(by Board President, Dick Martin)
What a year it’s been. At the end
of the 2011 season our conductor of many years, Donna Yacavone,
announced her retirement. She will be missed. The band, citing
it’s rich history and value to the community, assembled
a group of members to find a new director and form an organization
that could share the many tasks necessary to keep the band active
and filling a vital role in Cortland and the surrounding community.
In the past, Donna had performed all of these tasks by herself.
After countless meetings at the Perfetti’s dining room
table and many other locations, a “new” Old Timers
Band emerged. It has been a year of many changes and a few growing
pains, but a success. Collectively, we have taken a look back
at our history, our present service to the community and looked
forward at how we fit into 2012 and beyond. We have welcomed
several new members into the group and one very special member
has returned to us. Donna now plays bass clarinet instead of
waving the baton.
Fifteen months ago, several Band members
began meeting to develop plans for the 2012 concert season.
First, we needed to find a new conductor to replace Donna Yacavone,
who would retire in December. We also felt strongly that some
organizational re-structure was necessary to allow a future
Director to concentrate more fully on the musical-performance
mission of the Band.
Thus was born the informal volunteer group
of band members called the “Steering Committee”.
This group of approximately 13 dedicated band members has provided
the transition to a shared organizational approach for managing
the numerous functions of the Band. I would like to share with
you some of the more significant achievements to date:
1. Conductor Search Committee -
Led by Ken Briggs, his committee conducted an organized and professional
assessment of interested conductor applicants. Five months later,
armed with auditions and band member inputs, they announced
the selection of an energetic and talented Music Director, Edward
O’Rourke. In addition,
they appointed our own Michael Poole as Associate Conductor. We
are extremely fortunate to have this unique team relationship,
which is bringing praise and pride to this new era of the Band.
2. Personnel Enhancements - Considerable
effort has focused on building a proud and tight family of musicians.
This has been demonstrated by a) holding more band social events,
organized by Jane Hunter, which helps newer members get acquainted;
b) member recognitions, such as Honorary and Life member appointments;
c) recognition of past Civic Band members whom have helped establish
our roots, and d) providing new and colorful uniform shirts to
Band members to increase our Band’s recognition (thanks
again to Jane Hunter).
3. Organizational Documentation - After
many meetings( including Dave Perfetti, John Folmer, Ken Briggs
and Jim D’Addario),
and hours of discussion and drafts, a comprehensive Charter was
created to establish a structure under which the band organization
will operate in the future. The ratification/approval of this
Charter will be voted upon tonight. Also, a Members Handbook was
created to provide detailed guidelines on membership and attendance
requirements, to inform members on rehearsal and concert procedures,
and to provide contact references to Band Officers.
4. Financial Changes - A restructuring of
the Band’s financial
plan was made possible by discontinuing the yearly member-payout
stipend. This permitted the Steering Committee to focus on our
long-term needs for a music library, public relation projects,
purchase of percussion equipment and uniform shirts. Our Treasurer,
Jim D’Addario will provide more details later in the program.
5. Music Library - Established After several
weeks of searching, a physical library facility was graciously
offered to the Band at the Center for the Arts of Homer, and
we moved in on a frigid Sunday afternoon last December. With
the purchase of a used copier, we were in business to support
the initial rehearsal requirements by early February. Karen
Wickert and Terry Perkins have organized the Librarian duties
and supported Ed’s rehearsal requests
in a very professional and efficient manner. They are currently
managing some 220 music files.
6. Band Asset Management - The need for
a convenient, accessible and inexpensive storage facility was
provided by Scott Baxendall (at no cost) at his home. He also
is providing transport and stage set-up of the equipment at
our concert sites….a major commitment
7. Electronic Media Launched - The Band
has finally entered the 21st century with our own WEB-site at
www.cortlandoldtimersband.org. Terry Martens has used her many
talents and versatility to create our public relations home,
and with the assistance of Terry Mingle’s
connections, we went operational this Fall.
8. Archival Music Recovery - Nearly 400 old
music scores rescued from destruction several years ago by Donna
Yacavone have been inventoried, cataloged, and documented for
condition and completeness. This monumental effort involved over
10 committee members and others, exposing themselves to dust and
mold. The titles are now listed on our WEB-site and include many
band scores dating back over 100 years. We envision the incorporation
of some of these selections into our active repertoire for future
concerts, and also making them available to other bands at nominal
fees, if requested.
As chairman of the Steering Committee,
I want to thank the committee members for their cooperation
and willingness to meet frequently, and repeatedly volunteering
their time over the past 15 months. I feel confident that the
Band’s structure and accomplishments
will support a seamless transfer of responsibility to our newly-elected
I also want to thank Ed O’Rourke, on behalf of the Band,
for bringing his talent and enthusiasm to our community. The Cortland
Old Timers Band is growing musically under your leadership, and
this kind of growth is inspiring new levels of excitement and
pride by its members.