RE: Starting a harmonica club

Christian Laferriere, Steve Macmillan wrote...

>Hi all,
>just calling on the various harp club members out there for some pointers. I 
>am thinking of starting a harp club in the Ottawa area. I have been thinking 
>                          Christian Laferriere
>                           Gatineau, Quebec
>                          Icepick@xxxxxxxx

>>Just read your note on Harp-l, and although I don't have any experience in
>>setting up clubs, I'd be more than happy to lend you a hand in realizing
>>your dream.If you need any help, please let me know...
>>Steve Macmillan
>>Ottawa Ontario Canada

Wow - I love this list more and more -- ask for help and get a reply from 
someone in your area within minutes. Your membership has doubled already :-)

There are a lot of club members out here who have had long time involvement 
with clubs and SPAH - in many cases being instrumental in starting a club 
and/our keeping one from rolling over.

I don't have a how to sheet or anything but will gladly offer any advice I can.

a) By all means - have a sign up sheet and get names, addresses and phone 
numbers of anyone who shows up.

b) Get some local advertising - preferrably free but paid if necessary.

c) Check the SPAH roster for members close to you. (BTW - I think there are a 
couple Canadian clubs listed, I don't know if I have current addresses)

d) Stage a harmonica happening in a mall if you can muster 3 or so players and 
put together a program. We've always had a lot of exposure that way. Most malls 
welcome entertainment, especially if it is a little different - free is OK. but 
don't hesitate to ask for a modest donation. A club will need operating funds - 
and membership dues alone might not hack it.

e) See if local music stores will display a poster, flier , or business cards.

f) First meeting: Would probably be organizational. You need to make decisions 
on whether to incorporate so you can apply for not-for-profit status and tax 
exemption. (I don't know how that works in Canada - don't know how it works in 
USA for that matter). If you could round up 6 or 8 serious people for an 
initial organizational meeting it would probably be more constructive. Musical 
talent has little to do with your club nucleus (of course it doesn't hurt 
either) - I've always said you need 6 "workers" to keep a club going.

g) Our first club meeting was between six of our charter members. They managed 
to get a photo and brief write-up in the Columbus Dispatch - announcing the 
formation of a harmonica club and giving the time date & place for the next 
meeting. Over 30 prospective members showed up at that meeting and we were on 
our way.

h) If you are a collector, or can round up enough harmonicas to call a 
collection - put it on display at any public function. It draws a lot of 
interest from everyone, whether they play harmonica or not.

Maybe you don't need all this history but I was just trying to think of some 
things that worked for us. Of course SPAH and two other Ohio clubs (Steel 
Valley and Rubber Capitol were a tremendous help to us).

Your "organizational team" if you are lucky, will have people with some 
business sense and some legal knowledge. If not - it might be advisable to 
spend the bucks for a session with a lawyer. Again, I don't know how Canada is, 
but if we hadn't had some good advice we would be paying quarterly income tax 
and doing all kinds of paper work for the government.

I'm sure you are going to get a lot of responses to your post. Starting a new 
club, no matter where it is, is exciting to me.

       Jack Ely - Columbus, Ohio  --Internet--> IMS_ELY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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