07. February 1, 2012 @ Take A Stand Symposium

Forming an Association Meeting at the
LA Take A Stand Symposium

February 1, 2012
Stanford Thompson and Beth Babcock

Stan started by saying that it looks as though we are going to be putting together association. The basic idea is that we are much more powerful together and can share resources, and support everyone. 

We want to stay inclusive yet remain true to what we are doing. Some of us are doing local work, some national, and we want to serve as many as possible.

Stan suggests discussing a place and time to meet for two days to write the guiding document and Bylaws, and get everything done so that we can formalize the association. Perhaps the Spring is a good time. In the meantime, we can send out surveys and collect opinions that can be summarized so that we don’t lose momentum. 

We need to choose a city for hosting this conversation. Stan offers Philly. The host will have to provide meeting space and breakout space, and places to stay if possible. There may be money for travel stipends. Others offered Chicago, Denver, Oklahoma City, Allentown. Major airline hub cities are easier to get to. Timing – mid May might be good. Rey suggests the end of June, so that people can finish their programs. 

Stan will send out a survey with possible locations and dates. 

In the meantime, we will continue doing surveys and maybe draft some documents. We’ll keep having conference calls and posting minutes on this website. Actually, another communication form for the network is in the works as well (League of American Orchestras 360).

Our goal is to keep the process driven by the will of the group, not a few people. 

This process has been moving so quickly that waiting until June might be too long. Perhaps we should meet in March. Maybe with three or four more conference calls, etc., we will be ready. 

We need to not just focus on the technical aspects of forming an association, but also on the vision of the movement – what are we about, what matters to us, how will we look a few years down the road. We have actually done some work on the purpose, so we can continue that as well.

In the first set of conversations, the group very clearly prioritized internal capacity building followed by external capacity building. The Venezuelans talked about their growth in this way, too.

Association might not be the term for our organization – language can be altered to better reflect our passion. 

Eric Booth said that we’re identifying two different bodies of work – 1. the conversation about the association, and 2. The conversation about collegial exchange. Louise suggested that we keep both going in the same meetings, just clearly identifying which strand we’re talking about.

We will be looking for some dates in April.

The purpose, as defined so far by conversations among the group, will be to serve children with access barriers (economic and other) to traditional programs, through intensive ensemble based music study by groups that are based on El Sistema values.

Forming the association is an organic process and the previous formative work will be included as we move forward. It can be changed as we go.

If we have a meeting in April that sets up the Bylaws and the Board, budget, etc., we can make an incubator group with a director, accepting donations under a 501c3 umbrella, so that we keep moving. As the budget grows, the association can incorporate and become independent. 

Louise will draft the beginning Bylaws, with various versions based on our conversations, so that we can finalize them more quickly when we meet. 

Margraret said that the mission is very sticky – we stick to it. (How To Make Things Stick, by Chip Heath)

There was a concern that too few people are involved in the conversation. It would be great if the majority of the group was at the meeting in April. Certainly all 55 groups will be asked to be involved in the conversation. 

Clarification – the ratifying group will be everyone defined as members, not the working group, which just does organizing work to get the group to a point where it can formalize itself by a vote of all.

Membership categories will be developed – nucleos that fit the criteria, teaching artists, students, aspiring groups, academic, etc. 

There will definitely be a communication system to share everything as it develops. 

There have been questions about duplicating the work of El Sistma USA. The name “El Sistema USA” can be moved over if we want, as per Mark Churchill. Mahalo nui loa, Mark.

The vision is pretty clear. We’re all Little Dudes (Dudamels) running around. We want to brand the movement and ourselves so that we spill over into many areas and spread the word. 

We’ll continue to reach out to the 55 groups and ask them to remain involved in the conversation in an ongoing basis.

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