Fun at an annual meeting? Who says not?

  • Nov. 12, 2003 7:00 a.m.

By Jeff King

(The following is factually true, but departs (ever so) slightly from our normal news format. If you think this will offend you, please click to another website or find something else to do.)

The QCI Arts Council has an exciting, performance-packed year upcoming, members learned at its annual general meeting held in Queen Charlotte (Nov. 4).
Despite spending $2,000 more than it took in last year, the non-profit society is financially solvent and aiming to put on numerous performances, including probably bringing CBC personality and author Bill Richardson to the islands in July.
This performance and several others are “semi totally planned,” literary arts represetative Adele Weder told the group, leaving the meaning of ‘semi totally’ without rigorous definition. She also noted council members would love to hear more suggestions on authors they’d like to see come to the islands.
The coffee house season run by the council is set to start Saturday December 6 in Queen Charlotte, and will follow the popular and proven format of three sets, the first and last each with a well known local performer, the centre set with an open mike concept where anybody (and possibly everybody) can perform. This format is popular with the audience as it limits the amount of time they are exposed to
unrehearsed, possibly unpolished, although never untalented local acts, while guaranteeing them two solid sets per coffeehouse. (This last sentence is conjecture (possibly deduction) on your writer’s part, based on his perception of what was unspoken at the meeting and his experience with past coffeehouses).
Other projects the arts council is involved in include updating a list of local artists, and bringing several performers, including a 10-15 member African dance troupe and Penny Lang, a Montreal-based blues singer, to the islands.
Anyone with other ideas on the performing arts can also have their suggestions heard-just call any arts council member. “We are asking all of you here, anybody who is interested in putting something on, come forward and help us,” said outgoing and, as it turned out, incoming president Elizabeth Inkster.
The arts council implemented an intriguing method of making the annual meeting format fun, by taking a break every twenty minutes or so and having members demonstrate their art form. Caetlyn Epner started things of with some modern dance, followed by Fran Fowler’s slide show quiz, Judy Hilgemann showing work from the Kidzart program she’s involved in, and finally by Elizabeth Inkster singing accompanied by pianist Lynn Lee in a short classical set.
Best line of the evening award (I know we are not supposed to express opinion in a news story, but what the heck, it happens extremely rarely and after all, it is my website) goes to Judy Hilgemann who wanted to convey the message that while she is a great supporter of the arts council, she has no time this year to serve on its executive. “I have a two year old, leave me alone,” she said. This was funnier than it reads and caused much laughter, followed by a noticeable reddening of Ms Hilgemann’s face. (This excuse, which we find valid, was a refreshing change from what goes on at many other annual meetings, where suddenly, as reps are needed, all eyes go down, and a thick silence falls).
The arts council also elected its executive for the coming year. Elizabeth Inkster is to continue as president, Evelyn von Almassy vice-president, Fran Fowler remains secretary, with performing arts rep Caetlyn Epner, literary arts reps Astrid Green and Adele Weder, and Pat Carrie Smith and Tom Smith from Sandspit representing that community. Frank Wall, despite his absence, was confirmed in the role of house manager, something all members seemed comfortable with. (Hopefully Frank will be too). Members also heard that there are expressions of interest from an unnamed person or persons to represent Masset and Port Clements.
One impossible thing the arts council is succeeding at-getting younger. It attracted about twenty people to the meeting, more than usual, and a significant percentage of them are likely to know what hip-hop music is all about. How old does than make them? I don’t know enough about hip-hop myself to even hazard a guess. Younger than 50 by decades.
All in all, an excellent working meeting. Other groups ought to come up with as innovative a format as this to attract members to their annual meetings. Bravo!