2019 MFM Annual Membership MeetingDate: December 4, 2019
Venue: WingSpan Arts (NY)

By Dawoud Kringle

On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, MFM held its annual membership meeting. The purpose of this meting is to analyze MFM’s activities and progress for the past year, and plan for the coming new year.

After MFM President Sohrab Saadat Ladjavardi’s opening address, the meeting began with David Belmont (Vice President and acting Treasurer) presenting the 2019 Financial Overview.

The data is as follows:

2019 Revenues (by December 4th)        $
Membership Dues   2900
Contributions   150
T-Shirt Sale   120
Ticket sale (HV Meet Ups, workshops)   90
Zink Bar Fundraiser   30
                                                                          Total:   3290
2019 Expenses (by December 4th)
WeWork rent   1045
WingSpan Arts rent   290
Dawoud Fee   700
Adam Fee   910
Fiona Fee   50
Merch (T-Shirts, banner, postcards   129
Travel   170
Hudson Valley Music Summit Co-Sponsorship   500
                                                                          Total:   3794
Sohrab Loans                                              Total:   600

Although our income from 2019 fell $504 short of covering our basic operating costs (this does not even factor reimbursing Saadat for his loans to, and investments in MFM), this is still a super financial improvement over the last three years:

1. first time that the membership dues covered almost all operating costs,
2. due to the membership dues Sohrab’s loan was only 10% of previous year,
3. there’s a slight chance that forthcoming December revenues, such as membership renewals, new membership fees and money contributions could recoup all 2019 operating costs.

But MFM’s finances are still far from where we need to be.

A retrospective of MFM’s achievements in 2019 was presented at the meeting:

  1. Sohrab Saadat Ladjavardi was a panelist at the APAP/Wavelengths Pre-Conference (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) in January.
  2. Monthly MFM Public Musicians Forums run by Sohrab and Billy Harper from January to August and in November.
  3. MFM participation at the MAKE MUSIC NY all day event in June. The MFM Unity Ensemble performed in Harlem(w. Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi/sax, Billy Harper/sax, David Belmont/dobro/ Roger Blanc/electric guitar and Baba Don Eaton/percussion).
  4. MFM Co-Sponsoring the all-day music convention Hudson Valley Music Summit in Kingston,NY in August. (Attended by Saadat and five Kingston members).
  5. MFM was invited to join the NYC Artist Coalition’s Independent Musicians and DJs Committee presented by Kazi Olympia and Marc Ribot.
  6. MFM presented two successful workshops: Ken Hatfield in September and Adam Reifsteck in October.
  7. Saadat attending a meeting with the Commissioners of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) organized by the NYC Artist Coalition’s Independent Musicians and DJs Committee in October.
  8. MFM was represented at the NYC Indie Musicians & DJs Meeting with Local 802 in October.
  9. MFM attended the #FairRentNYC – Anti-Displacement Rally in front of City Hall in November.
  10. MFM hosted the Zinc Bar Mixer and Fundraiser w. AC member David Liebman, the Eclectix Ensemble and Lyndol Descant-Roger Blanc Duo in November.
  11. MFM had a meeting with City Councilman Brad Lander on December 3rd, organized by the NYC Artist Coalition’s Independent Musicians and DJs Committee.

2019 MFM Annual Membership Meeting

The results of the annual vote for board members were announced. 100% of eligible voters (Pro Membership) voted for the whole Board unanimously. (it is noteworthy that members whose busy schedule might prevent voting – Dr. Cornel West, Arturo O’Farrill, Joe Lovano as examples – took time to cast their ballots). To reiterate, the following members retain their positions as MFM Board Members:

Stefan Andemicael (DJ and Talent Buyer at Blue Note Entertainment Group)

David Belmont (Vice President, multi instrumentalist, producer, label owner and political activist)

Roger Blanc (guitarist, composer, activist)

Billy Harper (jazz musician, band leader and educator)

Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi (musician, composer, leader of the music collective SoSaLa, educator, editor; and music activist.)

Other significant points brought up at the meeting included:

MFM member Elise Wiener invited MFM members to her CD single release event 12/11 as an opportunity to advocate MFM.

MFM member and web developer Adam Reifsteck Review reg. new developments of the MFM website (such as the MERCH page, video features on the front page, Ken and Adam workshop videos on the Member Portal, first Forum FaceBook Live Stream in November). He also discussed the 2020 MFM Podcast (a bimonthly presentation hosted by Adam and Dawoud Kringle).

AC member Ken Hatfield spoke about MFM’s Musicians Rights activities in 2019 (including recent developments of the MMA and MFM’s recent CASE ACT Action Alert).

Board member Roger Blanc discused MFM’s involvement and support of the NYC ARTISTS COLLECTIVE’s Indie Musicians and DJs Committee and the Zink Bar Mixer and Fundraiser Event. He also presented a proposal for the MFM-New School Project. This will be MFM’s first educational outreach initiative called Music Students, Be Prepared! (MSBP). The MSBP mission is to connect MFM with music students around New York State educating them about the business side of making music and increase awareness of their social-political responsibilities as professional musicians.

Guitarist, writer, photographer, and producer specializing in the music of Africa and AC member Banning Eyre introduced himself.

MFM member Rick Ulfik announced the MFM – We, The World Holiday Party and Benefit event 12/21/19 at Dardo Galletto Dance Studio.

Finally, MFM’s Goals and Tasks for 2020 were introduced.

  1. Membership goal for 2019: again 300 Pro members,
  2. New workshops, talk series events, and monthly public forums. One of which will feature Billy Harper,
  3. Continue reaching out to other music and musician organizations,
  4. Saadat and Roger Blanc plan to organize a music and talk event at the New School.
  5. MFM’s next Fundraiser event w. music and short speeches.
  6. MFM PODCAST 2020 with co-hosts Adam Reifsteck and Dawoud Kringle starting in January/February.

Despite obvious room for improvement, it has been a year of formidable achievements for MFM. This trend is expected to continue into 2020, and beyond.

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