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Brass band ensemble's shiny mid-section, Iroquois Springs, 2016. (photo: Margaret Loomis)

Brass band ensemble’s shiny mid-section, Iroquois Springs, 2016. (photo: Margaret Loomis)

The Balkan Music & Dance Workshops have been life-changing for many of us. The skills we learn there and the greater cultural awareness we absorb along the way have repercussions far beyond the cabin and the dance hall.

As expressed by Melinda Russial, Vice President, EEFC Board of Directors, in a Dec. 2016 letter to the community:

From the first morning, I was dazzled by the comfortable proximity of different cultures. Despite my Western classical conservatory training and established performance career, I felt as if I was hearing music for the first time. I marveled that music seemed to move organically through the musicians and dancers, as a force that belonged to all of us. I sensed that this was a space where friendships could be instantaneous, where I was joyfully challenged to explore new identities and take risks, where the passions bringing us together cut straight to the core of who we are.

Going to Balkan Camp last year changed my life and I’m immensely grateful. The EEFC community embodies the generative power of the arts to unite people in common goals, to celebrate differences, to learn from each other, and to participate in a collective recognition of our shared humanity. When I learned that tuition was about $250 lower than the actual cost of camp, I realized that the generosity of this community runs deep. In a world struggling with polarization, fear-based ideologies, and a cacophony of internet memes, I find hope in this community of passionate and generous global citizens.

You can do your part by donating or becoming a member.

If you’ve already donated for 2017, you will find your name on the EEFC website here.

Here we want to congratulate, thank and commemorate everyone who donated or joined during 2016:

2016 Members & Donors

Bands, Choruses & Dance Groups

Bobba Culpa
Chubritza International Folk Band
Gradina Folk Ensemble
Harris Brothers Balkan Band
Humboldt Folk Dancers
Mixed Bag
Musiki Parea
Tuesday Night Revival Balkan Folk Dancing
Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band

Corporate Donors & Matching Donations

Good Done Great
Reid & Riege Foundation
Salesforce Foundation

Individual & Family Members & Donors

Edward Abelson
Andy Adler
Jerry Agin
Douglas Allen
Timothy Allen
Shelley G. Allison
Abigail Alwin
Susan Anderson
Leslie Arberman
Becky Ashenden
Jim Avera & Barbara Babin
Atilla Aydin
Annie Bachar
Judy Barlas
Ralph & Noma Bates
Paul Beck
Batja Bell
Michelle Benoit
Gail Berlin
Susan Bernacki
Frederick Bialy
David Bilides
Hannah Blair
Irene Blanchard
Barbara & Joseph Blumenthal
Marion Blumenthal
Laura Blumenthal
Leslie Boden & Jerry Kisslinger
Susan Bolotin
Jessica Bondy
Abigail Bordeaux & Ira Gessel
Zora Boyadzhieva
Briget Boyle
Louise Brill & Mary Donnelly
Dean Brown & Dee Ramee
Paul Brown
Rachael Brown
Patricia Buhl
Jeanne Busch
Nancy Butowski
Priscilla Carlson
Denys Carrillo
Morgan Clark
Jeanne Clifford
Joyce Clyde
Bruce Cochran
Emily Cohen & Eric Frumin
Hasina Cohen
Martha Cohen & Marc Wolman
Sarah Cohen
Steve Collins
Gladys Comeau-Morales
Roger Cooper & Judy Olson
Delores Crawford
Jo Crawford
Teymour & Susan Darkhosh
Naomi Segal Deitz
Jenny Dennis
Joyce deSaussure
Kimberly DiMattia
Judy Donaldson, in memory of Nez Erez
Mary Ann Downs
Elyse Dubin
Jerry Duke
Deborah Dukes & Randy Carrico
Marlene Dworkin
Anne Ehrhart
Marian Eines
Joe Ellison
Elena Erber
Leah Erez
Sheila Ewall
Rima Fand
Matthew Fass
Lila J. Feingold
Melinda Fields
Jeff, Jocelyn & Ella Fine
Jonathan Finger
Joe Finn
M.J. Fischer
Béla Foltin
Mark Forry
Martha Forsyth
Catherine Foster
Barbara Freed
Barbara Friedman
Joey Friedman
Carol Friedman
Anna Rose Gable
Michael Gage & Sandra Cherin
Sharon & Bob Gardner
Steve & Karen Gardner
Lynette Garlan & James Rumbaugh
Betsy & Jim Garrett
Ken Genetti
Craig & Sarada George
Erika Gerson
Kate Gerson
Richard Gillette & Susan Hinkins
Michael Ginsburg & Belle Birchfield
Steven Ginzbarg
David Golber & Helen Snively
Henry Goldberg
Melanie, Anna & Felicia Goldberg & John Parrish
Barbara Golding
Eugene Goldwater
Cherrymae Golston
Leticia Gonzales
Adam Good
Mathew Good
Barbara Gottfried
Kris & Tom Grinstad
Sharon Grodin
Francesca Guido
Bryn Hammarstrom
Joan E. Hantman, in memory of Dick Forsyth
Drew Harris, Teresa Twomey, Ariana, Elizabeth & Katherine Harris
Laine Harris & Jennifer Brosious
Susan Hatlevig
Emerson Hawley & Rose Tannenbaum
Glynis Hawley & Andy Kacsmar
Mary Hawley
Biz Hertzberg & James Hoskins
Robert Hoffnung
Vita Hollander
Georgia Horn
Susan Hovorka
Melinda Hunt & Matt Smith
Lanita Hyatt & Tyler Robinson
Leslie K. Hyll & Edmund Cordray
Carolyn (Cappy) Israel
Patricia Iverson, in memory of Dick Forsyth
Ralph Iverson
Gregory Masaki Jenkins
Mark Jenkins & Arlene Imagawa
Susan Jones
Jenavieve Kachmarik
Connie Strohbehn Kaczmarczyk
Lea Anne & Tom Kangas
Carole & Paul Kantor
Vicky Kastner
Luba Kazacoff
Julie Ann Keller
Solange Kellermann
Loretta Kelley
Jenny Kilgore
Bill & Pat King
Monica Kirkland
Pauline & Eduard Klak
Karen Klevanosky
Evgeniya & Kalin Kopachevi
Marlis Kraft
Noel & Judy Kropf
Sheila Krstevski
Rick Kruse
Kasia Kugay
Charles Kyriacou
Julie Lancaster & Jim Schwartzkopff
Ari Langer
Michael Lawson & Lori McConnell
Michael D. Leach
Nancy Leeper
Robert Leibman
Sonne & Nick Lemke
Roberta Levine
Mark Levy & Carol Silverman
Nesa Levy
Michael Lipsey
Sonia Lipson
James Little
Shulamit Locker
George, Mary & Nicholas Long
Margaret Loomis & Larry Weiner
Peter Lyons
Barbara MacLean
Joe Mandell
Linnea Mandell & Craig Kurumada
Alex Marković
Kathy Maron-Wood
Mary Marshall
Helen Marx & Mark Henzy
Katia McClain
Nancy McGhee & Clayton Newman
Nancy & Jim McGill
Mark & Sally McIntee
Michael McKenna & Debbie Webb
Ted McKnight
Janice Mendelson
Melissa Miller
Amy Mills
Shulamit & Joshua Millstein
Claire Molton
Diane Montgomery
Matt Moran
Yves Moreau
Fanche Nastev
Len Newman & Lisa Shochat
Alina Niemi
Maria Noël
Peter Notarfrancesco
Marilyn Novosel
Julie Orth & Frank Garcia
Asako Oshiro
Craig Packard & Joan Dubinsky
Laura Pannaman
Ann Partlow
Rebecca Perlman
Nancy Peterson & Ed Kautz
Susan Pinkham
Jamie, Betsy & Hannah Platt
Rob Pleshar & Heidy Berthoud
Holly Plotner
Adam Pogoff
Andres Porfirio
Zina Pozen
Georgeanne Presnell
Mary Proudfoot
Nada Putnik
Steve Ramsey
Ray Ranic
Monica Ravinet
Richard Rawson
Susan Reagel
Polly Reetz
Elizabeth Reid
Chris Rietz & Deb Huxtable
Suzanne Rizer
Lucy Roberts
Pauli Robinson
Thorn Roby
Sharon Rogers
Lois Romanoff
Barbara & Norman Rosen
Andrea Rosenberg
Sanna Rosengren
Myra Rosenhaus
Lacy Rudd
Lorien Russell
Melinda Russial
Nancy Lee Ruyter
Jonathan Ryshpan
Maclovia Quintana & Adam Waite
Bruce Sagan
RosieLee Camacho Salinas
Mary Ann Saussotte
Owen & Barbara Saxton
Stuart Schaffner
Betsy Schiavone
Daniel Schleifer
Sara Schmidt
Rich Schultz & Christine Montrose
Bob Schulz
Leslie Scott
Marjorie & Bill Selden
Michael & Patricia Sensor
Matt & Joan Shear
Jennifer Shearer
Wendy & Doug Shearer
Mary Sherhart
David Shochat
Bonnie Silver
Caroline Simmonds
Simon/Garaventa Family
Leah Sirkin
Jonathan B. Skinner
Catherine Smith
Lewis Smith
Corinna Snyder
David Solnit
Mani & Karen Soma
Dragi Spasovski
Lynda Spratley
Catherine Springer, in honor of Iliana Bozhanova
Greg Squared
Michelle Srbinovich
Honna Steissberg
Suze Stentz & Richie Leonard
Cara Beth Stevenson
Myron F. Steves, Jr. & Rowena Young
Jim Stringfellow & Lisa Poppleton
Helen & Jon Stuart
Corinne Sykes
Teri Sykes
Debby Szajnberg
Terri Taggart
David, Sarah, Angela & Katy Tanzer
Demetri Tashie
Ben Thomas
Dina Trageser
Keiko Trenholm
Randy Trigg
Dr. Stephen R. Turner
Barbara & John Uhlemann
Carmen D. Valentino
Flora van Wormer
Kristina Vaskys
Carol & Bill Wadlinger
Paul Wagner
Sandy Ward & Ken Harstine
Lonna Whipple
Aaron Williams
Jan Williams
Cameron Wilson
Pine Wilson
Jessica Wirth
Sabine Wolber
Kimberlee Wollter
Beth & Woody Wright
Dawn Wullschleger
Loretta M. Yam
Meg York
Naomi Zamir
Dan Ziagos
Erica Zissman & Morty Isaacson
and two anonymous donors

Connecting Through the Music and Dance We Love

Corinna Snyder EEFC Board President

Corinna Snyder EEFC Board PresidentThis year was the first Thanksgiving I had ever gone to a friend’s house to celebrate. There were close to 30 people there, almost all of them with roots in the Balkan, klezmer and old-time music worlds. There were kids and spouses and siblings and band mates and lots of what anthropologists call “fictive kin”: the people who are like family to you. We all brought homemade food, and ate together at a row of tables that stretched through two rooms. Afterwards, as we ate pie after pie, we played and sang songs that some of us knew, and some of us sort of knew, and some of us sort of figured out (or not) on the spot. We didn’t all know each other when we walked in the door, but generosity and goodwill surrounded us in that house, and we left knowing we had connected in a way that would endure.

I was there because of friendships that Balkan music created for me, and this Thanksgiving felt exactly like the spirit and energy that our community creates when we get together—at camp, at festivals like Golden Fest, Boston Balkan Night, Balkan Night Northwest, Kolo Festival, Chicago Spring Festival, at weekly or monthly folk dancing, at gigs and shows, and in each others’ houses. We don’t always all know each other when we walk into the room, but we know we will be surrounded by people who are looking forward to sharing what makes them happy, we will leave feeling connected to each other through the music and dance we love, and we’ll look forward to the next time we get to see each other.

This is why I serve on the Board. Twice a year the EEFC and our community, together, create a week of kef that follows me home, and stays inside me as I’m listening to Balkan music on the subway, practicing after the kids go to bed, playing music with others, going to gigs, dancing—and waiting to get back to camp again. Of all the things the EEFC does, camp is far and away the most important, and I felt so strongly about the value and power and beauty of that experience, that I decided to give both my time and money to making the EEFC a strong and stable organization that can make camp happen year after year, not just for us today but for years to come, for people we don’t know yet. My fellow board members serve for the same reasons.

The Development Committee takes the lead on raising the funds we need for both short and long-term financial stability. The Marketing Committee lets more people know about what we do, and brings more people to the workshops. The Finance Committee develops and manages budgets that keep us in the black. These three committees are responsible for the EEFC’s long-term health and well-being, and all of them are understaffed.

If you have experience with fundraising, financial management or marketing, we can use your help. I promise we won’t ask more of you than you have to offer, nor will you be required to attend endless meetings. Promise.

The Program Committee creates the agenda for our workshops. This committee is responsible for the quality of instruction and performance at camp, year after year. You and programming together create the kef.

And speaking of kef, we need your help there, too. Many of you have told us that membership matters to you, that becoming a member of the EEFC is a public declaration of support for the community that comes together through camp, and the people who make camp happen—our teaching and support staff. We agree. Our end-of-year appeal is now underway. We want to increase the number of members as well as the amount we raise—please show your support and commitment to each other by making your membership a part of what brings us together and attracts new campers. I know there are people out there who want to be part of what we create, they just don’t know it yet. Invite them to the table.

The November 26 death of Richard Herbert “Dick” Forsyth of Newton, Mass., prompted a new reason to give to EEFC. Dick was a chemist, audio engineer, electronic repair expert, Balkan singer and beloved husband of Martha Forsyth. Martha is a specialist in Bulgarian singing, an author and a leader in our community. After Dick died, Martha suggested that people make a gift to the EEFC in honor of him, and a memorial page has been set up on the EEFC’s website.

In closing, we want to thank Jay House Samios for her leadership over the past 2+ years. Jay has decided to step down from the Executive Director role, and her last day will be December 31st. Amy Mills, the Development Committee Chair, will step in as acting ED for the next six months as we take stock and consider our next steps. Jay and the Board are working together to shift her responsibilities to Board, staff and volunteers before the end of the year. Thank you, Jay, for your contributions, and we wish you the best in your next endeavor.

Yours in music and dance,

Corinna Škėma Snyder
EEFC Board President

Click here to send an email to the EEFC Board

Understanding the EEFC Board’s Evolving Role

Corinna Snyder EEFC Board President

Corinna Snyder EEFC Board PresidentOur spring meeting was held in Brooklyn, N.Y., in late March, at Emily Cohen and Eric Frumin’s home. One of the important issues that came up was understanding our evolving responsibilities as a board.  We started our conversation by sharing our expectations about the timing for when each of us plans to rotate off the Board, which led to a discussion as to what the role of the Board, is, and what qualities we would look for in future Board members.

Now that more and more of the operations of the EEFC have moved from being the Board’s responsibility to being the responsibility of Jay and her team, Jay and the Board recognized that the Board needs to redefine its purpose. As our conversation evolved, the Board agreed that its number one priority needs to be fundraising. We are all—each one of us—committed to keeping the EEFC alive and well, and to continuing and expanding the kinds of programs that give the EEFC its unique character. You have been hearing in the last several months about new program ideas, but what we are coming to realize is that our ability to support new programs depends on having a robust fundraising program. That is where the role of the Board comes into play.

We publish our financials on the EEFC website and they tell a pretty consistent story: despite the generosity of our community, we do not raise enough money to keep us consistently in the black, let alone invest in new programs that let us reach new audiences. As part of the process of diversifying our fundraising strategy, Jay and the Development Committee initiated the Spring Fund Drive. All of us on the Board will need to increase our own skills and comfort level with fundraising efforts like this, as well as with others yet to come. We need a Board that is focused, diverse, organized, accountable and, above all, leading the successful fundraising efforts of the organization. A successful fundraising program will include not just repeated requests to our dear community—that’s you—but will also encompass grant writing, cultivating major gifts, consistent and targeted communications, and developing donors from beyond our existing circle.

Jay’s piece, also in this issue of Kef Times, will talk about how you can take part in this effort through involvement in one of our outreach committees or in helping to document the rich stories of the organization.

Yours in music and dance,

Corinna Škėma Snyder

EEFC Board President

Click here to send an email to the EEFC Board