Sister Singers Network

SSN Meeting October 21, 2000

Chicago, IL                                   12:30 - 4:00 p.m.


Chris Reed (individual SSN member), Velma Wagner (Calliope), Diana Clegg (Artemis), Brenda Byrne (Hersong), Lori Tennenhouse (GRWC), Sue Brown (GRWC), Carol Wheeler (Bread & Roses Feminist Singers), Pat Ebrom (Artemis), Sheryl Mase (GRWC), Janice Scalza (GRWC)

Review Agenda:

1. Updating directory (15 mins.)
2. Dues for members  (5 mins.)
3. Interim body to run SSN - steering committee (30 mins.)
4. 2001 choral festival (60 mins.)
a. Registration - Canadian money
b. Accessibility issues
c. Schedule/Workshops
d. Mass Chorus
e. SSN Meetings


Robin Bechofer (Womonsong) may be willing to work on the directory.  Naomi Siegal (SSN Hub) has everything up to date, but does not recommend that we print a paper directory.  She thinks there should be a database online accessible via a user ID.

Paper copy - date it and distribute it annually.  We could have an electronic database online which we could keep current and print what is online for the paper copy.  This will keep our costs down.  Not every chorus is online.  There are about six that have no contact information.

On the SSN site there are several women's choruses listed that are not members of SSN.  Approximately sixty choruses are members of SSN.

Send one hard copy to each chorus, and then tell them it is available via the web and updated annually via hard copy, more frequently via the web.  Concern about information that should be posted - are there those who would not want their phone number, etc. on the web without a password?

Chris wants to put out the paper directory prior to the festival.  Depends on Robin Bechofer to see if she is willing to do this.  If she is not, we will further discuss this at the SSN meeting that will be held at the festival.

The contents of the directory can be updated at the festival.  The most current data was in Naomi's hands, and Diana got it and gave it to Robin.  How do the Web Goddess and the Hub communicate and divide various tasks?  Whose job is it to keep up directory information?  This is a path forward item to be discussed at the SSN meeting to be held at the festival.

At the festival, we could have a form for choruses to fill out to update the next directory.  This could be part of registration packet, or for the "pilot fish" to get completed.

Membership Dues

Chris wants to wait to have membership dues until the organization is fully revived and active, we need money and there is something to do with it.  It has been a little odd to sign up members with no fee, just paperwork, which they have to do as part of registering for the festival.

This is a path forward item to be discussed at the SSN meeting to be held at the festival.

SSN Steering Committee

Chris asks how we are going to set the agendas for the SSN meetings at the festival.  One of the mailings going out should have a call for agenda items.  This could be included in the mailing that has a workshop questionnaire.  Diana can do this and will make it so.

At the festival, we can talk about structure and whether or not it needs to be changed, and how individuals are empowered to do things in the name of the SSN.

The Treasurer and the Hub are two key SSN positions.  MUSE treasurer will take over the Treasurer position for SSN.  A Calliope member has been the Hub for a long time.  Since the P.O. box address is in Minneapolis, it would be good to keep it as is, but Naomi does not even check it as frequently as once per month.  It will get activity once we re-activate the network.  Carol Wheeler will add the P.O. box to the website.  Chris suggests that the two positions be a proactive part of a steering committee structure.

Do we have the necessary structure in place, or should we re-create the structure to include a steering committee structure?  The steering committee would make sure things are happening - festivals, newsletters, electronic communications, web mailing list (do we need one other than the choruswomen list?).  Eileen Stone (AFWC) likes the fact that SSN uses the choruswomen list.  She recommends that we put either SSN or GALA in the subject line of the mail messages.

Communication is more effective through the choruswomen list than snail mail.  Structure is now the WWW.  To accept dues, we still need snail mail.  Money and forms will need to be sent snail.

SSN used to meet at least once a year (more frequently in a festival year) to decide what is happening for the upcoming year.  Should there be annual or biannual meetings?  Quarterly newsletters?  What festival frequency?

How will we structure the agenda and process for the business meeting at the festival?  Should we present some ideas already generated by us?  Identify energetic leaders?  Festival planners for next time? Newsletter volunteers?


Newsletter - three times per year (fall, winter, spring)
Website - need a backup person (should Carol Wheeler be unable to maintain)
Meetings - annual membership meeting (rotating site), steering committee would meet more often
Festival - every three years have an international festival.  Can support regional festivals?  What does this mean?  Money?  Regional chapters?  SSN name only? Use the name, use the mailing list?

Janice points out that regional festivals may detract from the revival of a large SSN choral festival.  Chris says that there are members of SSN who never attend the festivals.  SSN has tended to be a center-of-the-country organization.  A festival in Portland, OR would have encouraged participation from the west coast members.  GALA changes things for SSN, but there is still an interest in an organization for only women's choruses.


We would encourage regional networking.

Kathie Michael (GALA) has offered resources to SSN.  They have seven staff members and the ability to organize large festivals.  We can ask her to be a resource for the festival planning (entertainment, workshops).  Also from GALA - want a presentation at a network meeting about what the relationship between GALA and SSN could be.  Cathy Roma could come up with some ideas for this relationship.  Put information into the GALA newsletter, GALAgram, maybe on a regular basis.

GALA staff could do a workshop.  Fundraising?  Newsletter?  Repertoire?  Publications?  How to write a grant?  Copyright?  Putting out a CD?  Concert production?  There are publications put out by GALA that perhaps they could make available to members of SSN.  Janice will approach Kathie Michael about these ideas.

2001 8th International SSN Choral Festival


Windsong, Artemis, and Woven are registered so far, plus six individuals.  We can accommodate 20 choruses.  We already know that Sistrum and GRWC will take part.  Also, we think that MUSE and Caliope will register.  The maximum number of singers we can accommodate is 500.  The hall holds 650.  We have ~150 seats to sell to the public.  We will have people at the door to take note of registration badge for workshops.

The program needs to say which workshops will be women-only space.

Perhaps the opening "meet and greet" concert could be compliments of GALA?!?

We are planning for two separate mass choruses with separate repertoire.  What happens when one chorus wants to have some members in one mass chorus, and some in the other?  We wanted to have a complete chorus in one mass chorus because of repertoire and tapes, etc.  It will be easier for us to insist that they be in the same mass chorus.

We will include as part of the registration packet dinner recommendations and other local information of value to attendees.


Joyce Harpell of Vox Femina chorus in Ottawa, Canada requested that we consider letting women from Canada pay the individual registration fee in Canadian funds.  We discussed the various aspects of this issue and decided that yes, they can pay in Canadian dollars.  We need to tell everyone that we are extending to Canadian choruses to pay in Canadian dollars, but we that we have built the budget around U.S. dollars and those that can pay U.S. should do so.


ASL:  All concerts will be ASL interpreted.  Workshops will be interpreted if requested in advance.  Will groups bring their own ASL interpreter?  If yes - will their own interpreter volunteer for other choruses?  Should there be a fee for ASL interpreters provided by the festival planners?  Some choruses will fly in their own interpreter and it may not be fair to subsidize this for others.  Perhaps there is value in consciousness raising to have chorus pay for interpreters.  Choruses need to weigh costs of bringing their own vs. "hiring" their own.  Rachel Alexander (Sistrum) said she would coordinate this function.  At the next festival planning meeting we will discuss how to proceed with the provision of ASL interpreters and the decision to subsidize this or not.  We will clarify this in the next mailing.  We will need to get chorus music prior to festival for those groups wishing to have ASL interpreters provided so that the interpreter has a chance to see it ahead of time.

Braille:  Chris Reed will get prices for brailling of music.  We still need to contact Library for the Blind in Lansing to see what they can assist with.  We would need lyrics for the program as well as other printed material in Braille, potentially.  Another potential solution aside from brailing would be to e-mail vision impaired women the information if they have a computer set up with screen reading software.

Chemical sensitivities:  Ask attendees to refrain from scented products.  The hotel will have non-smoking rooms and we will ask that they tone down the use of heavily scented cleaning products.


The proposed festival schedule was presented and reviewed.  The November mailing will have a workshop application and questionnaire.  A priority in offering workshops will be to highlight the skills/talents of the SSN membership.  Networking!  Sharing talents.  Composers might be interested.  Building repertoire.  How to sing a certain kind of music.  Gregorian chant.  Lisa Erb will do on-site coordination.  November 5th is the next Salmon meeting and we should let Diana know about when her workshop mailing could go out.  Need to add Diana's e-mail address to the website for workshop ideas.


Angie Denov (MUSE) may have something to share with festival organizers regarding the selection of mass chorus music.  Chris Reed will ask Cathy Roma to call Rachel Alexander regarding some of the festival planning efforts, mass chorus, workshops, etc.


Chris Reed requested that the festival planners schedule more SSN meetings to take place during the festival.  The current tentative schedule allows for a meeting on Thursday afternoon and a Sunday luncheon meeting.  Chris said that she will suggest a meeting schedule after she has time to think it over, but that she still feels there should be more than two meetings during the festival.  We need to be careful not to present too many conflicting events on the festival itinerary.

Notes taken and reported by: Sheryl Mase

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