Our Philosophy | Our Mission | People | A Letter From Our Founder
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After months of planning and trying to find a good reason not to do it, I am launching the Seacoast Guitar Society, a local non-profit arts group. I have lived here in the Seacoast for 20 years, and I plan to stay here for many more, and I feel that it is time for me to get more involved in my community. I am hoping this will be a way for me to do more around here than just travel to other places to perform, or to simply promote my few local concerts or new recordings.
One of my life goals is to stay home more, after 25 years of touring, and I also would like to assist in bringing together as many local guitar players and lovers in our very musical community in as many ways as possible. Hopefully this will benefit the area in general, as well as the musicians. I know a lot about guitars, music, concerts, and guitar fans, and I feel that with my knowledge, skills and energy I am qualified to take a leadership role in this, and to possibly set an example of how an artist can interact with their own community without just selling tickets and self-promoting. I would like to see more of the kind of quality music programs that happen at a local level, arguably the best place to do things.
Rather than working within one of the exisiting non-profit arts groups in the area, I have decided to start a new one that I hope will be more responsive to the needs of local guitarists and guitar fans. I am inviting you to participate, either simply as members of the SGS, or in a more active role, working on a committee, project, or something. I will initially be the Executive Director, and I hope you people will be able to fill up the boards and committees and other positions, and it is my intention to try to find some role for each of you that makes sense in terms of your areas of knowledge, interest, and how much time & energy you would like to expend. We will need people to do office work, help run the concerts, work on the web site, coordinate social events, jams & open mikes, to help with publicizing and postering for concerts, to help us interface with the schools and educational opportunities, and to collect and update information for our directories of resources.
The website is now up at www.seacoastguitar.org, and you can look and see an outline of what I hope we can accomplish. The current plan is to sponsor about 8 concerts a year at various venues around the Seacoast. This is the type of concert that is not currently happening here, and what I think is best suited for guitarists, since many of the very best players are not household names, and can't fill up large halls. (We may occasionally sponsor a better-known guitarist at one of the larger venues in the area.) I am planning for each concert to also include a master class/workshop with the artist, and a social brunch to involve as many of us as possible to eat some food and have some fun together. I also want to sponsor some monthly intensive workshops on career and technical topics, that will be held at locations in the area on weeknights, and feature prominent local musicians and business people to address issues like recording, making and promoting recordings, songwriting, and touring. These would be tailored to assist local musicians and songwriters who are getting started in their careers and to make the best use of the teachers in the area.
I want to involve local musicians as much as is realistically possible, and to bring guitarists from around the world to the area for concerts and workshops. I also hope we can stimulate teaching, concerts, festivals, recordings, and whatever else might benefit our purpose. I want to work with the local musicians, teachers, schools, and some of my contacts at instrument manufacturers, to see if it is possible to make more guitar-related things happen locally. I also want to offer to the local musicians and fans who are members the use of our web site for chat groups, finding gigs and band members, for buying and selling instruments, and whatever else we can think of. The larger a core group of people we can bring together, the more we can undertake. In the future, this may include group insurance, guitar camps for kids, organized teaching, a festival, our own open mike, sampler CD's, listening libraries, etc.
On the website at www.seacoastguitar.org, there is already a lot of information about what I hope to accomplish, how it will be done, events that are planned, plus the beginning of what I hope will be a useful and up-to-date directory of guitar-related local musicians, merchants, venues, teachers, etc. In fact, I don't think I would have decided to launch the SGS if not for the internet, and I think it will enable us to do the sorts of things successfully that many arts groups have tried in the past. (Especially keeping lists of resources and information, which are out of date as soon as they are printed on paper.) You can also join the SGS on the web site.
I am going to try to contact as many of you as possible personally to talk this over and find the best way to get you involved, and I will of course also be encouraging you to become members, make tax-deductible financial contributions, and join in whatever way makes sense to help make this happen. I think that focusing on just the Seacoast and guitars makes this is a workable and definable mission, rather than trying to build an umbrella for all the arts, or in a nationwide arena. I also have high hopes that by having the non-profit status, we can attract some sponsorship and grants, and do some projects that might not fly if they were strictly commercial and had to pay for themselves outright. And hopefully this will all allow us, without adding new stress and too many things to our lists of things to do, to make and enjoy more music, to spend more time with each other, to encourage other musicians to come to the area to perform, and to help pass on musical knowledge to the next generations of players.
I will look forward to discussing the Seacoast Guitar Society with you, and to get your feedback and suggestions. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The SGS voicemail will be at 207-363-1886 x3 until we decide to get our own phone number.
Harvey Reid (August 1999)
PO Box 815 York, ME 03909
The Seacoast Guitar Society is a not-for-profit 501 c(3) corporation
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