May 3, 2018


Present: Skot Caldwell, Pamela Bandy Dafoe, Elaine Brown, Andy, Rush, Sherry Aylesworth, Mary Gauthier, Diana Hopkins Rosseel

Regrets: Linda Williams, Linda Johnson and Jerry Weller

Meeting location: 50 Livingston Street, Kingston (613-542-6992)

Meeting commenced at: 7:00 p.m.

  1. Minutes approval: 29 March 2018 – Minutes were approved.

  2. Business Arising

    1. Response to complaint of disrespectful behaviour brought forth at March meeting:

Linda Williams sent following comments via email: Janice thanked Skot and I for the public statement, as did 2 other women (however, not the original person who initiated the complaint)

The Board all agreed that Linda and Skot handled this situation very respectfully.

Action: It was agreed that the Board review the OV choir mission each September.

    1. Governance:

Elections planning: There will be an election in two weeks

  • The following Board members are leaving: Linda Johnson, Diana Hopkins-Rosseel, and Linda Williams

  • The following Board members will continue their term: Pamela Bandy-Dafoe, Skot Caldwell

  • The following Board members will stand for a 3rd term: Jerry Weller and Elaine Brown

  • The following Board positions to fill: Minimum of 2, with preference of 4

  • Board nominations to date: Allan Cary and Mary Gauthier have expressed interest.

  • Action items for election: Elaine to prepare ballots and Diana to print.

  • Elaine will count for quorum.

Jerry and Pam will count ballots.

Diana will run the election with Linda Williams as 2nd.

Board Recruitment ideas: The following suggestions were sent by Linda Williams by email for Board consideration and discussion:

Need a PLAN B if names don’t come forward by May 9th . I think you all know I love serving choir by being on the Board but the idea of kicking the recruitment problem down the line for 2 years won’t be sustainable for long. Possible solutions include:

  • May 9th : tell the choir who is standing for election. If there are not enough candidates, then I will consider a second 2-year term, meaning there are 2 positions to fill at most. If either Elaine or Diana are willing to return, I would re-think my offer, to push the issue.

  • Reiterate that the life of Open Voices is threatened if members fail to step forward and take a leadership role. Ask members to speak to any Board member if they are willing to stand. If there is a run on interest, I can withdraw.

  • On May 16th, the exiting Board members (Elaine, Diana, Linda W) show solidarity with the 3 Board members completing the second half of their term, plus Jerry who wants to serve a 3rd term, by NOT stepping up again. How would the choir react if there are empty chairs at the front?

  • To fill the Board if not enough people step forward:

PLAN #1:

The Board has power to appoint choir members to the Board but it’s NOT a great thing to have to do.

The bylaws state: 4.9 Vacancy: If a vacancy occurs and if there is still a quorum on the Board, the remaining Directors may by unanimous vote appoint a qualified person to serve the balance of the term of the former Director. If no quorum of Directors remains in office, the remaining Directors shall call a meeting of Members to fill the vacancies. At that meeting the Members shall elect Directors to serve the balance of the terms of the former Directors.

PLAN #2- which is what I favour rather than #1 above:

  • Don’t have the election in May, but wait until Sept as we have done in the past. Use the remaining choir term to seek input from the choir through a quick feedback session during a rehearsal, e.g.: “Honestly: What is holding you back from volunteering on the Board?

  • Host a relaxed conversation (focus group) with as many former Board members as possible re. their experience on the Board and what changes could be made to make it a more appealing possibility for new Board members.

  • Then have a Board retreat over spring or summer to look at what we’re doing and how to make it “lighter” or address other barriers that the choir raises in their feedback.

e.g. Maybe we need to look at the scope of “work” this working Board does? Make a concerted effort to build a committee structure? Make a clear expectation of choir members that serving on the Board is a “must” (how draconian!) Re-think how many Board members are needed, if there is an active committee structure (My observation; when talking to possible candidates, I sense that some are very concerned about the unexpected work load. Current new Board members may feel the same? Other’s feel they don’t have the skills to follow in someone’s shoes.)

PLAN #3: Linda asked if there were any creative ideas??

The following points were discussed:

It was noted that there are pros and cons to limiting terms on the Board.

  • People may feel obliged to stay on Board. They might not want to continue but do so out of duty if others do not step up.

  • When too many Board members leave at the same time, you could end up with an inexperienced Board.

  • Is it possible to run the Board with 6 members and create more volunteerism through committees

  • If there are too few nominations to fill spaces, or the Board is too “fresh”, then continue with fall election as has been done in previous years. In this case, the current Board would need to actively work on clearly defined portfolios over the summer to be prepared for Fall election and to speed up process of transitioning new Board members.

Action: It was decided to go forward on May 16th with a minimum of 6 Board members.

AGM: proposal about moving:

Action: Defer this item for new Board agenda.

New Board Orientation (Diana)

June 28th is to be kept as a Board meeting. It was decided that a Board social to be planned for another time and not as part of the Board meeting. The social is important to say goodbye to current Board members leaving.

Action Items:

i) May 16th- Meet and Greet for New Board members: share portfolios after choir in Friendship room. A meeting date to be set to include both current and new Board members.

ii).New Board members to determine which portfolios they wish to carry and meet with Board member who holds that portfolio. The new board will set Board meeting dates. The current Board will support new Board through the summer

Vocal Health Workshop Update (Andy):

Andy asked that the workshop be re-scheduled for a date next fall or winter.

Action: Diana to communicate with Karen Bright and schedule vocal workshop for mid October, or in February.

  1. Membership

    1. Progress report on registration process :

  • Final numbers after registration period ends on May 9th; any late registrations will be added to the lottery process.

  • 70 registrations have been returned.

Action: Elaine to send out an email to remind members about last chance to submit registration forms next week- May 9th

    1. Membership policy (Elaine)

    • Elaine has accumulated a package of background papers which include statistics of leaves, withdrawals, intakes and size of the choir each year from 2001-2002 to this year; previous policies; email discussions and other pertinent data to help this Board and any future Boards with the process and any possible changes to the Policy. Notes for consideration attached below.

    • Orientation for new Board members. Linda Williams. via email: Does anyone else think it would be very helpful if each of us could produce a job list or timeline of jobs related to the positions we held, by June? Jerry and Elaine have this well in hand, Skot has a concert Committee guideline to work from, we have a description of the Board and I have some recent notes on the duty of the chair of Board meetings and also the role of the Treasurer that Pam could add to. Andy could add his “job description” so a new Board member could have a good overview of different roles and responsibilities. Socials, community gigs and liaison roles needed, and ???

    1. Creation of Membership Committee (Elaine)- deferred.

    1. Summer intake process (Andy)-

Action: Elaine to ask interested people from last summer first before offering spaces. Afterwards, to be advertised if spots available. Members who did not re-register will need to go through the lottery process.

  1. Concert Committee

Grants: OV was approved for a $3,098 Community Foundation of Greater Kingston Grant. Naomi Robart and Nancy Muckow helped with this.

Concert – plans, next steps:

Andy and Skot will meet this Tuesday to figure out concert details. Andy has been meeting with children in choir.

Skot will ask Section Leaders to ask members in their sections to indicate who will be at both concerts.

Concert committee is working on details. The next meeting on May 15th at 7:00 pm. Diana to assist with concert committee.

Publicity (Jerry)

Update- Jerry sent a report via email.

Action: Jerry to bring posters to next meeting and report back each week with results

  1. Artistic Director

    1. Town Hall Update:

      • Town Hall was well attended (around 20 people) with a good mix of old and newer members. It was a great meeting and great ideas were generated.

      • It was apparent that there are strong beliefs around caring for fellow choir members and how much people love the choir.

      • Andy mentioned it might be a good idea to regularly host Town Halls.

The Bass section discussed accessibility with bass section to come up with some ideas and created a document created Bass Section Review.

Action Items:

i). Elaine to transcribe and flip chart Andy’s notes from Town Hall, so they can be shared with choir.

ii) Diana to scan and send Bass Section questions to all Section Leaders, to share with all sections.

OV announcements: It was agreed that non- OV announcements not be made during choir time. Members be asked to use front lobby “market place” instead. New members may not be aware of this policy. It was also discussed to revisit the use of a system for stuffing notices in other choir’s programs on a reciprocal basis. Need someone to willing to take this job on.

Action: Diana to make an announcement next week at choir to address the purpose of choir announcements and the market place.

    1. Accompanist update: Kim had some concerns that were addressed with Board and then discussed with Andy. Janice, Kim and Andy to work on these concerns. Skot asked Andy if there was anything Andy needed to assist with the communication.

Action: Pam to discuss with Andy how band members are paid and pay scale, which rehearsals and what they are paid for.

    1. Brian Tate concert update:

Grant was not approved for this concert. There is a fall grant option that could be applied for. Board will look into this grant.

Details for Brian Tate concert:

  • He will arrive on Wednesday. There will be a concert on Saturday night.

  • Concert might be a collaboration with She Sings and Kingston Youth Choir.

  • There would be workshops for conductors, choral leaders on Thursday and Friday, dress on Saturday, Saturday afternoon an open singing event, evening concert with She Sings, Kingston Youth Choir and Open Voices.

  • Money would be divided for 2/3 for OV and 1/3 for She Sings. This description was put forth in Grant.

  • Repertoire: each choir to do 3 on their own including having a ‘mass’ choir as well. OV would be learning 6 or 7 songs. With limited repertoire choir could get off book.

  • Isabel is booked with estimate which is high. It will likely be a sell out with one evening concert.

  • This concert to be named: Nature of Joy


Coco Alorn Concert: – Venue- Cookes February 2nd.

    1. Summer newsletter: Andy thought it might be nice to put out a summer OV print newsletter.

Action: Andy to see if there is interest in choir in creating a summer print newsletter. He will post a flip chart requesting volunteers. Those interested will sit on a newsletter committee.

    1. Communication with teachers- Andy and Tim Aylesworth will create a Youtube video channel for teachers. This will contain instructions and music teachers can share with students for the upcoming June concert.

    1. Suggestion Box: Comments to be directed to board.

  1. Treasurer: Pam:

    • Report sent by email.

    • $105.54 was all that was spent by OV for the Tuskegee concert.

    • Finances look to be right on target as was projected.

    • Action: In future there needs to be an overall discussion on budget after audited review.

  1. Music Committee (Andy)

Minutes were circulated from March meeting.

  1. Other:

Syrian family concert follow-up: Diana discussed the Board’s suggestion with Carole Rosseel, who was very pleased Therefore, in the fall, interested OV choir members will sing a few songs with the possibility of She Sings and Eve in a small concert. Diana to coordinate a meeting with Carole and Andy. Carole wondered if Andy would like to sing with some of the Syrian people who are musicians? He was very interested in this idea. The Rosseel family will be producers of this event. Andy suggested fairly easy repertoire- possibly 4 songs should be considered for this event.

Peace Quest: Andy mentioned that a group called Oka Vango will sing at Peace Quest. The possible set list f or this concert might be: Day Without, From a Distance, Break down these walls, True Colours, Wild Flower.


Membership Policy Review 2018- Elaine Brown

Our only written policy is The Membership Policy which contains written clarification regarding registration, dues, attendance, leaves of absence and new members. The Policy is reflected in the Registration form for returning and new members. Our form ‘Joining Open Voices – Expression of Interest’ represents us to the public along with our website and our Facebook page.

Originally approved by the Board on April 28, 2010, the Policy spoke to issues dealing with the inconsistencies in how individual requests for leave were handled when some requests were denied and others were supported. It then relieved the Membership representative from having to make ad hoc decisions. The Policy was revised and approved three times on May 1, 2010, June 18, 2013 and February 12, 2015 in order to address the expectations of the Board to the membership.

After monitoring the application of the policies since the 2015 revision, questions have arisen about whether the Policy is being adhered to with regards to the intended expectations or whether loopholes in the wording are being used without regard to the original intent. For instance although membership is for the full year, returning members are allowed to request a leave of absence. There are a few long standing members who have requested a one term (half year) leave consistently every year.

This review of the Policy is to clarify whether under:


          • to remove Note: “While the Board will make a reasonable attempt to contact these members,” and to change the statement to “the onus rests on the member to register and pay dues by the stated deadline unless arrangements have been made with the Membership representative”

Membership Dues

          • remain the same


          • the wording “expected to” should be removed thus making the statement “is to” or “are to”

          • to change the wording “members who miss more than 3 weekly practices” to 2 weekly practices

          • to change the wording about who is responsible for monitoring the absences – the Section Leaders, the Membership representative or the Artistic Director or all three in the given order and what circumstances need to be discussed with the member

          • to change the wording about who will speak to the member about absences – 1st by S.L., 2nd by M., 3rd by A.D.

          • to include the wording about who will be monitoring whether a member who has missed x number of absences is attending extra practices

Leaves of Absence

          • the half year leave will not be given as an option

          • a full year leave will not be given as an option

          • the option about leaves is self monitoring

          • the member needs to give reasons for their leave request

          • the half year leave option is able to be used consistently every year

New Members

          • to remove all references to a “temporary singer”

          • to remove ‘A vacancy created because a member takes a full year or a half year leave may be filled by bringing in a temporary singer who is given a one year singing opportunity.’

          • to add some wording about ‘the Membership representative after consultation with the Artistic Director will when adding new members use the list of people who were not selected in the lottery process of the current choral year. If no suitable candidates are found then the request will go out to the membership.

Other items that may be brought forward during the discussion process such as surveys of the membership with regards to the policies.

Elaine Brown

Membership representative

Discussion as a result of Elaine’s membership report:

Elaine has noticed trends in the membership. She could compile some statistics for Andy and the Board to review.

Action: Elaine to create a sub-directory for Board with membership information that will dove-tail the information that Susan Hara and Colleen Lahaise have compiled.

Action: Membership policy should be reviewed and defined by new and old Board members so that there is a policy by September.

  • Skot asked a question about why the membership policy has changed. Diana indicated that there have been 4 policy reviews.

  • Skot pointed out that there is a current policy that has been reviewed to meet the needs of the choir and should the current policy need to be reviewed? He noted that Elaine’s membership document has posed many questions that may need to be reviewed. An issue that comes up repeatedly is the option of members to take leaves.

  • Elaine pointed out that there needs to be a definition of choir member.

  • Andy mentioned that there seems to be a concern in membership numbers dropping in the spring of each year.

  • Elaine’s research will allow the board to look at this information and consider data and options until the next registration.

  • Elaine then shared some of her thoughts to motivate the choir. See notes attached.

  • There was a discussion about Elaine’s thoughts. Andy thanked Elaine for sharing her feedback. The Board thanked Elaine for all her hard work.

  1. Meeting Adjourned: 9:25 pm

Addendum #1.

Thoughts on choir motivation, by Elaine Brown

 long hard cold winter took its toll
. get back to basics
. make choir fun again
. we need to be reminded why we sing 
. motivate people get them out of a rut, let everyone sit down and then have them move rows or move sections
. is our purpose performance – less window dressing and more on good old acapella singing
. Instead of taking 17 weeks to prepare for a concert why not take 10 to 13 and use the rest of the time to just sing for the joy of it. 
. get people in on choir nights to teach better methods of singing, breathing, how to sing with others, how to read music & dynamics, solfege, how to project, learning rhythms, movements of a beat, accent
. conductors were amazed at the infrastructure and just concerned themselves with teaching the music no other worriesl
. people put a lot of energy into making them happen and worked together & had fun. 
. keep people moving 
. practice different methods
. a leader calls out a line and the people respond in a mournful, soaring chorus or emote songs
. ask people how they feel – tired, energized,
. use the endorphins
. kept up with my singing lessons in spite of sore throats to learn how my body makes sound
. More definition of roles, who is responsible A.D. or Board

Addendum #2.

Choir Statistics on Leaves of Absences since 2002

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