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Board & Program Committee Update Feb. 2012

Our priorities at this time are to:

  • maintain organizational stability
  • ensure the production of the best workshops/camps possible
  • open registrations earlier than ever

While beginning to look for some office work, members of the board along with some volunteers from the community have been taking care of these vital duties

  • handing/directing emails to the office - Demetri
  • registrations, Memberships and donations are handled by Ann Norton
  • calls to the office are handled by Ann N
  • staff contracts were sent out by Lise L.
  • Minor Waiver/Guardian Consent policy and forms developed by Corinna and Helen S.

All credit card transaction are only handled by Board member Ann Norton. Even after temporary office worker(s) are found, Ann will continue to solely handle this confidential information

Here are some Thought on and from The Programming Committee
Programming Committe goals and challenges:

We thought it would be helpful if we shared with you the goals that the programming committee has, so that you all have better insight into the process, as well as an appreciation for how hard it is to meet all of the goals.

The committee has to balance two sets of goals. The first relate to the skills and abilities of the teachers. The programming committee looks to create a slate of teachers each of whom:

  • Can teach 1 or more instruments (including voice) or dance style, and/or lead an ensemble and/or teach musicianship skills (e.g. modes, genres, theory, improvisation)
  • Can teach to a variety of levels
  • Can teach small and large groups
  • Can lead, play in, or lead dances for one or more dance bands for the evening dance parties
  • Is open and accepting of colleagues from ethnic communities other than their own
  • Is flexible, easy to work with, approachable, accommodating, and respectful of the needs of the organization and our community

There are a few other data points that enter into the overall equation as well:

  • Can they be available for the entire week?
  • How much do we estimate their travel will cost?
  • Do they need a translator at camp?
  • Do they need visas?
  • If they are new teachers, do we have first-hand experience in our community about their teaching style and ability?

The second set of goals relate to the depth, breadth and focus of the workshop overall, The programming committee looks to create a workshop that:

  • Puts a thematic focus on one or more genres, e.g. Greek, Trans-Carpathian, Turkish, Albanian, Roma, Macedonian, Bulgarian. This helps us make sure we're creating enough instruction to support ensembles, and helps us make sure we have great dance party bands.
  • Balances contemporary and traditional instrument instruction. Contemporary instrument support helps musicians who are new to Balkan music find an entry point into the music.
  • Supports our goal of providing access, over time, to a full range of genres and regions in the Balkans, to accommodate the diverse interests of our community

Our teachers cannot commit to teaching years in advance, which means it is very difficult for us to tell our community that we will create, say, a Greek focus in Mendo every three years, or a Turkish focus in IS every 5 years.

We face some difficult decisions every year - here are some examples: We have a cadre of dedicated and excellent teachers who are almost always ready, willing and able to teach, and can commit early in the planning process to teaching. Does the benefit of asking them to teach, which mitigates the possibility of last minute scrambling and the risk that we don't have instruction in some core areas, outweigh the cost of possibly losing out on an opportunity to introduce a wonderful new teacher?

We identify a band that we know will provide incredible nights of dancing. However, we are not sure that all the band members will be equally successful instructors. Does the benefit of the great band and some great teachers sufficiently outweigh the cost of having some weaker instructors?

We have an opportunity to host an incredible teacher or teachers from overseas, at limited cost to us, because they are already planning to be in the US. But we already had a camp last year with the same area of focus. Do we repeat the focus to take advantage of these unique teachers?

We identify a phenomenal musician who wants to teach but can't make the entire week. Does the value of her 5 day presence outweigh the loss of her presence for two days?

We can't support instruction in all instruments every year and still maintain a thematic focus. How do we decide which instruments will not be taught in any one year?

We hope this overview gives you a sense of the work that the Programming Committee does, and the challenges they face. We welcome your feedback and thoughts.

Corinna