This document is the product
of a brainstorming session prior to the second meeting of the Band
Organizers. You should read this document second (after Planning
Document #1), to see what's already been thought of.
The information in this
document is not binding, nor is it set in concrete -- it is put
here merely to serve as a foundation for discussion and future
If after reading this
document and the other planning documents, you have suggestions
to make, please get in touch with the Band Organizers.
To download a Microsoft
Word version of this document (71k), click
Planning Document #2, February 2, 2004
is no particular order to these points – they’re simply
jotted down as they occur. Feel free to take notes right on your
copy here, and be sure to send a copy of any suggestions to
David P. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can include them in the
next planning document.
The organizational meeting:
Getting the word out:
What “word” do we get out?
The name of the group:
Getting sponsors – startup money:
Board of directors:
Band member’s handbook:
The music committee:
Finalization and organization of details.
First, we need to set a big organizational meeting.
It should probably be before the first rehearsal (March 22) if
we can swing it. How does February 16 or 23 (both Mondays)
The objective of the organizational meeting would be
to gather names of people who would love to see community music
come (back) to central Mississippi. They don't even have to play
an instrument. All that's needed is that they want the music and
are willing to help make it happen.
We should try to get as many people to the meeting as
we can. It would be wonderful if we could get a couple hundred
people to the meeting, and get enough volunteer workers to make
sure we have enough people to make things happen the way they
For this organizational meeting, we need two maing
things: a place to have it and people to attend. To get people
to attend, we need to get the word out.
Some ways we might consider getting the word out
Go to ALL the churches we can find. Ask them to make
announcements each week between now and the meeting, and to
print it in their bulletin and post a notice on their bulletin
Go to all the high school and junior high bands, get the
word to PARENTS as well as band directors. Lots of kids are in
bands because their parents were in band, and had a great time.
They might want to play again.
Get the word to all the newspapers, flyers, bulletins, and
newsletters we can learn about
Get the word to radio stations. See how many Public
Service Announcements we
can get them to broadcast. See if we can find a “Champion”
at some of the radio stations. I suggest William Fulton at PBM,
he’s a former tuba player. Hey, he might even want to join!
Get the word to all the local television stations. They also
broadcast public service announcements, and perhaps they would
cover this as news. See if we can find a “Champion” at a TV
station as well. This could become a cause celebre.
How many spots on
how many channels can we get with RoadRunner? Would they
possibly even become a sponsor of the band?
Get the word to all musicians we know about. Encourage
musician-to-musician word of mouth.
It seems to me that the more we can do of this in
person, the more effective it will be. For example, we could
just send a letter or email to a church or radio or TV station.
But a phone call would be better, and a personal visit even more
We need to figure out
exactly what “word” it is we get out when we do get the word
out. We probably need to come up with a press release and a
should be brief, meaty, and hard-hitting.
should have on it WHAT we’re doing, WHY we’re
doing it, WHO we want to come to the meeting, the Date,
Time, and Location, and a phone number to call for
phone number will also be for people who want to get involved,
but for some reason can’t make it to the organizational
is a start with some suggested wording for the press
release/flyer. As with everything at this stage, it’s wide
open to discussion and improvement.
you one of the thousands of people in Mississippi who
love good band music and would like to see it return?
Well, it’s coming back, and YOU can be part of it!
you play an instrument or just want to help out, we have
a place for you! We are looking for instrumentalists and
staff workers. Whether you’re a virtuoso on the
piccolo or would simply be willing to make phone calls,
we need you!
to our first organizational meeting on Monday night,
February 23, at 7PM, at the Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxx Center
more information, call 601-605-2786, or email email@example.com.
You can also visit our website at www.snicko.com/band
This is your chance
to be in on the ground floor of the Symphonic Band that
will be the Pride of Mississippi.
Mark down February
26 on your calendar and be a part of history!
Community Symphonic Band will give several concerts a
year. We will feature local musicians and fun music.
Membership in the performing group is open to anyone who
plays an instrument and is willing to put in the time
and practice necessary to play the music. High school
students call or see our website for special
We also need people
who want to participate outside the performing group. We
need people to work in the music library, to handle the
instruments and equipment, to be in charge of uniforms,
and to make phone calls. We need people to coordinate
concerts and rehearsals. We also need an executive
director, to handle the non-profit organization
business, we need an accountant, and we need a legal
advisor. There are dozens of ways to become involved,
even if you’ve never touched an instrument in your
The mission of this
band is twofold – first to provide a place for local
musicians to play fun and challenging music, and second,
to provide great music concerts to the communities we
With your help,
we’ll do just that!
So come to our
organizational meeting. Bring your enthusiasm and your
best ideas! Together we’ll make history for
discussion, & Suggestions) How about Mid-Mississippi Community Band
instead of Mid-South ? Mid-South sounds too general to me. It
seems to cover a larger territory than Ms.Just my thoughts on
Perhaps we should get a "working name" then
hold a contest among all the supporters (maybe those who come to
the organizational meeting?) to come up with the official name
for the group. That way, people would feel more involved.
I had more thoughts myself. Just "Mississippi
Community Band," "Mississippi Pops Band,"
"Magnolia Community Band," "Magnolia Pops,"
and "Mississippi Symphonic Band," to name a few.
I kind of like the "Symphonic
part because it seems to exude more of an air of
professionalism, and less of the 'adult beginner' aura that
"community band" seems to have. Maybe if we grow to
two groups, we can have the Symphonic group and the Community
would probably be best to let’s decide soon HOW we’re going
to decide the name.
One thing I think we need to pay attention to early
on is getting some sponsors. Both individual supporters and
corporate supporters. Namely because it's going to take some
money to make this happen the way it should, even in the early
of the things I’ve learned through my association with the
Mississippi Center for NonProfits is that one of the first
questions potential sponsors ask when they are approached for
support is “Do ALL the Board Members contribute?” This
pretty much means that anyone who wants to be a member of the
Board should be willing to kick in some seed money.
startup money is going to be a bit difficult, since we don’t
yet have official 501(c)(3) status, and most donors require that
before they’ll give any appreciable amount. There are two ways
around this. First, we could get ourselves associated with an
existing 501(c)(3) organization, such as a church, and have the
money donated to them to be passed to us. This shouldn’t be a
problem. The other way around it is that once we apply for
501(c)(3) status, any donations given are deductible, once the
status is approved, retroactive back to the day we applied. I
should think the first way would be easier.
there any chance we could “take over” the old community
band’s 501(c)(3) status? (No.)
of how we do it, we do need to get some startup money. In the
beginning, it’s going to have to come from people who are so
determined to get the band going that they’re willing to give
some money even if it might not be deductible.
have every confidence that all monies donated WILL be
deductible, but until we get some kind of status or affiliation,
we can’t tell people that it is.
need to get someone SOON to handle this part.
On another note, I went to the "Mozart By
Candlelight" concert Saturday night (Jan 31), and I have
the program. In that program are the names of HUNDREDS of people
and corporations who support the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
It’s obvious these are people who like music, and want to see
it come to the community. We need to get someone to head up a
team to call on each of these people (eventually, not all in one
week) to see if they will support the community band as well.
This should be part of the Operations Division or the Executive
Maybe at the organizational meeting we'll find enough
volunteers to handle that.
The Interim BOD. Before the organizational meeting, I think we need to
see about assembling an Interim Board of Directors. I recommend
we start with us three, and add volunteers until we reach about
seven or nine people. It needs to be an odd number. Our criteria
for membership on this board should be this: That members of the
BOD are dedicated enough to getting the band started that
they’re willing to put in time (at least two evenings a week),
effort (willing to actually do
something besides attend meetings), and money (whatever they can
afford) to help get the band started. We don’t want drones. We
don’t want people on the board just for the status of it. We
want people who will get things done.
The IBOD will need to get all the initial activities
rolling. This includes
Getting a (volunteer) executive director who will get the
ball rolling on getting us granted non-profit status. The ED
will be the principal liaison between the BOD and the non-profit
business of the band.
Writing and approving a constitution and bylaws
Doing initial fund-raising.
will need approximately $1000 just to pay for all the things we
need to get non-profit status.
will also need about $500 for initial music purchase so we can
have our first concert.
can probably borrow the instruments and equipment we need until
we can purchase our own.
all Mississippi State requirements for NP organizations. This
includes registering as a NonProfit corporation, filing with the
Secretary of State so we can solicit contributions, and any
other actions that might be needed.
Recruiting and qualifying Permanent Board of Directors
I know from experience getting non-profit status takes most
of a year. So we can't wait for NP status before we do anything
else. We’ve got to just keep rolling, anticipating that NP
status will come.
IBOD will serve in interim status for not more than one year.
During the year, they will work on the taskings above. By the
end of the one year interim period, they will either convert to
permanent status or turn over their Board membership to the
The Permanent BOD. The makeup, quantity, duties, and terms of service
for members of the PBOD will be set out in the Bylaws.
I suggest there be between 15 and 25 PBOD members,
and that they serve three year terms, staggered so that
approximately 1/3 of the members are new each year.
We need to discuss what the PBOD duties will be.
might be a good idea to begin thinking of generating a Band
Member’s Handbook, something we’ll give to each
member of the band. We should also make it available on the
Member’s Handbook should contain such things as
The Band’s Vision, Mission, Philosophy, and
The Code of Conduct (see below) for Members
Rehearsal schedule – tells what time to show up,
what time the rehearsal starts, where it will be (if known), and
any sectional rehearsals.
Dress expectations – what members will be
expected to wear at concerts.
Contact Information – Who the current staff
members are and how to get in touch with them
Staff Structure – how the different divisions of
the band are laid out, what the responsibilities are, and how to
get in touch with them
Music Committee Guidelines – what guidelines the
Music Committee follows in selecting the music for rehearsals
and the program for concerts
Suggestions – how to submit suggestions for the
band, the music, the operations, fund-raising, or non-profit
Membership Requirements – what’s required of
Composer Guidelines – What to do if you want to
write music for the Band
Feature Performer(s) Guidelines – What to do if
you know of a soloist or an ensemble the Band might feature in a
Awards – What awards are available to people in
Events Calendar – should contain as much as we
know about rehearsals, concerts, social events, and other
Member’s Handbook needs to be a dynamic, easily
updated, and easily distributed. This pretty much means digital
format. However, we need to consider that there will be members
who don’t have computers, so we need to have it available in a
paper-based version as well.
might also consider having as our primary or only criteria for
being a performing member are that the member has (a) received,
read and understood a copy of the Band Member’s
Handbook, and (b) they agree to abide by the Code Of
Conduct contained in it. We should probably get their signature
on a document that says all this before they are allowed to
participate in a concert. Getting this document should be the
responsibility of the Section Leader.
One of the highest
priority items that will make this band a success is how well we
communicate among all concerned, including, members, staff, and
We should have a
notification tree for each division of the Band – the Music
Division, the Executive Division, and the Operations Division.
person affiliated with the Band should have a preferred
and alternate means of contact.
I suggest that for any communications with an action date
of 1 day or more in the future, we have a default preference of email,
because it is least expensive and easiest to administer. For any
communications with an action date within 24 hours, we use the telephone.
I would suggest that U.S. mail and printed communications be the
lowest priority, because they are slowest to deliver and cost
can also use the website as a means of broadcast
communication, but should not rely on it to communicate critical
information to members. In other words, if someone shows up to a
concert wearing clown shoes, we can’t point to the website and
say “Well it says on the website you were supposed to wear
swim fins!” Critical information should be individually
As soon as we get an
official name, I’ll get us a website up and running. It will
be an information-only website, and I will be able to give all
the staff members their own email address at the website.
example, if we become the “Mid-Mississippi Community Symphonic
Band,” we might get www.mmcsb.org as our website, and your
email could be firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I can
also have those email addresses forwarded to your main email
address so you don’t have to check it all the time.
we get a permanent website, we can use www.snicko.com/band as
our website. I’ve already put some information up there, and
as we get more information, I’ll post it there as well.
In this band, perhaps
more than any other, it is important to have strong section
Leaders should get to know everyone in their section very well.
A section leader does not have to be the best player in the
section, but rather should be the person in the section who (a)
can play (or is willing to learn) all the music, (b) is willing
to do the work necessary to make sure everyone in the section
can and will play the music, and (c) is willing to do the work
necessary to stay in touch with all members of the section.
means occasional sectional rehearsals, it means making an
unpopular decision or demand once in a while, and it means doing
a bit more work than everyone else, for the good of the band.
means making special efforts to be at every rehearsal and
concert, and staying in constant touch with all the members of
the section to be aware of when they’ll be there and when they
believe that having strong section leaders is one of the key
issues that will make this band a roaring success.
The music committee
will consist of the Music Director and at least two other
people. I don’t know if we ought to put an upper limit on the
number of people on the committee, but we need to remember if we
put too many people on it, nothing will ever get done.
job of the music committee will be to (a) select the music to be
played at each concert, and (b) to determine which music to
purchase or borrow.
need to write into the bylaws or the Band Member’s
Handbook the guidelines for the Music Committee to
follow. Some suggestions for Music Committee guidelines are:
The music should be fun to play and fun to listen
The Music Committee should always listen to
suggestions, whether the suggestions come from members, helpers,
or the audience. A very important issue here is that whenever
anyone makes a suggestion, the suggester should ALWAYS receive a
reply from someone on the committee. The reply could be along
the lines of “Thanks so much for suggesting this! We’ll play
that in our October concert,” or “We’d love to play it,
but we can’t afford to buy it yet,” or “We’d love to
play it, but there’s no arrangement available, so we’re
getting in touch with the copyright owner to see if it’s okay
for us to write our own arrangement,” or even possibly “That
was a great suggestion, but unfortunately we feel that tune
would cause too many bad feelings in some of our audience, so we
must regretfully decline your generous suggestion,” or even
“What a great suggestion. Thanks. We have our concert
schedules pretty much set until mid 2005, but if you’ll
re-suggest this in early 2005, just to show us you still want
it, we’ll try to get it on the program.” This will ensure
that people don’t feel ignored.
The program should follow a sequence that will
keep the audience interested and entertained.
The selected music should give consideration to
the desires and sensitivities of ALL our audience.
For example, some people might want to hear “Dixie,”
but it might offend others, so it should not be in our
While it would be good to put an occasional
“serious” piece of music on the program, we must exercise
great care to make sure it’s not too long or too boring.
I’ve heard it said that when writing copy there’s no such
thing as copy that’s too long – there’s only copy that’s
too boring. I believe that’s true of music as well. We need to
be absolutely sure that everything we play is fun to listen to.
We need a committee
(part of the Operations Division) to make sure we are absolutely
clear on copyrights. There should not be even a hint of
impropriety or infringement.
need permission from copyright holders
to play the music at a concert for which we charge
to arrange music when applicable
to record the music and sell CDs when applicable
should probably establish a precedent of charging an admission
fee for each concert. Since this is a community group, it should
be nominal, something everyone can afford. There might even be
group rates for schools, churches, or other groups. But there
should be a charge, if only to cover the rental of the facility,
music purchase, and equipment moving and purchase.
If possible – both
physically and legally – we ought to record all our concerts.
could create CDs of our concerts and sell them to anyone who
wants them, for funds to help finance the band.
Just a thought.
It would be an
absolutely GREAT idea to have periodic social events for the
entire group. We could have a summer picnic and a Christmas
We might consider
several types of events:
Sectional Events (brass, WW, percussion)
All associates – players, staff, volunteers
All supporters – invite all contributors and
It would also be a
good idea for each section leader to have a social get-together
for the section once or twice a year.
should probably set up a series of awards for various
categories, such as
Most improved player
Most dedicated member
Most contributory staff member
Most contributory volunteer
Best Suggestion of the Year
would be good to have a couple dozen awards. There can’t be
too much recognition of people who help out. They could be
designated and administered by the Awards Committee.
AWARDS committees should be under the direction and supervision
of the Operations Division.
should always be an active and continuing Suggestions
Program. We want the band to be the best it can possibly
be. There will be a wealth of intelligence and ideas among the
members, staff, volunteers, and supporters.
Program will be a way for people to get their ideas to
the people that can do something with them.
as with the music committee, one of the primary guidelines for
the Suggestions Program will be to give timely and
appropriate feedback to suggesters.
Committee will consist of at least the three Directors,
the President (if different) and a representative of the Board
of Directors. There may be additional members as needed.
will be the job of the planning committee to determine the
future shape and direction of the Band, to suggest to the Board
any changes in Vision, Mission, Philosophy, or Goals, and to lay
out the Near Term Plans, the Mid-Range Plans, and the Long Range
Committee will meet at least quarterly, for as long as
it takes, and will issue new planning documents after each
committee will accept suggestions from any source.
There’s a lot of information
here, and we don’t want it to get lost. This means we have to
might be best to organize it into the Band Operations and
Policy Manual. This book would be the official policy
book for the entire organization. It would contain the
Constitution, the Bylaws, the Band Member’s Handbook,
and all other guidance, details, resolutions, and procedures
under discussion and approved by the Board of Directors.
it would be the current official position of the group.
it would be expected to change rapidly, it should be a digital
document, and it should be available to anyone at any time.
need a lot of printing done. It would be a good idea to see if
we can get a corporate sponsor who is a printer. I know a great
trumpet player who owns a print shop in Long Beach but that’s
a bit far away. However, if we can’t find a local person (we ought
to be able to!), I’ll ask him. He loves music, and might give
us a great price on printing. But for sure, let’s try local
David P. Miller
February 2, 2004