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Sharing Our Spirit

posted Feb 8, 2011, 2:24 PM by OregonSpirit   [ updated Feb 8, 2011, 2:24 PM ]
A couple of our members -- both new and "old"
members -- recently raised to the Management Team an
extremely important (and courageous) topic that
we need to honor and address.

It is a topic that every chorus grapples with as it grows:
being careful to include all of our members -- including
our newer members -- in our fellowship.

The bottom line is that some of our newer members are feeling a
bit excluded.

I know that most of us would agree that there
is nothing more important than the spirit
we exude and the connections we make. In our chorus
and in our lives. I can totally see how new members
would want to be part of our "spirit" but feel excluded.

The focus we have -- as a a chorus and as individuals --
sometimes interferes with us noticing things
-- and in particular people -- right in front of us.

This issue of seeming like a clique or "old girls' network"
is going to be even more difficult with the "no talking
on the risers professionalism" that we are all in
agreement about (I thought that it went great last Thurs
and see no reason that it won't continue).

Here's what the Management Team suggests:

- From now on, we will open the doors to the community
center at 6:00 p.m. so that those who are able to
be there early (and each week's 6:00 attendees will
obviously change each week because of everyone's
schedules) can see other members to chat and be social and
find out what we're doing outside of chorus etc.
In short, people are welcome to come and hang out anytime
after 6:00 so that we can see each other off of the risers.

Also, let's all please make an effort to let each
other know if we're doing something that we're willing
to share with other members and that would be fun.
For example, the community center's Bowl-A-Thon
(more on this later), karaoke, Jill's suggestions
for watching great performers together, and Cathy's email
about the Sing-Off group performing at the Salem

If all of us are going to make a concerted effort
to be quiet and focused on the risers (and I believe
we will), and with the "growing" that we have been
doing and will undoubtedly continue to do (we were
half as big a chorus just two years ago), we will also
have to make a concerted effort to make all of our
members -- particularly our newer members -- feel
completely welcome and part of our group.

This means that every single one of us has to understand
that -- as a group of women -- we may not realize that we
come off as old friends who know each other very well and
who aren't interested in knowing our newer members quite
as well. The truth is, we KNOW that our newer members
are every bit as interesting and invaluable and wonderful
as our "older" members are. But we have to let them know that
we KNOW that! And we have to get to know them! Every single
one of us.

So, learn to pronounce and spell each other's names correctly,
ask why a member was gone (she was probably sick or out of town
or doing urgent business), and definitely do NOT make any
assumptions about each other. None of us are psychic. The
only want to get to know and understand each other is to
communicate and listen and connect.

So, please come to the community center between 6:00 and 6:45
whenever you can so that we can connect with each other off of
the risers. And please refrain from assuming anything; instead,
ask questions (off the risers) and engage. Make it a point to
talk with someone you don't know well before or after every

On a different but related note, we are going to very shortly
be asking for members to consider running for a position on the
chorus Management Team. At this point, I need a few volunteers
to serve on the Nominating Committee to recruit new Management
Team members (folks serving on the nominating committee can not
run for the MT themselves). Please let me know if you are willing
to serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee
talks to members and finds members who are interested in serving
on the MT and presents a ballot of potential MT members to the
chorus for a vote. The vote for MT members will be March 12th
this year (at the end of our March Saturday morning rehearsal).

Being on the Management Team means attending a meeting once a month, and
chairing a position such as secretary, membership, marketing, finance,
events, ways&means, or team coordination. Each MT member has responsibilities
associated with that role. But a really good chair is good at
recruiting committee chairs and assisting those comm.chairs with the
individual topics/events/roles entailed with each committee.

The nominating committee will be recruiting members
to run for at least 2 Management Team positions in the
next few weeks. Please consider running. You don't have to run
for a particular position. The new MT will decide between themselves
which role each MT member will take.

Newer members are absolutely critical on the MT so that it doesn't turn into
an "older members network." The chorus changes with each member
who joins and the MT should reflect those changes.

Thanks for reading this lengthy email.

Please attend if you are able.

- micky