The following email was sent to all members of Region 15 on June 2, 2020.
Dear Region 15 Members,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well despite all the uncertainty and disruption that we’ve been dealing with. Many of you are not very familiar with me, so I would like to tell you a little bit about my leadership style. I believe that communication is the most impactful tool that a leader can use, in good times and bad, and my default approach is to over-communicate with full transparency – some may say it’s too much, but it is what I do and it has served me well for a long time. With that in mind, I struggled to put this message together because of what is going on across the country at this moment in time. I wanted to send an uplifting and friendly “30 day update” to the region, but I also did not want to ignore the horrific death of Mr. Floyd and the disturbing aftermath.
I know that, like me, so many of our members are feeling heartsick, scared, angry, hopeless, isolated, and powerless. Our country, our local communities, friends and loved ones are in pain. At the same time our world is in disarray, we have also lost access to very thing that brings so many of us comfort, connection, joy, and stress relief – singing together. I want you to know that I and the others on the Regional Management Team (RMT) care deeply about every one of you. We are meeting more than ever before to talk about ways to support all of our members’ needs and we feel a very strong responsibility to keep our “family” connected and engaged. I would like to tell you a little bit about what we’ve been doing.
It has only been 30 days since I was honored to assume the role of RMT Coordinator from Beth Fulton, but in some ways, it seems like ages ago. I was so happy to see Beth receive the Harriette Walters Leadership Award during our May 9 Chorus Watch Party on Facebook Live. She has been a wonderful leader for our Region in several different roles over the years and she is greatly missed as a member of the RMT. I’m thankful for the time I had working with her on the RMT for the past two years and also for her valuable guidance and support as I transitioned into this new role.
I am also very grateful to be working with all those on the current RMT:
* Phyllis Capolongo – Finance Coordinator
* Kiara Contreras – Marketing / PR Coordinator
* Jeanne Elmuccio – Directors Coordinator
* Melissa Prew – Membership Coordinator
* Jean Schoenlank – Education Coordinator
* Vicki Tisch – Communications Coordinator
* Kay Weiss – Events Coordinator
Like many of you, the RMT members are struggling with the impact of social distancing on our lives, families, jobs, social activities, and physical and mental well-being. We are worried about what the future holds for our beloved Sweet Adelines organization, chorus, and quartet lives. We’ve heard some disturbing predictions about how long it will be before it is safe to sing together again and at the same time, we are creatively and optimistically exploring new ways to remain connected, share our love of music and move forward together in harmony. There is nobody with whom I would rather be working at this time than those on our current RMT.
We are also very fortunate to have smart, caring, and level-headed leaders at the helm of SAI providing guidance, information, and educational content on a regular basis. We were thrilled to have our new SAI President, Joan Boutilier, join us to kick off our Watch Party weekend on May 8 and to have Past President Renee Porzel join us on May 9. If you were unable to attend those events live and would like to see them, you can watch by following these links:
Quartet Watch Party: https://www.facebook.com/GreaterNYNJRegion15/videos/647384932480085/
Chorus Watch Party: https://www.facebook.com/GreaterNYNJRegion15/videos/376695586585914/
We received such a great outpouring of positive comments about our Watch Party Weekend. Of course it was a bittersweet event because we all would have preferred to be in Albany together. But speaking on behalf of my co-host, Jean Schoenlank, our wonderful facilitator and organizer, Vicki Tish, and the entire RMT, I can tell you that our goal was to provide some distraction to help ease the pain of isolation for a few hours and help our members feel connected to each other. Based on your feedback, I’m proud to say we accomplished that. If you were one of the few people who were hoping for a full replay of last year’s competition instead of a Watch Party interspersed with interviews, you are in luck – because you can watch last year’s full competition webcast at the following link: https://malone-media.com/sairegion15/
I wish I could provide you with a fully baked roadmap to our “new normal” but right now we only have the knowledge and ability to focus on some short-term Regional activities. Last night, the RMT sadly, albeit expectedly, decided to cancel in-person plans for VocalFest. However, you can take heart because we do have an array of events in the planning stages. Going forward, we are planning to have at least one virtual event per month. Some will be educational, some inspirational, some entertaining and some – simply social. The RMT has put together a plan for these events through the end of the year. Below are some placeholder dates and topics, which are subject to change based on technical resources and facilitator availability.
* June 26 — Member Longevity Awards and Chorus Milestone Anniversaries
* July 24 — Renee Craig Memorial Tribute
* August 28 — Team Coordinator Roundtable
* September 12 — Virtual VocalFest
* October 23 — Member of Note Recognition
* November 20 — Regional Competition Committee Roundtable
* December 18 — Zoom Holiday Glow
We are also planning to have RMT members join your virtual chorus meetings this summer in order to provide a personal connection for each chorus to Regional leaders; to provide updates on Regional news, administration/finance issues, and events; and to answer any questions you may have. We have assigned RMT representatives to each chorus and they will be reaching out to chorus leadership in the coming days to schedule mutually convenient meeting times.
In closing, I wish all of you good health and good spirits in the months to come, and I encourage you to reach out to me any time with questions or suggestions on how the RMT can support the members of Region 15, through this crisis period and beyond.
Lori Britt Horvath
Your Region 15 Regional Management Team Coordinator