08. February 22, 2012

Association Working Group Conference Call
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The website for viewing these minutes and all other documents is https://musicassociation.wordpress.com/

Stanford asked that people comment on the minutes on the website if they have any changes or additions to the minutes.

The goal for this call and the next five calls and the surveys of the field will be to ready us for the drafting convention at the end of April in Chicago.

Beth reviewed the results of the latest survey, with 40 respondents from different organizations.

The drafting convention will be held in Chicago. The date may be April 27 – 29, although the two top options for date will be resurveyed. (Bob Fiedler will host, providing meeting space, hotel options. Public transportation should be adequate for meetings. He’s working with partners to see if there might be a way to reduce rates and get some travel stipends.) The hope is to get 25-30 people to come together for the process of drafting Bylaws and documents and planning next steps.

(People who want to help organize should email Bob at this email address – bob@peoplesmusicschool.org)

Defining core membership  

  1. Minimum hours of instruction – the most common answer given was at least 10 hours weekly, with a low minimum of 5 hours – the weighted average of the supermajority was 8.4 hours. Beth will do another survey to narrow the preferences.
  2. Peer instruction included as a criterion for core membership – the group didn’t make this a high priority as part of core membership. The group had various opinions on this subject.
  3. Other possible criteria for core membership – suggestions included striving toward musical excellence; recommended administrative and fiscal standards (such as audits, financial ratios, and 990 submission); community engagement and frequent performances; evaluation standards; commitment to collaborate with other network programs; parental engagement; being a non-profit with an independent board; strong parental engagement; community-based location; commitment to work with children a minimum of 3 years; and support for academic success/tutoring.

Beth suggests that we take the list of other criteria and see if the group is interested in adding any of these criteria to core membership. Several callers weighed in on this topic – some suggested commitment to offering programs throughout the life of the child; requiring students to be enrolled in school (or not).

Comment from Beth – Strategically it’s pretty impossible to define the purpose of the group before you know what the group is. We are working at this point on getting closer to who we are as a group while learning to understand as our potential power and resources. This will naturally be a bit of a back and forth process.

Beth encouraged Nan, Walter and others to share any documents they might have about standards of excellence in organizations like the one we’re forming.

Action Item – posting of number of hours in a different way and of additional criteria in the next survey

Name – El Sistema USA was the most popular choice by a large margin, followed by Sistema USA, National Association of Social Action Through Music, and National Association of El Sistema Programs.

There was, however, a concern about political fallout from being associated with the Venezuelan dictatorship. El Sistema is becoming more known nationally, and some feel that we need to educate people about not being “connected to Hugo Chavez”.

Katie asked about the future of our group and whether it might change to include non-Sistema groups. Beth said that we are already considering auxiliary membership categories. Also, the Bylaws should be written in a way that allows revisions as we want to change.

Mark Churchill commented that the name El Sistema USA has already been trademarked, which makes it easy to adopt.

Beth suggests we keep El Sistema USA as the working name, with a final decision to be made during drafting and ratification.

Possible Categories of Auxiliary Membership

Other similar youth music programs that do not quite fit core membership; Programs similar to core that are in development; Individual supporters; Student members; University training programs; Foundations and other sponsorship organizations; Community Partners.

Not included were Youth orchestras; Adult and/or other orchestras as auxiliary members.

Action Item – Beth will ask more specific questions about the above orchestras on the next survey. Mark suggested adding other types of performing groups.

Action Item – We need a subcommittee to draft a one to two sentence mission statement. The Fellows will offer several potential mission statements to the group in addition. Volunteers? – Walter from California, Margaret Martin, Nan Westervelt. An email will be sent to see if there are any others interested.

Roll call – Beth Babcock, Stanford Thompson, Nan Westervelt, Katie Wyatt, Walter from California, Louise Lanzilotti, Louise Gandhi, Louis Portillo, Mark Churchill, Margaret Martin, Bob Fiedler, Rey Ramirez, Marie Montilla, Nan Westervelt, Steve Wilson, Troy Peters

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