at 7pm to enjoy some dessert and coffee.  The meeting was called to order at approximately 7:30pm.

Regular board members attending: Gail, Marguerite, Virgina, Fred, Dianne, John, Karl (via Zoom)

Absent: Kenny, Maris

Guest: Dianne Palmer-Quay

The minutes of the previous meeting (May 10, 2023) were approved by voice vote.

Dianne Britton presented the Treasurer's Report.  Details are in the spreadsheet available to board members only.  The treasures' report was approved.

Booker's Report

    June 24, Marshal & Lucy w Chris Hernandez calling
    July 22, Chris & Bobby w ? calling

    CFMA Hall Commitments
        Aug 12
        Aug 26
        Sep  9
        Sep 23

    Kenny Greer will call Sept 9.
    Other bookings not committed at this time.

General Discussion

    There was some discussion about gender roles during dances. There was a concern expressed about the practice of dancers changing roles in the middle of dance, and that some might find it confusing etc.  We decided to avoid a general discussion of gender issues as this was going to sort itself out by the mutual behaviors of dancers in the moment and not some dictum or policy originating from the Contracola board (LOL).  As for how callers should practice their craft (i.e., gents & ladies, larks & robins, etc, etc.) we feel it be best left to the caller.

    The Darlington Post Office has been renovated and its management is interested in starting a local contra dance series. They contacted us via the Contracola web site and John followed up with them.  They may visit us some to see how it works and get further guidance.

    The liability insurance is coming up for renewal per requirements of CFMA.  Thank you John for addressing the onerous task of answering the of the multitude of questions the insuror asks.  Dianne reported she has renewed the hall insurance.  John noted that we need to keep a copy of the policy in an accessible place.  We are using Google drive to store the documents for this year as well as last year.  Google drive provides board members with exclusive access.

    Frustratingly, we have discovered that Charlotte is now dancing on 2nd Saturdays in conflict with us. It's not exactly clear that there may also be some irregularity in the schedule.  Some consternation was expressed.  Externally it seems like an insensitive move, yet we are ourselves aware that there are externals that often force decisions certain ways.  We're not going change as we have enough trouble already getting dates cleared with CFMA in a timely manner.

    With regard to dance operations, we've been experimenting with how breaks work (i.e., longer intentional pauses between dances) during the dance.  We agreed to try two shorter breaks.  If breaks are too short it's hard to get time to socialize.  We are working toward two breaks, with a waltz during each for those who wish; limited to 5 minutes, unless the band has issues and needs some more time.  Trying this out on the fly.  It was noted that there ought to be some kind of "agenda" displayed at the table in order to set expectations as folks arrive.

    Cleaning up the contact list is an ongoing process and a task.  We are going to continue to use Mailchimp for emails, rather than convert entirely to GiveButter (which we use to support donations, and to provide technical support for text messages to mobile phones.)

Marketing Efforts

    Anticipating students return in early August, Karl would like some volunteers to help distribute literature on campus.

    Gail will be at Soda City next Saturday to pass out a few free dance cards.

    Dianne is continuing to post our events to various outlets.

    Maris is actively talking up the Contracola dance.

Children policy.

    It was noted that there were some rambunctious children at a recent dance.  The lack of adult supervision posed a risk to safety of both the children and the dancers.  We need to articulate an expected behavior policy for children.

    Admission is free for children.  Teens and adults pay.


    AI - John - Federal Tax Filing (waiting on June 30 to pass to trigger next fiscal year.)

    As write the first draft a cryptic note appears in my notes, literally:

    AI - Fred - "agenda"

    That's all she wrote. I’m not recalling what this means. Anyone care to refresh my memory as to what seemed so obvious to me at that moment I could never forget it?  I didn't think so.  It may come to me.  Before posting, it came to me; see comment on dance operations above.

Next Meeting

    The next meeting will be July 12.  July 26 was an agreed upon alternate, depending on John checking his calendar.  John reported to me that July 12 is good, so July 12 it is.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:28pm.

/Fred Druseikis/

Monday, June 5, 2023

Minutes May 10, 2023

 COTMD Board Meeting May 10, 2023

We met at Virginia Winn's house around 7pm to enjoy some dessert and conversation.

The meeting was called to order at 7:31pm.

In Attendance: Maris, Gail, Marguerite, Virginia, John, Dianne, Fred, Karl (via Zoom)

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

Treasurer's report.

Dianne presented.  Details appear in a spreadsheet dated 5/6/2023, which is posted on on the COTMD Board google group discussion board (as are all COTMD Board conversations).  Net of operations, to date there is a $160 loss.  Expect to see a loss of additional for the upcoming 5/13 dance.

In earlier discussions there was some confusion about an $80 discrepency having to do with the first dance of the season back in August 2022. This was resolved: the amount having been paid to Susan Fort for the use of the Lake Murray Contra Hall.

The actual written records for dances in early 2020 just before covid (recall that there were two dances, in January and February) have been either misplaced or lost.  Dianne asked Marguerite to see if she can reconstruct the data from her notes on what the Bands, Callers, and Sound Techs were promised to be paid for these two events.  (Update: Marguerite was able to provide the information.)

As a side note: CFMA appears to like us. They have accepted our credentials documenting our not-for-profit status thru CDSS.

A motion to accept the Treasure's Report was made, seconded, and approved by voice vote.

Booking Report.

Marguerite presented.  David White and Becky Stoval will be the band for 5/13/23 dance at Lake Murray with Kenny Greer calling.  Stephanie Marie will be calling on 5/27/23 at CFMA with Sherlock's Meow playing. Tyler will be doing sound for both.  (Updated: Tyler ended up with a conflict for 5/27, so John set up sound and instructed Fred and Dianne about the main points for operating it, and Fred learned what needed to be done to pack it up and put stuff away after the dance.)

At the time of this meeting there were no additional dates confirmed by Joseph at CFMA.  June 10 and June 24 are of immediate concern.  Karl will express our concerns about the need for timely scheduling with Joseph.  (Update: the June dates, as well as some others, have been confirmed.)

Report on Recent Dances.

Concern was raised regarding the "pace" and activity level of the evening and when there should be break(s).  For as long as we can remember we have been staring at 7pm with teaching until 7:30, with the first half of the dance running until 9pm.  Then there would be a break until approximately 9:15, with the second half running until 10:30.  That means the first break is two hours after arrival.  Pretty demanding for new dancers.  This is a kind of frantic, dance fanatic, schedule.

What we tend to be seeing is that new dancers take the late break as an opportunity to exit, for whatever reason.  Experienced dancers tend to stick around.

It was generally observed and felt that maybe we should have a second break given that the level of activity for some people may be too long without a break. It was suggested that we try something like a short (10 minute) break at 8:30 with the dance to resume at about 8:45 until 9:40 +/- with another short break, and then the conclusion for as many as will.

ACTION ITEM: "Agenda for the Evening" Poster -- "Somebody needs to make a poster."

This would allow us to simplify staffing the admissions table.  The thought is that all dealings with money can be done with by 9pm, including paying the staff.

Also related to admission in general is the issue of various promotional cards ("Get in Free", Two for One,) with mandatory paid admission vs "Free for all" (i.e. no admission) supported by freewill donation.  Discussion of this was tabled for a future meeting.  In the interval, Board members should be mulling this.


We try to keep various advertising outlets updated with event announcements for inclusion in their publication, but it is unclear how effective they are for us.  We need to see if it makes any difference given all the changes in how marketing is done in the modern world of the internet.  Is this something we do because we have always done it? or because it works?  It is a lot of work.

Another question is if we have any paper flyers being distributed at other dances in Charleston or Charlotte.  It's one thing to say you should use QR codes, but QR codes don't post on the frig very well.  We need to explore how to get mutual cooperation between different dance communities to raise awareness of ("promote") other groups.  We need volunteers to get paper flyers to events in other nearby places.  Maybe callers can help with this, just a thought.  Possibly using the communications channel with the caller and our booker to facilitate promotions.  (Here's a not-very-good idea: somehow use fed-ex office to get flyers printed locally to the caller so they can then take them to the local dance in their area.  Obviously this means that the half-life of a flyer has to be more than a couple of flyers, like maybe an entire year.)

Gail will take some flyers to Charleston.

Board Membership.

The board officially adopted the slate of officers posted in the minutes of the last meeting.  A motion was made, seconded, and approved by voice vote. (President: John, VP/Booker: Marguerite, Treasurer: Dianne, Secretary: Fred)  At large members: Gail, Maris, Karl, Virginia, Kenny.

Bob has resigned and is getting married in Virginia soon!

General Stuff.

A Facebook group has been created -- now we have both a Facebook group and a Facebook page.  It remains to be seen if one if more useful or appropriate than the other.  Most contradance groups are represented by a Facebook group rather than a page, it seems.  Expect to see invites, etc.

Texting is a thing that won't go away.  We need to be able to use it too.  Dianne has a plan to get texting integrated into our mailing lists and GiveButter/Venmo support.  Expect to see some progress along this axis.

Contact List Cleanup.  In the past not enough information has been collected to satisfy the data requirements for GiveButter (mobile number for texting; email for receipts; full name for recording donations for IRS receipts.)  We are going to encourage people to update their contacts and then we'll delete all the ones that don't respond to a personal reminder.

With regard to the UofSC, Karl is looking for some help with distribution flyers and cards on campus.  The Russell House initiative has not progressed due to the end of the semester.  Looking try it again in August.  Russell House suggested that we approach individual departments and campus housing about posting in their space.  (For the record, there are upwards of 100 academic units at the UofSC.)  However, the fact that there is a significant amount of off-campus housing does suggest an opportunity that is vastly different from the original situation back in the day when all housing was on-campus.

Dianne will be handling the IRS filing, with support from John.  It is due in September.  But the IRS filing can't be done for 2022-2023 year until after June 30.  IT MUST BE DONE, OR ELSE!!!!

John asked me to make a note about the continuing urgency of not forgetting our next IRS filing.  This note in the minutes will serve as a reminder to keep this item on the meeting agenda at each meeting until we get this done. DNS needs to be renewed.  (Update: done.)


Gail -- Churches: some don't like dancing LOL -- WIP (Work in Process)

Karl -- Posters in Libraries -- CLOSED

John -- Richland Library -- They don't post any except their own flyers, or sponsor the event. -- CLOSED

Maris -- Bill's Pickin' Parlour -- Under new management.

NEXT MEETING.  June 14, 2023

Adjourn: 9:14pm

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Minutes April 5, 2023

 COTMD Board Minutes April 5, 2023

The Board gathered at Virginia Winn's house at 7pm to enjoy some dessert and coffee.  The meeting was called to order at 7:27pm.

Regular board members attending: Marguerite, Virginia, Fred, Dianne, John, Karl (via Zoom)

Guests: Maris, Gail

The minutes of the previous meeting (March 1, 2023) were approved by voice vote.

Dianne presented the Treasurer's Report.  The following specific items were noted:

(1) The treasurer is waiting for some additional records from Victor to address a $80 discrepancy.  It is believed that this amount was paid to Susan Fort for the use of the Lexington Contra Hall for the August 2022 dance; the treasurer is looking for a bit of documentation for that.

(2) A spreadsheet of the current operating expenses (since restart in August 2022) was discussed.  The spreadsheet PDF is posted in the COTMD board blog. The line item "Hall Credit to CMFA" was noted. John stated that the actual amount should be $884.12 instead of the number $750 recorded in the spreadsheet; as that was the number communicated to Joseph at CMFA.

(3) At the 2nd dance in March, there was a discrepancy of $110 discovered in the actual cash on hand in the kitty.  There may have been some uncertainty about the amount in the kitty at the opening of the admission table.  (Since Dianne and Fred were playing in the band that evening, and Marguerite was at home ill, Karl stepped in to help.  Consequently there may have been some uncertainty about what processes should be followed.)  A discussion ensued over possible oversights, the responsibilities of board members in accounting, and note made of updates to written procedures for instructing those who staff the admission table.  Dianne and Karl agreed to cover the missing funds and to treat the episode as a learning experience.

(4) CDSS membership fees have been paid.

(5) IRS filings need to be made this year as they have not been for at least during the time of Covid.

(6) ACTION ITEM: Get copies of COTMD 501(c)(3) legal status (i.e., Letter from CDSS) to CMFA.

The Treasurer's Report was approved by voice vote.

Report on the last two dances: Low attendance was noted and there was some discussion as to possible conflicts.  The first March dance was during UofSC spring break; it also conflicted with the Carolina Meltdown that same weekend.  The second March dance also had low turnout.  There was speculation that another concurrent event was ongoing then.

A discussion ensued regarding how to get more publicity out.  Some other locations for distributing flyers were mentioned: Skyline Club, Bill's Pickin' Parlor, State Government bulletin boards, The Star newspaper.

ACTION ITEM: Karl and John would work together with Virginia to update the flyer to include the notation "501(c)(3)" somewhere in it.

Karl briefly discussed the UofSC table at Russell House.  The expense of that is likely to be much less that originally thought.  There seems to be some uncertainty about the dates available for when the table can be put up.  It was noted that the time remaining in the semester is short as classes end in late April.  Having the table in August when school starts up again seems like an important goal.

An idea for promotion using "business cards" that would also allow the bearer to have a free admission to a future dance was discussed.  Many thought it sounded like a reasonable and low-cost way to help get attendance up.

The content of the business card would be something along the lines of:
"Admit ONE -- CHECK IT OUT -- QR Code for more info -- Contral Cola 501(c)(3)"

ACTION ITEM: Virginia and John would work through creating an initial batch based on the ideas discussed.

The following were also noted as ACTION ITEMS:
Gail -- check with singles groups at some local churches to gauge interest;
Karl -- put flyers up in the Lexington (Town) library;
John -- put flyers up in the Richland library;
Maris -- put flyers up in Bill's Pickin Parlor;

Marguerite presented the Booker's Report.  Three piece out of town bands are more expensive that our current payment guidelines allow.  Some configuration (subset) of ContraForce is often willing to come up to play possibly on shorter notice however current rules limit the amount we can pay; the difference is quite small.

The following motion was made, seconded, and approved by voice vote:

"The president is authorized to approve exceptions to the current payment rules for bands and callers requested by the Booker."

The renewal of Board membership is required in May.  The current officers agree to continue in their roles.

President: John Wetzel
Vice President & Booker: Marguerite Frongillo
Treasurer: Dianne Britton
Secretary: Fred Druseikis

Virginia Winn and Karl Smith agreed to continue as at-large board members.

Gail Sullivan and Maris Burton have agreed to become at-large board members.

At this point it is not known if either Kenny Greer or Barbara (Bob) Fellenstein wish to continue being on the board.

Update: Per e-mail, Kenny has agreed to continue.

ACTION ITEM: We need to verify that Kenny and Bob wish to continue.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

Adjourn: 9:37pm

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Minutes, March 1, 2023

 COTMD Board Meeting March 1, 2023

We met at Virginia Winn's house around 7pm to enjoy some dessert and conversation.

The meeting was called to order at 7:37pm.

In Attendance: Margurite, Virginia, John, Dianne, Fred, Karl (via Zoom)

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

The results of the two dances held in February were discussed.  Attendance was about 40; a notable number were present at 7pm for instruction - so callers should be prepared to teach as soon as there are enough bodies.  Joseph and one of the CMFA board members popped in during one of the dances to see what was going on.

Dianne gave the treasurer's report.  The dollar figures for funds in the bank and in the kitty (working funds) were reported.  A Venmo account for COTMD payments has been created and can accessed via QR code.  There is also a QR code for email lists.  Dancers who wish to pay online can do so using the Venmo app.  We ask that they add fifty cents to cover the transaction cost.  Accounting for gate receipts is made slightly more complicated because of this.  The report was approved.

John is preparing a letter to Joseph at CMFA detailing the serial numbers of the equipment being transferred to them.  Joseph does not want to make a big deal of this nor go into great detail about the discussions for paying for the use of the hall. In short CMFA gives special consideration to 501(c)(3) organizations use of the facility without expecting payment.  (This may have something to do with how CMFA does its budgeting and making a big deal about it just complicates things.)  In this respect they are different for us rather than individual artists renting the space.

The COTMD board approved the concept of 20% of gross receipts (paid admissions) as a reasonable benchmark figure to give to CMFA for hall use.  (Editorial: the point of this is to recognize that by not accounting for an actual cost we are not being truthful to ourselves about what it costs to produce a dance series, and therefore whether or not we are solvent in the longer run.  Nothing is forever and we may be required to find an alternative space for whatever reason.)

The Booker reported increasing difficulty with lining up bands and callers. Wisdom dictates the use of "duos" for out of town bands.  As of this meeting there was no band for March 25.  At the meeting Sherlock's Meow agreed to play for the dance.  The board OK'd the booker to discuss price flexibility for out of town bands as some subset of Contraforce may be willing to play for us.

There was considerable discussion about the issues of what dates there were to be scheduled.  At the time of the meeting there was no venue committed for May 13 or May 27.  The realities of scheduling dances and getting low attendance because of other competing factors was considered (yet again.)  We are pursing a very aggressive scheduling plan with two dances a month.  Keeping up that pace puts a strain on everyone when there is not enough hands to help out.

The uncertainty about scheduling dates creates considerable stress for all involved in the booking process, as dates too near the present vastly reduce the number of possible callers or bands available to book on short notice.  This is a major issue.

Booking Action Items:
    John will give Karl the list of OK dates for the dance series.
    Karl will give consideration for how to adjust the list to maintain momentum as we work to rebuild the dance community.
    Karl will communicate back to the board and with Joseph on the dates.

A motion was made and seconded: that Karl is authorized to spend up to $350 for expenses related to ContraCola event promotions at UofSC Russell House.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at Virginia's.

The meeting adjourned at 9:07pm.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Minutes, January 18, 2023

 Minutes, January 18, 2023

The meeting was held remotely, using Zoom software provided by Karl.  Attendees were Marguerite, John, Dianne, Fred and Karl.  The meeting itself commenced around 7:20 when it was apparent no one else would be joining.

The first item was the treasurer's report, provided by Dianne.  This took some time as there was a lot to review.  There was extensive discussion of how to account for funds we "would have spent" if we were paying CMFA 20% of our door.  It was agreed that this needed to be accounted for in such a way so as to account for what we actually spent AND for what we would have spent.  We also agreed that Dianne could deal with this issue as she sees fit.

There was also one item that came up that requires further information.  There is a notation in one of the charts that Dianne showed us, which seems to imply that we gave CMFA $80 dollars for our very first dance at the pink room.  It is not clear right now whether that was put down as an expected expenditure, or whether those dollars were actually paid out, and if so, by who, and to whom.  Dianne is going to check with Victor on this.  It may also be possible to determine whether that $80 dollars disappeared out of the cash kitty, out of the bank account or didn't go away at all, by looking at all the funds we had before that dance and comparing it to all the dollars we had after that dance. 

Next, John reported on the status of the installation of equipment in the pink room (equipment slated to be transferred to CMFA ownership to compensate them for allowing us free use of the room until we have recovered those expenditures).  The status is that all equipment we purchased for this transfer has been installed, and all that remains to be done is to test the bluetooth part of the system, and then brief CMFA staff on how to use the gear.  The formal transfer will take place after those things have been done.

Next, Marguerite provided the status of her booking efforts.  We are making good progress, but some slots (bands and or callers) for upcoming dances remain to be filled.  This discussion also covered the next agenda item, which is the status of which dates at CMFA we have been able to reserve for our use.

Next, the status of our social media outreach was discussed.  Dianne and Karl are handling this, and based on recent increases in attendance at dances, these efforts are effective and are bearing fruit.  One important issue we discussed was how to keep control of our branding and continue to use variants of  the text string "contracola" and keep that within our ownership in the online universe.

Next, John reported that he had collected all information that he thinks he needs to correctly identify which persons and entities are covered by our insurance.  John will write up what he thinks are correct identifiers, and negotiate with our insurance agent to correct our insurance documents in a manner acceptable to us and the insurer.

Next we discussed our future plans, basically how far ahead to try and plan dances.  Marguerite pointed out that planning as far ahead as possible makes her job easier (more lead time).  On the other hand, our future plans ought to be somewhat guided by finding out what works and what doesn't.  For now, we seem to be happy with looking ahead about three months, except that, as Karl pointed out, there are some special cases where we have to decide what our plans are way ahead of time, such as during the November and December holidays.

The attendance at our last two dances was the next agenda item, but this had already been covered earlier during the discussion regarding our social media outreach.   

We finished by setting our next board meeting as Wednesday March 1.