19. August 29, 2012

Association Working Group Conference Call
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Participants: Elizabeth Schurgin, Mark Churchill, Albert Oppenheimer, Elisabeth Babcock, Stanford Thompson, Anna Ancheta, Laura Jekel, Kathy Rad, Steven Liu, Dalouge Smith, Leni Boorstin, Walter Collins, Katie Wyatt, and Louise Ghandi.

Call started at 11:35am EST

Stanford welcomed everyone.

Dalogue asked about work on the timeline and when it would be ready. Beth mentioned the implementation committee will talk about it on their next meeting.

Beth Babcock mentioned that four names under consideration:

    1. El Sistema USA;
    2. El Sistema USA: A National Alliance of Music for Social Change;
    3. The National Alliance of Music for Social Change;
    4. The National Alliance of El Sistema Inspired Programs.

These four names have surfaced as the choices. Minutes will be taken of the meeting. Also comments and thoughts will be collected and following the call, the entire working group be polled.

Dalogue feels that they have been explicit that they are not comfortable with the name El Sistema USA. He is reluctant to use the name ESUSA.

Anna respects the people that hold Venezuelans in high regards. She feels that folks know the term El Sistema and that it means something to them. It’s a quick way to inform people of a program. However, she would like El Sistema to still be used – she votes for alliance name #4 (NAESP)

Laura – agrees with Dalogue and Anna. Shouldn’t use name, but use ES in title.

Walter feels we have addressed the Venezuelan concerns expressed throughout this entire process. Is supportive of El Sistema USA.

Katie agrees with the e-mail that Liz Youker wrote. She likes to have El Sistema somewhere in the title. She wants to move forward with the group instead of continuing to debate the title of the association.

Albert – agrees with Katie’s sentiment. El Sistema is central to the association and it should be part of the title. El Sistema USA is a charged brand, so using something like social change is good. In favor of #4.

Leni – agrees to Liz Youker’s e-mail. Likes No. 4 and music for social change.

Kathy agrees with Leni. Doesn’t feel right to go against the Venezuelans.

Stan reads the Liz Youker quote from her August 29th e-mail to the entire working group.

Liz Youker Quote: “While I’m sure I am not voicing any new concern, I want to say that in regard to the name, I would hesitate to forge ahead with anything that would go against the wishes of Abreu or convey a message, however misunderstood, that this is an effort to lay claim to the name as a trademark or brand. And while “El Sistema” is a concept that we all recognize immediately as the philosophical basis of our shared mission, it does not mean as much externally and actually requires more explanation outside of our own circles than something else might. And at the same time, hasn’t Venezuela itself begun to turn away from the term “el Sistema” to be officially called something more discernible as a musical and social organization?”

Elizabeth Schurgin – Agrees and supports prevailing sentiments and concerns using the El Sistema USA name.

Louise – agrees with consensus – Wonders if Abreu would be fine with the new name. Using El Sistema in the name. Hopes that El Sistema USA would be an umbrella in future years.

Beth Babcock – confirmed that the Venezuelans haven’t been against any other name.

Katie – the national alliance has a stronger feel to the name. Feels like it’s the people coming together.

Elizabeth Schurgin – things that using the word “inspired” is more appropriate due to the El Sistema name.

Albert – Also likes the “music for social change” in a tag line.

Dalouge – is the term “national” necessary. He feels it is important to relate to programs outside of our country.

Albert – Thought that the choice of using “national” or not is a non-concern.

Stan – Expressed his interest in retaining the El Sistema USA name and feels this is a missed opportunity to name the new association ESUSA. He feels that if another name is selected, that would mean the death of ESUSA, however, he agrees with the concerns everyone else already expressed.

Dalouge – Feels that it would be helpful if we took a vote. Wants Stan to make a report what the group has voted.

Walter – Thinks we should speak to Abreu directly about this.

Albert – Questions using the name El Sistema USA – he thinks it’s a valuable name and we should use a different name for Doing Business As (DBA).

Dalouge – Wants to know why

Albert – He thinks it’s difficult to let go of that name, but may want the ESUSA name value. Documentary is coming out and the website could be kept as part of ESUSA.

Leni – Thinks Albert’s idea sounds too complicated.

Walter – El Sistema understood by public. Agrees with Albert.

Louise – Likes Albert’s idea as well. Thinks it is “interesting”.

Albert – Clarified that one name needs to be registered and DBA in both.

Mark – May do business as a separate entity and a partnership with the movement (association)

Dalouge – In reply to Albert’s idea, the formal name and dual brand association could seem like a run-around of Venezuela’s wishes.

Mark – Agrees. The original meaning with ESUSA was to provide universal access and a supportive resource to others in the field/

Leni – Likes National Alliance included in the name and understands why there might be need for some (modest level of) membership dues. Thinks it is a very “American” thing. Thinks that the name should not include ESUSA. This Alliance feels different from Venezuelan El Sistema. She feels we have a (related and inspired) movement to nurture and grow in US;  we are just coalescing.

Walter – Names are important, kinetic, branding tools. They mean something. He expressed his belief that we ought not to pick a name that bogs the movement down in bureaucratese, which is why he is wholeheartedly supportive of the name El Sistema USA. It is kinetic. It is inclusive. It is accurately descriptive. It’s his hope that the name we choose describes our movement, rather than an onerous compromise designed to appease and allay concerns based on a misunderstanding of what our true intentions are.

Final Thought: It was agreed that we should poll the entire working group with the four name choices and allow the entire group to comment.

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