Thirty-one members and friends of LANA met July 1st in Kimberton, PA for the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Lyre Association of North America. They came from California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as South Korea and Ecuador. Sheila Johns, LANA Board President, greeted the group, extending a special welcome to Christof-Andreas Lindenberg, one of the founding members of LANA, who joined the group for the day. Sheila asked the Board members to introduce themselves and their areas of work within LANA. Board members served in the following roles in the 2018-2019 year:
Nancy Carpenter: Vice President, Finance Committee
Catherine Decker: Study Leader, Editor, Board Member-at-Large
Julia Elliott: Secretary, Lyre Rentals Committee, Music Sales Committee
Sheila Johns: President, Soundings Editor
Margo Ketchum: Treasurer, Finance Committee, Lyre Notes Editor, Soundings Producer, Music Sales Committee, Website Editor
Cheryl Martine: Membership Committee
Wendy Polich: Lyre Notes Editor, LANA Website Coordinator, Music Sales Committee, Finance Committee
Channa Seidenberg: Soundings Editor, Lyre Rentals Committee
Colleen Shetland: Soundings Editor
Board member terms were renewed and a new member was nominated. Sheila expressed gratitude to Cate Decker, who completed the final year of a term that was initially filled by Seeya Zheng. The members elected Diane Barnes to serve the next three-year term, and extended Julia’s and Wendy's terms another three-years.
Here is the 2019 slate of officers:
Nancy Carpenter, President
Sheila Johns, Vice President
Margo Ketchum, Treasurer
Julia Elliott, Secretary
The officers will begin their duties immediately following the Musical Renewal Conference.
Sheila reported on the Board retreat that had taken place in the days leading up to the conference, saying that the Board used the three days together to review LANA programs and initiatives, ensuring that they are in line with LANA’s mission.
She categorized the work of the Board as falling into two realms: administration and member services. Sheila reported that in the past year, LANA has begun paying a small stipend to an administrative team that works beyond regular Board hours to support the administration of LANA’s programs.
Cheryl Martine, Chair of the Membership Committee, addressed the group, saying that membership has doubled in the past year. In 2018-2019, LANA had 85 members total, with 12 people joining as new members in the second half of 2018, and 12 more joining in the first half of 2019. Current LANA members are from the USA and Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.
Margo Ketchum, Treasurer, spoke about the financial health of the organization. She said that income from lyre rentals, music sales, and membership has doubled in the past year. The organization currently has nearly $37,000 in assets (please refer to the Treasurer’s Report for details). A combination of the renewal of membership commitments, visibility from the music sales site, conference outreach, and other Board initiatives has led to this fiscal growth.
Nancy Carpenter, Vice President, directed the group in a discussion of an anticipated change in LANA’s legal status. In consultation with a non-profit lawyer, it has been recommended that LANA be re-designated to a “directorship non-profit organization” from the “membership non-profit” it has been historically. The lawyer advised that the language of LANA’s original charter (which was created in 1982 when the organization was launched as “The Association for Promoting the Lyre as a New Instrument”) is antiquated and in need of updating. The change from a “membership non-profit” to a “directorship non-profit” would create a more efficient organization by allowing the Board to represent the LANA membership, entrusting the Board to make decisions that would previously have required a vote by a majority of the membership. With the new status, the Board could make necessary changes in the by-laws and vote in new Board members without having to establish a quorum of the entire LANA membership. Members would continue to be kept informed of LANA business and activities through the Annual Members Meeting, the Annual Report, and transparent communication about possible changes.
By unanimous vote, the membership re-designated LANA as a “directorship non-profit.”
In transitioning the meeting from a focus on LANA’s administration to a review of member services, Sheila read LANA’s mission statement: “The Lyre Association of North America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to initiate, inspire, and support the sounding of the modern lyre as a musical instrument in artistic, pedagogical, and therapeutic activities in North America and throughout the world.” She noted that the phrase “…and throughout the world” had been added to the mission statement during the recent Board retreat as an important signal of LANA’s widening outreach.
Julia Elliott, of the Lyre Rentals Committee, reported on the status of LANA-owned lyres and how LANA makes rental lyres available on a yearly or rent-to-buy basis. LANA currently owns eleven lyres, which are rented to LANA members for $30-$40 per month. LANA currently rents six lyres (four through the rent-to-buy program) and five more currently available for rental, including the first-of-its-kind Derscheid Legacy Lyre. Julia spoke of the extended mission of the Lyre Rentals Committee, which includes advertising used lyres for sale, fielding technical questions, and an anticipated lyre-stringing program. The Lyre Rentals Committee will also be introducing a new program this year called “The Lyre Connection.” This initiative is intended to pair volunteer mentors with new lyre players as a way to support and nurture interest in the lyre.
Margo gave an update on the Music Sales program, saying that the program has been carried single-handedly by Samantha Embrey since 2003. In 2018 the LANA Board moved music sales to an online platform in conjunction with the website. Three Board members administer the program: Margo, Wendy, and Julia. Sales and inventory continue to grow – 44 orders since May, 2018 – with 40 composers and 183 pieces of music ready to ship from Colorado and Massachusetts.
Sheila reviewed the activity of the two LANA Publications: Lyre Notes and Soundings. She reminded the group that, while Lyre Notes is edited and published by two Board members (Margo and Wendy), the LANA membership is responsible for the content, which includes conference reports, music reviews, and regional updates. Lyre Notes comes out three times a year, plus an edition that contains the Annual Report. Sheila also spoke of the plans for Soundings in 2019-early 2020. The next volume of the journal will be coming out soon, she said, and will be followed by a second volume commemorating Julius Knierim’s 100th birthday anniversary.
Wendy Polich gave a picture of the content that is shared through the Website, including: information about upcoming events, resources, lyre builders, teachers, music sales, and the blog. She encouraged members to submit reviews of music that they are particularly enjoying to be shared through the blog.
Sheila presented two new LANA initiatives. The first – the Derscheid Legacy Lyre project – brings together the work of lyre-builder Alan Thewless and the LANA-owned blueprints for the original Derscheid lyre design. Alan has created the first of the Derscheid Legacy lyres, and it is available to rent through our Lyre Rentals program. In support of this important project, LANA has offered to purchase five more Legacy Lyres over the course of the next five years and has encouraged Alan to consider the possibility of mentoring an apprentice to help him with the work and learn the trade.
The second initiative Sheila described involves the publication of relevant music books. While LANA is not in the position to become a publishing house, she said, this past year the organization supported the publication of Gerhard Beilharz’s A Guide to Playing the Pentatonic Children’s Lyre (translated by Veronika Roemer, edited by Sheila Johns, and published by Margo Ketchum with LANA’s financial support). It is the wish of the organization to support more of these kinds of projects in the future.
The Facilitator then turned the floor over to the members for Regional Sharing:
Sheila Johns is involved with an initiative to open the first Waldorf Early Childhood program in Cuenca, Ecuador. She will be bringing the pentatonic children’s lyre to the teacher training program.
Veronika Roemer spoke of her upcoming trip to Budapest to help with a new training similar to the one at the Camphill School/Beaver Run. She wondered if she should bring her lyre and thinks she might offer a concert. She is excited about the training and expects that it will involve similar activities to what will be offered at the Musical Renewal Conference.
Holly Richardson said that her friend, Hartmut Schiffer, helped with the purchase of pentatonic children’s lyres at her school, the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork, Carbondale, CO, and that she is still playing lyre with him. She said they play “lots of German folk songs.”
Mary Lynn Channer collaborated with Nancy Carpenter on a program for first- through third-grade children at the Detroit Waldorf School and the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. Nancy added that Waldorf Publications is publishing Mary Lynn’s book Xavier Sings and His Alphabet Friends.
Channa Seidenberg spoke of the Resonare program, saying that it is a music program based on anthroposophical principles that has been meeting five times a year.
Kerry Lee spoke enthusiastically about the participation of two young people from the Kimberton Lyre Ensemble in the lyre conference. Sheila Johns shared her enthusiasm and said that more young people need to be brought into the work of the lyre.
The meeting concluded with Sheila introducing Veronika Roemer, the conference presenter, followed by the group coming together to sing “For the Seed of Love Within Us.”