Minutes of the National Alliance Working Group
Conference Call 8/14/12
Today’s national conference call of the National Alliance Working Group commenced at 11:30 am (EST) and concluded at 12:44 am (EST).
In Attendance: Joseph Hamm, Patrick Slevin, Kassie Lord, Katie Wyatt, Anna Ancheta, Kathy Rad, Dalouge Smith, Ellen Snell, Diane Cline, Rey Ramirez, Marie Montilla, Stanford Thompson, Liz Schurgin, Mark Churchill, Eddie Israel, and Scott Gelband.
Given that there was no recording secretary on the call, the minutes will include the brief notes that follow and also the comments and revisions on the attached by-laws (By-laws of the National Alliance of El Sistema Inspired Programs 8.14.12). The primary purpose of the call was to review the contents of the proposed by-laws, answer questions, and gather Working Group recommendations for changes.
The initial discussion focused on the four proposed names for the new Alliance. Most of the discussion focused upon whether or not the name El Sistema USA (which had been decided upon by supermajority vote of the Working Group on 2/18/12) should be changed. A full discussion was held about the opinions of participants in the Chicago Drafting Convention and input provided from our colleagues in Venezuela as recently as last week. It appears that our colleagues are concerned that if the name El Sistema USA is used by the Alliance, it might be exclusionary, or unfair to other organizations providing very strong leadership and support to the El Sistema movement in the US such as the LA Phil/Longy/Bard. There were also concerns mentioned by some members of the Working Group as to whether or not the name El Sistema was even known within the US and if so, whether the name would evoke negative reactions.
However, many other members on the call continued to express strong desire to name the organization El Sistema USA or El Sistema USA: A National Alliance of Music for Social Change. They expressed the fact that all active El Sistema inspired programs in the US, including those within the LA Phil (such as YOLA) or other such partners, would all be able to join the Alliance as full voting members and that the symphony orchestras and academic partners could also join as members in the friends category. Therefore, it would not be an exclusionary organization. They also expressed the opinion that many countries including Japan, Canada, etc… are using their El Sistema followed by their country name as the name of their organization, having modeled themselves on El Sistema USA, and that some of these other El Sistema programs were completely exclusive to one organization and its programs. Working Group members expressed a desire to be respectful to our Venezuelan colleagues, but felt strongly that the El Sistema USA name, by being attached to a membership organizations such as is being formed by the Working Group, might even show the way for some other countries in how to construct a more broadly inclusive structure for all programs.
In the end, the Working Group decided to put the question of the name to a final vote of the full Working Group. Therefore, all members of the Working Group will be surveyed on this question in the coming week.
The Group also discussed the two alternate vision statements included in the by-laws and quickly and unanimously decided to approve the shorter version as noted on the attached by-laws.
Other suggestions, edits, and changes suggested by the group will be found on the attached by-laws.
The Working Group concluded by congratulating all members of the Leadership Group on an excellent job developing the By-laws.
Next week’s conference call is scheduled for 8/22/12 at 11:30 am (EST). This call will focus on the Ratification Process and documents outlining that process will be sent to the Working Group the day before the call. (We apologize for that tight turn-around on the Ratification Process, but the call scheduled to review the documents with the Leadership Group could not be scheduled until 8/21/12, the day before the Working Group conference call.)