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Touring Group Retreat: Day 3

Today was the final day for the annual December Young Tradition Touring Group rehearsal retreat at the Bishop Booth Conference Center in Burlington.  Final rehearsal blast in the morning, then we packed up/cleaned up, then everyone went their way until we meet again in Montpelier on January 26th for rehearsal from 1pm to 5pm at Monteverdi Music School and an evening performance at Spice on Snow.

Because of the dicey weather overnight and early morning, several folks with 2 or more hour commutes spent the night last night and left from Burlington vs. navigating the icy roads earlier.  Thanks to Tony at Bishop Booth for allowing that accommodation.  With Mark Z there (Eme’s Dad) for that same reason, we had a group photo shoot with him before everyone left. Gaelen returned in the morning for some more filming.

GREAT concert last night!  Everyone played and sang and some danced to an overflowing room (sorry to those who didn’t have a  seat).  Alumni Annalise, Zach, Sebastian J, Eliza and Gaelen joined in on the Erogie Set for our signature big band closing blast.


If anyone could help us sell additional pre-tour CDs, we have some left we’d love to get to you.  Contact mark.sustic@gmail.com to arrange.

We’ll send out payment-due-notices (for regular payments, CDs, Bishop Booth) after summarizing from the retreat.  Important to get these settled, as the final decision-making about doing the trip or not in April is largely dependent on having the finances in order and up-to-date.

The focus for fundraising in January is recruiting contributions for the sponsor banner – $100 to have individuals, families, groups, businesses or organizations listed on a banner that will be displayed at all performances in Vermont, New York and New Jersey.  Each group member, group leader and adult traveler is expected to sell at least one banner spot ($100 each) – more than one is great, but at least one.  Not to say you can’t continue selling CDs, but the major push in January is the sponsor banner.  Please try to arrive at the next rehearsal with the payment and the wording for the listing (can’t include logos for info).

For whatever reason, we are way off pace on donations not related to specific fundraising projects or grants.  Last year we received over $3,000 in these types of donations – so far this year, we have just $250. These are contributions that are not associated with CDs, the sponsor banner, the coming Kickstarter campaign (to be launched sometime between mid-February and early March), etc.  They most often come from individuals, quite often extended family members, folks who are inspired by what the Touring Group is doing and someone they know well being involved in the group.

We talked a bit about the shirt design for this year…..  agreement on a dark color (but not black like last year) – dark green was heard several times…… that it should definitely be long-sleeved….  that the back-of-shirt design will work with the same basic design for maybe a couple more years.  Once we get sizes and numbers sorted out, we’ll get them made in plenty of time for the tour in April, likely earlier.  Each group member would need to pay the cost of making their shirt (anticipating $25-$30 range per shirt).  More about the timeline for shirts to come.

We are going to be experimenting with some smaller, single gig ensembles for some offers we’ve been getting for the Touring Group from organizations, festivals, presenters, weddings, etc.  Some part of the proceeds, when there are proceeds, could be a source of support for the Touring Group project.  We have avoided doing smaller group/sub-groups in the past and having it called the Touring Group for various reasons, without full (or near full) representation by the entire group.  If opportunities come up you are aware of, have a conversation with Mark about it before proceeding, definitely before confirming.  Because Young Tradition Touring Group is program of Young Tradition Vermont, we have to ensure appropriate supervision and liability coverage on behalf of the organization.

We are all musicians.  We use notes (and silences) to change things.  We care about form and function and most of all, about making an impact on those we connect with.  

Every note counts.  Every breath as well.

In a world filled with noise, the most important slots are reserved for the musicians we listen to, and the musicians we seek to become.