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Summer’s here; time for a Vocal Area Network (www.van.org) update.

In this note

A word of thanks

First of all, thanks to all who have contributed information and listings to the Vocal Area Network web site over the past season. (Thanks, too, to those who’ve already sent in material for the upcoming season.) Judging by your positive comments (see www.van.org/feedbackhighlights.htm for samples), VAN’s information-sharing services are clearly valued by the New York area vocal ensemble community (singers, groups and their audiences). We’re proud of the quantity and quality of the information we offer, and we couldn’t deliver it nearly as well without your ongoing participation.

Update on VAN offerings

The VAN Concert Calendar (www.van.org/vancal.htm) listed 535 vocal ensemble events in the New York metropolitan area between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000. That’s 65% more than we listed in the previous year. We’ve already corralled a bunch of listings for the 2000-2001 season. People who want to find concerts involving singers know that the VAN Concert Calendar is the best place to find them, uncluttered by all the other worthy (but distracting) cultural events going on about town.

The Choir Directory made its debut in December, 1999 and currently lists 140 choral organizations. Web sites, rehearsal night and neighborhood, size, director, contact information, links to the Choir Auditions page—it’s all there in the directory, making it easy for choral singers to find the group of their dreams. In June, 2000, we introduced Choirs by Night (www.van.org/choirsbynight.htm), a companion to the Choir Directory that lists choirs by the nights on which they rehearse. We encourage you to check your group’s listing in the Choir Directory and send us additions, corrections and updates.

Recruiting singers? Your group should have (and keep updated) an ad on our Choir Auditions Page. Currently, 79 groups are represented here. Sure, you can still take out an expensive, tiny ad in The New York Times that runs once or twice and then disappears. Or, you can post an ad for free on the Choir Auditions Page that keeps your group’s name in the minds of potential singing members throughout the year.

Our Info Exchange (www.van.org/infoexch.htm) features postings from groups and individuals looking to make singing connections and from parties offering services and employment opportunities.

And our Links Collection (www.van.org/links.htm) continues to add new resources of interest. Some recent adds: The Silvis "Woodshed", a collection of MIDI files of popular choral works; Cantolopera, "The Virtual Opera House"; ArtistForum.com, where you can browse and hear over 5000 independent artists of all musical styles, including a cappella; and Hammond Music Service, a source of choir rehearsal tapes.

If your group hasn’t been an active contributor of information, we heartily encourage you to visit the web site, see what we offer and take advantage of our free information-sharing services. Your group and the entire metropolitan-area vocal ensemble community will benefit.

What we ask in return

Vocal Area Network’s information-sharing services are provided free for the benefit of the vocal ensemble community. Here’s what we ask in return.

Contribute information. Send us your concert listings, audition ads and postings for the Info Exchange and news about your organization. As always, we assure timely response and fast posting.

Help spread the word. If more people know about and use the Vocal Area Network site, we can all benefit. More site visitors means more visibility for your group and the entire vocal ensemble community. How can you help? Here are a couple of ways:

Patronize our affiliate vendors. VAN is now an affiliate of Amazon.com (books, CDs, videos and more); Mainely A Cappella (vocal ensemble CDs); Sheet Music Plus (sheet music, songbooks and musicians' gear); J&R Music (CDs, audio/video equipment, computers), Lands' End (clothing), Dell (computers, peripherals and software); and the BabyCenter Store (baby and parenting goodies). VAN receives a referral fee on everything you purchase; these fees help defray the costs of providing Vocal Area Network services. Just click through from our site, buy the things you want and you'll be supporting VAN at no additional cost to you. Let us know if there are other firms you’d like to see us affiliate with.

In the works

We’re always looking to develop new services for our constituents. We welcome your ideas. The development of Choirs by Night, for example, was spurred by one of your suggestions!

One concept we’re actively exploring is site sponsorship. Now we’re not looking to clutter up our pages with a lot of flashing banners. But we could use more revenue; tastefully deployed sponsorship ads to promote your group, its concerts or its CDs could be mutually beneficial. Newspaper and radio advertising is expensive. If you can even afford to go that route, you’re paying big bucks to reach a lot of readers and listeners who aren’t necessarily interested in vocal ensemble music. Visitors to the Vocal Area Network site, on the other hand, are very much interested. Your marketing dollars could have greater impact with an affordable VAN sponsorship ad. Drop us a line if your group would be interested in such an offering. If the feedback is positive, we’ll move forward. (Rates to be negotiated depending on placement and duration, of course.)

That’s all for now. Thanks for your support. Enjoy your summer, and do keep in touch.

Regards,

Steve Friedman
Vocal Area Network


About VAN: Vocal Area Network was founded in 1995 to promote vocal ensemble music of all sorts in and around the New York City area. Though we’ve produced events of our own in past years, our focus today is on our web site where we provide a variety of information-sharing services for the vocal ensemble community. For more about Vocal Area Network, visit www.van.org/aboutVAN.htm.