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Thank You

Open Letter of Appreciation:
To the Volunteers of SacSings! 2016

What a wonderful, marvelous festival we crafted – in so many ways the best of the three!

And I want to emphasize the “we” in the above statement. So many people have put their shoulders to the wheel to bring this ‘good idea’ of an outstanding musical experience to life. We saw more cooperation, spontaneous helpers, chorus interaction, positive energy and enthusiasm than ever before.

Caryl, the house manager, asked me several weeks ago to sum up the point of the festival – state its ‘prime directive’ or ‘driving philosophy’. While the organization’s mission statement got close, I finally came up with this:

“SacSings is bringing choral music to life in the Sacramento Valley for both our singers and attendees!”

So I want to offer a detailed THANK YOU to everyone who helped bring this festival to life.

Any major endeavor starts with a vision, and the genesis of SacSings! was conceived in the heart of our Executive Director, Dick Frantzreb. Without his tireless faith and drive, not to mention hundreds of hours, we would never have sung the first note.

Over the last few years, our choral participants have helped the Sacramento Valley Choral Coalition board define and refine the festival concept. Many great ideas from last summer’s “focus groups” were critical to this year’s festival success.

The festival committee is responsible for crafting the ideas into actual plans. The SVCC Board members shouldered the huge tasks of building the foundations for the festival: Communication, Finance, Marketing, Sales, Advertising / Print Media, and Show Production. Special mention needs to go to board member Cynthia Cates who designed and managed the production of all our printed materials – from display ads and flyers to the festival program.

And of course, we must celebrate the months of hard work of 20 conductors and 900 singers to prepare their music and presentation. Many attendees said they felt every group was the best they had heard them.

All that only got us to the Festival Weekend. Then WE gathered at Sacramento City College to make it happen. I can’t state more strongly that our festival was knitted together by the 40+ volunteers who gave so much to do the figurative and literal building of the event.

To all of these dedicated folks I want to offer my deepest thanks and highest praise!

BACK STAGE

  • The staff and faculty of Sacramento City College were amazing in helping us run this show. Specifically, events coordinator Brenda Buckner and choral professor Daniel Paulson found every chair, box, light, key, stand and table we needed. There were facilities challenges that these two sweat bricks to overcome.
  • Throughout the entire weekend, volunteer Ed Lucas worked tirelessly as Security Manager setting up (and tearing down) signs and tables, policing the halls, directing singers and groups, and generally being on the spot to help everyone who asked. His smile and charm calmed nerves back stage in the heat of the show. Volunteer William Faulkner also helped with security and tear-down.
  • Three volunteers - Bryon Tucker, Kati Garner and Andy Gee - served as festival photographers, capturing many of our memorable moments.
  • Board member Clark Abrahamson was responsible for helping groups set up their displays.
  • Board member Mariia Pechenova handled chorus logistics, making sure the groups were prepared to enter the stage on cue.
  • We all appreciated those who provided snacks and supervision for the Hospitality Room: Eleanor Kenitzer, Kristi Matal, Joy Morgan, (probably others I didn’t know about), and Marjorie Overmire.
  • A big shout-out to Professor Paulson and the students in VOCALe who stayed to help clean up!

HOUSE

  • Ticket Manager Grace Earl was busy in the months running up to the festival setting up our on-line ticketing service. Then she handled the onsite ticket sales as well, with the help of volunteer Marjorie Overmire.
  • As Chorus Coordinator, volunteer Kristi Matal was a big part of our singers’ “Finale Rehearsal and Appreciation Party.” During the shows she also served as festival registrar and ‘go-to’ person, with the help of Win Rogers.
  • Volunteer Caryl Lipnick, from San Diego, stepped into the House Manager position to lead the front-of-the-house duties. She was supported by a rotating team of volunteer ushers:

Beverly Schilder, Carole Meltzer, Ruth O’Shea, Sandra Vella, Phil Hart, Carole Meltzer, Meg Burnett, Karen Shook, Monica Martinez, Diane Boul, Barbara Washington, Vick Vickland, and Carolyn Mastain

ON STAGE

  • The group Voices of California provided the risers. Chuck Copeland and several VoCal members set them up on Friday afternoon and tore them down Sunday night. 
  • For the third year, volunteer Joel Rowland – this time as Stage Manager –  travelled from the Bay Area to attend our “Director’s Orientation” in March. Then, arriving a day early, he was instrumental in setting up the radios, stage and lighting on Friday afternoon and into the evening. Brenda and Daniel also stayed late to get the stage ready.
  • Joel managed the staging of set, equipment and audio changes plus ran lighting with the help of stage-hand volunteers Benjamin Overmire, Derrick Winrow, Jerome Pryor, Diane Boul and Jim Cota.
  • Board members David Williams and Dick Frantzreb admirably handled the introductions and narration.
  • Board members Cynthia Cates, Diana Babcock and Mariia Pechenova provided accompaniment and direction for the mass-chorus finales.
  • Finally, another SCC professor, John Villec and his student assistant James Richardson, volunteered an amazing amount of time and effort to provide the audio equipment and sound engineering for live sound and recording. As a class project, John’s students will now work with the recordings to produce finished mix-downs of our music.

EDUCATION PROGRAM

  • While not officially a part of the festival, our thanks goes (again!) to SCC professor Daniel Paulson who organized the ‘master classes’ that ran concurrent with the show breaks. This enhancement to the festival environment included presenters Dr. David Newnham and Prof. Kathleen Poe plus the singers of VOCALe and the Davis Chamber Choir.

I’m sure some wonderful people are missing – I apologize for not getting you recorded! All of these volunteers were amazing. On behalf of myself, the SVCC Board and Festival Committee, participants and audience I want to express our gratitude for the parts each person played to make this the best SacSings to date!

Sincerely,

David Loofbourrow
SacSings Producer and Director
May 3, 2016

Postscript from Dick Frantzreb: 

There is not a person associated with any phase of SacSings who was not awed by the organizational, creative and management abilities of David Loofbourrow.  Among his first contributions, apart from overall guidance as a member of the Sacramento Valley Choral Coalition Board, was his design of the dazzling and informative SacSings website.  We were guided by the timeline he proposed for tasks to be completed in the run-up to the event.   He set up the volunteer website and was tireless in sourcing the many volunteers acknowledged above.  With his usual superb organizational sense, he developed written guidelines to help choruses plan their participation, and then conducted the Director’s Briefing on March 19 — following up by e-mail and phone, and in person on April 9.  Then he and Joel Rowland spent a full work day on the Friday before SacSings making and supervising preparations.  Finally, he led the sound checks for each SacSings concert — with calm professionalism, efficiency and grace — and directed the two days of concerts plus follow-up long into Sunday night.  I relied on David’s advice constantly in our preparations, and I can’t imagine a more competent, talented, upbeat, generous collaborator — and friend.

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