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3 November 2015

A November Look Under the YTV Hood by Mark Sustic

In addition to managing finances, board meetings, the web site, and other infrastructure activities, here’s a look at some of what’s currently percolating with YTV programs……

The Instrument Petting Zoo has installations scheduled in December at the Vermont International Festival and First Night! Burlington. Someone has recently offered to donate another collection of instruments, which we are in the process of evaluating (we only take instruments in playable condition). The Integrated Arts Academy is working with us on remodeling and expanding shelving for the petting zoo in music teacher Bill Myregaard’s room, where they continue to be stored while students and teachers at the school have access to them.

Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus will be doing a concert at the Burlington Violin Shop on December 8th, a co-presentation with the Shop and our first in many years with the Northeast Heritage Music Camp. Board member Alison James has hooked us up with an online ticketing service we plan to start using with this event.  Pamela Hathaway and Kathy Reilly will be helping us with Touring Group concerts with some special friends prior to traveling to Ireland at the Lake Champlain Waldorf High School (12/28), Higher Ground (2/20, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center (3/12) and All Souls Interfaith Gathering (4/2).

Fiddleheads began a 3-month residency with Pascal Gemme from Quebec on Halloween morning at the Burlington Violin Shop. A couple of public schools are working with us on setting up Fiddleheads after-school clubs. And we continue to see and hear Fiddlehead alums dazzle us with their skills and accomplishments.

We’ve curtailed our reunion concerts that typically happen in January, adding them instead to Young Tradition Weekend festivities in May. Invitations will be going out soon to the growing list of performers who have passed through YTV programs. Home base for these events will be the Bishop Booth Conference Center, Integrated Arts Academy, Shelburne Town Hall and Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. The annual contest will open on-line sometime in December.

We have coordinated or are in the process of coordinating showcase appearances by young performers in a variety of locations for a variety of occasions, including …… First Night! Burlington, Celtic New Year’s Eve in Richmond, Farmers Night in the state legislature, Head Start’s 50th Anniversary, holiday season in the Burlington Square Mall and the Lane Series at the University of Vermont.

Young Tradition Weekend now includes an educators conference, a school assembly, a contradance, a contest, an awards reception and a reunion concert. Locations include the Bishop Booth Conference Center, the Integrated Arts Academy, the Shelburne Town Hall and the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. The online contest will open sometime near the first of the year, which is the first ‘gate’ that will conclude with a contest showcase.

We made the commitment to do Trad Camp in 2016, most likely at the Lake Champlain Waldorf High School again. Sophia Donforth has signed on as camp manager for a 2nd year and has already done a lot of planning. We had our first planning meeting with staff at the Waldorf School in late October.

The Instrument Loan Program has two to three dozen instruments in circulation. Every one of our full-size fiddles are out, which is great (except that we don’t currently have any to lend)! We have our annual Greene Fiddle Loan Program meeting at the end of this week at the Vermont Folklife Center.

Chris Dorman still makes Music for Sprouts happen at Bread-and-Butter Farm in Shelburne, and is where we had our quarterly board meeting in August. His most recent CD of Sprouts music has been included on the Grammy list, the first step before a nomination.

Our public school partnership with Integrated Arts Academy is thriving with a new program for teachers and students in kindergarten through grade 2 called One Sings, taught and coordinated by boardmember Brian Perkins. We have started a partnership with teachers at Edmunds Middle School in collaboration with the Vermont Folklife Center, and are working on a collaboration with Edmunds Elementary School.

Kathleen Haughey, Director of Education at the Vermont Folklife Center, and I got to share the New Neighbors curriculum with teachers at Edmunds Middle School. The curriculum is going to be a central part of the educators conference in May.

The 2015/2016 Touring Group has completed its first two rehearsals and are sailing well under the guidance of artistic director Pete Sutherland. Several parents have stepped up to offer assistance with one or more of the 5 primary fund-raising projects. Deb Flanders is in the process of squeezing what could easily be a month of traveling into a single week in Ireland in April.

We had our annual meeting with staff at the Vermont Children’s Hospital and mutually agreed to continue the Baird five music sessions for another year. We will be preparing a suitcase for a mini petting zoo installation each month as part of the sessions. Boardmember Brian Perkins is scheduled as musical guest for November.

Support for families with children in what we call ‘life-altering’ (‘life-threatening’ if you prefer) situations continue to be supported through the Tom Sustic Fund, with distribution managed through the Vermont Family Network. The advisory committee, consisting of Vermont Children’s Hospital and Vermont Family Network staff, had its annual meeting in September, and renewed its commitment for the coming year to ensure that families have a resource for those things that insurance and other funds do not support. Over a dozen families were supported in the last calendar year.

Thanks to a challenge from the Quebec Government Office, commitment of support from the Vermont Folklife Center, the Country Dance and Song Society and others, an impressive list of advisors, and management by Mary Wesley, we will be presenting the first ‘Young Folks Doing Old Stuff’ educators conference on the 2nd weekend in May in 2016. Laura Risk from McGill University will be the keynote speaker, and we’ve got a save-the-date notice being distributed to educators and parents throughout the state.

Lots more information, including a continuously updated, comprehensive calendar of events for all the traditional and folk music and dance events we know about, on the web site www.youngtraditionvermont.org.

Mark Sustic
802-233-5293