Minutes – June 22, 2012

Greater Houston Chapter of NATS, www.ghnats.org, Summer Board Meeting, Friday, June 22, 2012, 12:00 PM, Houston Baptist University

President Jason Lester called the meeting to order at 12:17PM. He announced that a few members were unable to attend, but were able to forward information to the board via various documents or conversations with President Lester. These members included Shannon Langman, membership liaison and social media chair, Paul Busselberg, VP of CVMF, Debra Greschner, VP of workshops and Beverly Laubach, VP of musical theater auditions. He acknowledged that we did have a quorum (51%) with those members in attendance, including Marion Russell-Dickson, past president, Angela Pickering, VP classical auditions, Melissa Givens, treasurer and Frankie Hickman, secretary. With that understanding, it was decided that we would not vote on some issues, but instead create a virtual discussion/vote among all board members on topics the attending board felt had merit.

President Lester announced that members seemed to be happy with the past board and that the same board would continue for another term with one addition of secretary, Frankie Hickman. Members further introduced themselves to create a better understanding of each other in order to facilitate working together virtually and in person, especially in terms of disagreements.

Secretary Frankie Hickman presented the minutes from the April 14th, 2012 spring business meeting for individual review; Angela Pickering made the motion to approve, Melissa Givens seconded.

The GHNATS board reviewed statistics of the Musical Theater and Classical Auditions. Lester said there was no negative feedback regarding the increase of student fees for both audition platforms and that the winners’ gift cards were very well received by teachers and students. There were many membership conflicts this year, but the auditions still had a very good student attendance. A discussion brought up the need for clarification on audition feedback and scoring for new teachers and guest judges.

Lester recognized Amanda Waites’ resignation from her role as VP CVMF and her generous contribution to our organization and hope of future participation. The resulting void needs attention very soon, so nominations were made for replacements, to be further investigated for individual interest and, ultimately, final assignment in time to prepare for CVMF 2012.

The website needs updating: current graphics seem dark, web design will include big graphics and a lighter, brighter color scheme with easier maneuverability and more dropdown menus.

Lester intends to engage the current professional web designer, Rosendo, as the newsletter coordinator. Materials due date needs to be set for mid-August, so the new revised website could be presented to membership around the beginning of the school year.

Lester also wished to begin discussion on sponsorship and professional music-related links on the home GHNATS webpage. The issue was tabled for virtual discussion among all board members. Individuals were asked to explore possible sponsors, contact individual vendors regarding interest for a later vote and possible implementation. Sponsorship could lead to more funds for student awards or master classes, etc. Marion Russell-Dickinson voiced a concern and asked that this item be discussed with Debra Greschner before further action is taken, to insure propriety.

Lester wanted to address attendance for MT and Classical auditions and possibly combining both, once again. It was concluded that they should remain separate auditions to follow the national standards now being embraced through both classical and MT competitions and keep the judging standards as focused as possible on each specific style of singing. Ideas were brought forth to increase interest in the musical theater auditions, such as reaching out to local musical theater schools (eg. Humphrey’s School, HITS or Masquerade).

CVMF date was discussed for October, possibly the second Saturday, with virtual discussion to be shortly initiated on the topic of possibly including HMTA to improve attendance both in colleges and students. It was agreed that thought would need to go into delegation of responsibilities, coordination and expenses, and that the title of the event would possibly change, as well as musician demographics.

Classical audition collegiate level age limits were addressed to potentially increase the age limits of freshmen through graduate students. Trends are showing older students enrolling in colleges, and the need to keep with these trends was presented as part of a proposal to increase limits by a few years, while considering the instrument development relative to age and not amount of study. Changing the age restrictions was another subject tabled to be virtually discussed with the board and membership via e-mail or Facebook. National restrictions and other local chapter precedents were other aspects to be investigated regarding this matter.

Angela Pickering announced that two dates were still up for discussion, with membership conflicts on both dates for the Classical Auditions, but the majority wanted the April 13th date for classical, and for Musical Theater auditions to be held at St. Luke’s on January 26th. Angela asked about having the U of H fee waived for usage of facilities during the auditions; confirmation with Joey Evans and contract needed to be carried out. Vendors were also brought up at the meeting and propriety of a single music vendor being present at the classical auditions without outreach to other sheet music vendors (eg. AMC).

Melissa Givens reported to have just over $1400.00 in the bank and $2698.52 in the Paypal account. Fee increases have created a positive surplus for the chapter. Lester maintains his interest in being fiscally responsible and mentioned continued interest in discretionary funding from national NATS as another option, thought to be available to our chapter on a yearly basis; further investigation and discussion on this topic to be carried out at a later date with Debra Greschner.

Debra Greschner, via Lester, presented many ideas for workshops.

Beverly Laubach, via Jason Lester, said she had concerns of taking on the position of VP musical theater auditions, unless she had some form of help. Rather than adding another board member, an ad hoc chair would serve the role more fully and an annual flexibility would be maintained for that position. In relation to all board positions, it was suggested that there be an ad hoc chair for all major board member roles, for a seamless transition from year to year. Delegation would be up to the board member.

Frankie Hickman mentioned that a membership mixer/icebreaker might be considered for the pre-meeting time at classical and musical theater meetings, to help welcome the newest members or reintroduce some absent members. This topic might be voiced in the newsletter for membership ideas.

Jason Lester moved to adjourn the meeting, Marion Russell Dickson seconded. Meeting was adjourned at 2:34PM.

Respectfully submitted by
Frankie Hickman
Secretary, Greater Houston NATS