template / single post

Touring Group Launch 9/7/19

Thanks all who attend the 1st rehearsal at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, FlynnArts Director Jess Handrik for arranging the space, and especially those who are new to the group.

Those who are returning, who have been in the group previous years – were asked to keep in mind that we are not replicating what has been done in the past. We are a new group creating a new path and a new identity, with new friends, new leaders, new places to go and people to met. Everyone in the group has infinite depth and promise…. we will be together for 9 months to work on something that will be new and fun and worthwhile for everyone, which will take everyone’s best effort, focus and commitment.

Our overall goal – why we have rehearsals – is to build a program that we can proudly and confidently present at performances in Vermont between January and April, and during the tour in late April. A priority is everyone having a balance of engagement, and that no one is sidelined too much because they aren’t wicked great at singing, or playing an instrument, or dancing. This first rehearsal was about sorting out the character of this year’s group, determining its strengths and weaknesses, as much as it was learning what was laid out in advance.

Here’s a list of what was worked on a the rehearsal: Breakwater Boys in both D and E, Road to Germany, Fire in the Hole, Jasspodspolka and Polska fran Skura (polskas), Shotgun Angel, Crossing the Bar. We took a break around 2:15pm, when Mark Z. led us to City Hall where he got a couple of great photos.

Making commitments is a promise from the group members to the Touring Group, a measure how important it is to to them. There is something almost involuntary about making a deep commitment. It happens when something becomes part of your identity. Eventually you reach the point of a double negative: ‘I can’t not do this.’

There are several ‘gates’ we have to pass through to keep the Touring Group moving forward. So far we have gotten through several important ones – leader and group member recruitment, auditions, commitments, invitations, 1st rehearsal. The next ‘gate’ is following through with the rehearsals, where everyone settles in for the long haul, through the fall and the rest of 2019. A big ‘gate’ ahead is January 1st – if financing is lined up, payments are coming in on schedule, we have solid itinerary and financing commitments from April tour hosts – we then make the final commitment for the April tour. If not, we redesign plans for the April tour.

Group members are expected to understand and accept that they need a group center of gravity…… meaning that what’s best individually might not always be what’s best for the group as a whole. Some of the most independent minded people we know have been part of this group, and that’s at least part of why they are involved. But, we ask everyone to suspend their independence and temper their behavior for the sake of the group when that’s what is called for, whether its while you are playing, singing, dancing…… hungry, tired, frustrated….. thrilled, excited, astounded.

Young Tradition Vermont is an organization that puts of time, effort and resources into the Touring Group, part of its effort to make sure young people are inspired by, learning about, performing, and using traditional music and dance to serve the communities where they live and the places we visit.