Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Mid-Atlantic Region

Upper Potomac Music Weekends: They Need YOUR Help! by midatlanticcce
December 30, 2009, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Classes / Lessons / Education, General Announcement

This just in:

Joanie Blanton, director
Upper Potomac Music Weekends
PO Box 1474
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
(304) 263-2531

Dear Upper Potomac Students and teachers:

Happy Holidays! This note is to let you know about the true status of our upcoming programs and to encourage you to sign up. We have three great programs coming up in the next few months and we are at a real turning point. Our numbers are low, lower than they’ve been in our 22 year history and it is not just a poor economy that is affecting them, although I am sure it has had a profound effect.
After our spring programs, we will either be rolling up the rug, taking a hiatus from programs or rethinking our current plan and programs. What we do will actually be determined by what we hear from you and how you respond to our winter/spring offerings. If we have lost our sense of mission, or our ability to meet your needs or interests, then we need to change, but if these programs are important to you, you need to participate in order to keep them strong and vibrant.
Over the last two decades we have striven to provide some of the finest teachers and performers for the dulcimer, fiddle, pipes, and a wide variety of traditions. We think that our programs are unique and offer something of value to students in our region.
If you care about these programs, you can participate and help us keep them alive, regardless of what your current financial status is or whether you actually make it in person to a weekend. We rely not only on your attendance, but on your feedback and communication as well. It is the grist that feeds the mill and helps us keep up with your needs and wishes!
You can help us by signing up for a weekend! If you can’t come … then you could help us by:

  • Asking about our scholarship opportunities if you need help. Find out what we offer, let us know what you need. We want you to come!
  • Too busy? Attend part of a weekend, or help someone else attend: Donate to our Scholarship fund! (It is tax-deductible).
  • Encourage others to come… share our brochure and website with your friends, students and colleagues.
  • Help us get the word out: Print out and post a brochure at a music store, library, or other place. Announce it at a jam session, concert or dance. Post an announcement in a newsletter, web chat group, or post a link on your Facebook page. Email us for content.
  • Let us know how you want us to change, for change we must in order to survive these tumultuous times.

We have never needed your help as much as we do right now… next year may be too late for us.
These kinds of support activities help the programs to thrive and get the information to new students. Even if you are at a point where you can’t come frequently… others can come in your place if you help us get the word out… but if students don’t come, then our mission has failed.

I recognize that these are extraordinary times and may be our last days… I plan to give more scholarships than ever to our upcoming programs if people ask for them, so if it helps you to attend, please don’t hesitate to ask. Teachers, tell your students about these opportunities.

I am planning what will happen next year in the next few weeks, so if a type of program is valuable to you… vote with your presence, so that we can continue it.

  • If you like the dulcimer classes, sign up early for spring (even with just a deposit) or take Maggie’s one day class at the Piper’s weekend.
  • Are fiddle programs of interest? Sign up for a fiddle class at any one of the upcoming weekends.
  • Miss the Irish weekend? Take some of the Irish music classes at the Pipers Weekend or Fiddle Retreat, or try out the Acadian Fiddle or Sampler class at the Spring Music Weekend.

Send us a check or use our new PayPal account: Upper Potomac Dulcimer Fest. We can invoice you to make it easier.
I can’t say how much I have enjoyed working with all of you students, teachers and friends over the years. If this year is our last for a long time, I want to say thanks for all of your warmth, good cheer and music over these last two decades, if it is not… then it is a true honor to serve all of you in providing a small piece of musical opportunity here in Shepherdstown.
Thanks for reading this… and for those of you who do something about it, double thanks! And I do hope to hear from you or see each and every one of you in the coming season.

All the best,

Joanie Blanton


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