1. International SingOne of the major topics throughout the year was the International Sing scheduled for April 24, 25 and 26 in Lansing, Michigan.
While there has been a flurry of controversy in recent months centering on the low number of AMCA choruses intending to participate, the related problems this has created for the organizers and their district; still anticipation remains high for those members who have made plans to attend.
The 1998 Sing held in Buffalo, New York had a little over 900 singers in attendance and this apparently was the bench mark used by Lansing in planning and costing their event. Indeed, Lansing had hopes for an even larger attendance based on the most excellent activities planned and the huge number of invites that were sent to non member choruses. They expressed their disappointment in no uncertain terms and urged members to make the commitment of support so that the International Sing could be held as planned.
It is to be hoped that in the next three months or so, more members will make the commitment to be a part of LanSing and benefit from the workshops, concerts, performance opportunities and the comaderie inherit ant in these Big Sings. I understand that the cost of the Afterglow is being revisited in order to reduce the price and make it more affordable for the members attending. Indeed, the Michigan District has apparently voluntarily accepted some of the cost to help reduce the ticket price. If this information is accurate, then kudos to all involved!
2. Lake Erie District Former ChorusesIn 2001 we sadly reported on the dissolution of the Lake Erie District due to dwindling numbers. In 2002 the George Stone Singers joined the New York Penn District and later in the year we were pleased to hear from the District Executive that the Choristers of Erie Maennerchor had also chosen to rejoin AMCA after a two year absence. The Town Choir of Ashtabula and the Moniusko Male Chorus were approached too, but felt for their own valid reasons, they could not accept the invitation. This left AMCA with five districts one less than they had in the year 2001.
3. AMCA Membership - A Hopeful SignIn last years January report I sadly informed you that our membership was continuing to decline and by the end of 2001 had reached 1,123 adult singing members.
Our membership totals for 2002 totaled 1,194 adult singers. Not included in this total is the Maennerchor chorus which joined late in the year to be effective in 2003. This represents a gain of 71 singers plus Maennerchor which appears to indicate a reversal of the disturbing downward trend. With the continuing efforts of the Blueprint committees we can hope that this new trend will continue and result in a rejuvenated association.
4. Work of the Recruitment Committee - A Good News Report!It is a privilege to be able to report on the most excellent progress being made by this Blueprint committee through the efforts of Doug Farley, President of the Lock City Glee Club, working with Chair, Joel McLay. Doug has produced a wonderful package of material that is the most comprehensive publicity tool AMCA has every had at its disposal. It is packed with material that fully explains AMCA to any interested chorus and will be made available by mail to perspective member choruses responding to the initial contact letter being sent out.
Each member of the AMCA Executive was sent a copy in mid December with a request for their input and comments and there will be a few copies for review at our next AMCA business meeting. Highlights of the package following the letter of introduction by President Goodling, include chapters on: Who We Are, Membership Benefits, Directory of Members, Scholarship Program, Music Composition Contest, International Sings, the Chorister, Reproductions from the Archives of Why Join ..... and What It (AMCA) Stands For. In addition, included is a Powerpoint CD containing a slide show of members activities and two newly produced publications by Doug - AMCA publicity brochure and Student Choruses: Join Us In Song.
Our hats off to Doug Farley and Joel McLay for their outstanding efforts. PS. If you know of a potential member chorus, please send the contact information to Joel and Doug so that they can follow up with a contact letter and brochure. Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. New Chair Elected to Head the Scholarship ProgramOur excellent scholarship outreach program, had a new elected chairman in 2002 - Mr. Don Peterson, Men of Orpheus Male Chorus of the Michigan District. Following the spring AMCA business meeting Don sent a package of material to each member chorus with a letter requesting that the program be advertised and candidates sought out. New application forms were also included. Deadline for submissions is March 1st and you may contact Don at
6. Music Contest Fails to Produce a WinnerThis years contest failed to produce a selection that in the opinion of the contest chair and Board of Directors, was suitable and of a standard for our community choruses. It had been hoped that this years theme, folk music would encourage some variety from the predominately sacred music that had been submitted in past years. It was decided not to make an award for 2002.
My sincere hope for a successful and enjoyable International Big Sing in Lansing this coming April and to you and yours I extend a heartfelt wish for a happy and prosperous New Year! May the year 2003 see the fruition of the many efforts initiated to better our Association and bring about a rejeuvenated AMCA moving forward to greet the year 2004!
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This column is planned as a regular feature by the Executive Secretary.
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