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RE: [barbershopquartet] It's softball time

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  • Grant Carson
    In my opinion, a quartet should never sing for free because that cheapens your price. However, there are times when you might not want to charge a charitable
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 26, 2010
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      In my opinion, a quartet should never sing for free because that cheapens your price. However, there are times when you might not want to charge a charitable cause. In that case you can charge your normal fee with the understanding that you will make a charitable contribution in an equal amount. That has the potential for good publicity.

      Grant Carson, now Frank Thorne
      Close Enough for Government Work
      Old Spice

      --- On Tue, 1/26/10, Lee Tayon <ltayon@...> wrote:

      > From: Lee Tayon <ltayon@...>
      > Subject: RE: [barbershopquartet] It's softball time
      > To: "barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com" <barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 4:04 PM
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > This has been a topic that I have struggled with over
      > my 10 years in quartets.  I believe that the confidence
      > of the quartet (or the person promoting the quartet) is a
      > big part of settling on price.  I have heard
      > quartets that "think" they are good ask for fees I
      > felt were far too lofty for they abilities.  On the
      > flip side I have heard groups that are outstanding really
      > undersell themselves.  Women in particular tend to do
      > this more than men (in my humble opinion). 
      >  
      > Well, this year I really decided to put the "what
      > is your budget" line to the test. We are
      > routinely paid between $150 - $300 for a 20-30 minute
      > program.  Since I try never to quote less than $300 I
      > feel this is pretty good!  A couple of times when
      > things were slow I offered a "Special" rate of
      > $150 billing it as 50% off.  Everyone likes a
      > sale!  Most recently we did a church Christmas
      > party.  Since one of us was a member of the church, we
      > refused to quote a price and simply said, "pay us what
      > you feel right about".  They sent us a check for
      > $400 for a 20 min. performance AND we got to eat good
      > food!
      >  
      > I think it's all about marketing, knowing your
      > abilities as a group, and trusting that people really
      > do have money planned for entertainment. All you have
      > to do is ask.  The worst thing that can happen is that
      > you accept less than your regular fee, which is still more
      > than you would have received anyway.  Afterall, most of
      > us will sing for free to anyone who will listen.
      >  
      > In Harmony
      > Lee Tayon, Tenor
      > Joyful Sound Quartet
      > SAI Region 10
      > www.makeajoyfulsound.com
    • Lee Tayon
      Please understand that I am not advocating that we sing for free, merely stating that most of us do this for the love of the music and not merely the money.
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 26, 2010
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        Please understand that I am not advocating that we sing for free, merely stating that most of us do this for the love of the music and not merely the money. Just as an aside, my quartet has chosen to pay a tithe from all fees paid to a mutually agreed upon ministry. This is a way that we have chosen to give back from all that we are blessed with (musically and financially).

        Lee
        >>> On 1/26/10 at 4:13 PM, in message <738326.21606.qm@...>, Grant Carson <wmgcarson@...> wrote:


        In my opinion, a quartet should never sing for free because that cheapens your price. However, there are times when you might not want to charge a charitable cause. In that case you can charge your normal fee with the understanding that you will make a charitable contribution in an equal amount. That has the potential for good publicity.

        Grant Carson, now Frank Thorne
        Close Enough for Government Work
        Old Spice

        --- On Tue, 1/26/10, Lee Tayon <ltayon@...> wrote:

        > From: Lee Tayon <ltayon@...>
        > Subject: RE: [barbershopquartet] It's softball time
        > To: "barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com" <barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com>
        > Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 4:04 PM
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > This has been a topic that I have struggled with over
        > my 10 years in quartets. I believe that the confidence
        > of the quartet (or the person promoting the quartet) is a
        > big part of settling on price. I have heard
        > quartets that "think" they are good ask for fees I
        > felt were far too lofty for they abilities. On the
        > flip side I have heard groups that are outstanding really
        > undersell themselves. Women in particular tend to do
        > this more than men (in my humble opinion).
        >
        > Well, this year I really decided to put the "what
        > is your budget" line to the test. We are
        > routinely paid between $150 - $300 for a 20-30 minute
        > program. Since I try never to quote less than $300 I
        > feel this is pretty good! A couple of times when
        > things were slow I offered a "Special" rate of
        > $150 billing it as 50% off. Everyone likes a
        > sale! Most recently we did a church Christmas
        > party. Since one of us was a member of the church, we
        > refused to quote a price and simply said, "pay us what
        > you feel right about". They sent us a check for
        > $400 for a 20 min. performance AND we got to eat good
        > food!
        >
        > I think it's all about marketing, knowing your
        > abilities as a group, and trusting that people really
        > do have money planned for entertainment. All you have
        > to do is ask. The worst thing that can happen is that
        > you accept less than your regular fee, which is still more
        > than you would have received anyway. Afterall, most of
        > us will sing for free to anyone who will listen.
        >
        > In Harmony
        > Lee Tayon, Tenor
        > Joyful Sound Quartet
        > SAI Region 10
        > www.makeajoyfulsound.com
      • joe08867
        I will echo Bob on this. I am currently in two quartets. One that has competed on the District Stage and one that is looking forward to competing on the
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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          I will echo Bob on this. I am currently in two quartets. One that has competed on the District Stage and one that is looking forward to competing on the Novice stage. As such I would never expect my Novice group to charge any kind of fee until it is up to a healthy performance level.

          On the other side of the coin my District Level quartet has the ability to charge quite a good fee for services rendered. Of course this also depends on the location, time, type, etc.. We charge more for another chapters show than we would for say a private party. but with that said the level of performance should always be as high as possible. As far as freebies go, we have done several freebies but for the right reasons and causes. Usually to support a quartet members charity or personal requests. These are also easier times to try something new in front of an audience. Something you may not want to try in front of a paying audience.

          I say a good number to work around is $200 to start for a private party and 600-800 for a chapter show. Of course as your level of ability rises so too should the price.

          Joseph DiPaola,
          Asst. Section Leader, VP of Marketing and PR for
          The Hunterdon Harmonizers
          Lead for Chordhouse Steps
          Tenor for Plead the 5th

          --- In barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com, Bob Caldwell <BobCaldwell@...> wrote:
          >
          > Yes, John.  VERY good questions and good rationale behind your theory.  What your time is "worth" though and what you can "get for it" can be very different numbers.
          >  
          > I have been quartetting, almost constantly, for 34 years.  My very first quartet lasted 14 years during which there were 5 changes of personnel.  The tenor and I made it all the way.  We were an entertaining comedic quartet that sang well.  In competition we scored low to mid-70s, never made it to INT and placed as high as 4th in M-AD.  We did perform a LOT though.  During the barbershop show season we could have done a show twice a month if we'd had the time and inclination.  To my recollection our fee was never more than $600-800 plus expenses (mileage, meals, lodging) even for a two night barbershop show and glow.  Most local gigs we earned $200-400 per performance.  The fees were always negotiated by the contact man and based on budget and attendance.
          >  
          > The second and most primary of my quartets was together 16 years with the original 4 players.  We never got to the regular INT though we did come very close once when we ended in a 3 way tie for 5th place at M-AD Prelims scoring 74.9.  We did earn three trips to mid-winter to the Senior Int once I turned 55 and earned a 4th place medal in 2003.  This quartet performed WAY less often than the above quartet because though we sang some better we were not as "entertaining".   We appeared on only a few out of town barbershop shows over the years but did perform regularly locally at fees similar to above.
          >  
          > After that there were a couple other quartets with mixed numbers.  The penultimate quartet rehearsed and competed for 3 1/2 years, scored some pretty good numbers, low 70s, and actually peformed for pay ONCE in all that time.
          >  
          > My current and latest quartet has been together now for two years, with two different tenors, has learned about a dozen songs to performance level and has just begun to sing for pay.  We have already sung on a small chapter show, a private birthday party and a banquet.  I think we got $400 for the chapter show/glow, $200 for the private party and $150 for the banquet (all they had in the budget).  Our baritone and tenor live nearly two hours apart at opposite ends of MD and the other two of us are midway between so we are selective of the performances we accept because the travel time required makes most fees offered less than we are "worth".  LOL
          >  
          > This is the first quartet that I have been the contact man but coming up with a fee that is acceptable to both the quartet and the person hiring can require some creative bidding.
          >  
          > I have to admit that I was spoiled by my first quartet experience with lots of performing for moderate fees.  I would like to perform twice a week and would do so for little or no pay other than the applause. 
          >  
          > Harmony-us-ly, BobCaldwell@...
          > 571.766.2976  or  804.241.6957cell
          > FRiDAYS!             O{/////] 
          > Steve, Bob, Steve & Ken    [|;^}0x
          > Thank goodness it's barbershop!      
          > Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus
          >
        • Leaderman
          As far as not charging for your novice quartet even though you may not think it is up to a perceived level, you need to take into consideration the costs
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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            As far as not charging for your novice quartet even though you may not
            think it is up to a perceived level, you need to take into consideration
            the costs involved with even being in that novice quartet. There is the
            registration fee (hopefully you register with the Society), matching
            socks, purchase of music, travel expenses to get to and from rehearsals
            and the performance area, time spent rehearsing as a quartet (another
            night away from home), and the list can go on.

            It's not realistic for us to think that our quartetting is free. Unless
            you are independently wealthy, it can amount to a great deal of expense
            for all involved. Somehow you need to figure in a way to pay for all of
            that.

            Just some thoughts.

            --
            Sing-cerely & Humm-bly,

            John Elving
            VP Mus. & Perf.
            Editor-in-Cheap
            Shrine of Democracy Chorus
            Bass - CONVERGENCE Quartet
            RMD CDD VP
            PROBE VP- Bulletin Editors
            Rapid City, SD
            Email: leaderman@...

            joe08867 wrote:
            > I will echo Bob on this. I am currently in two quartets. One that has competed on the District Stage and one that is looking forward to competing on the Novice stage. As such I would never expect my Novice group to charge any kind of fee until it is up to a healthy performance level.
            >
          • Derek Hatley
            Good topic, John. There is something neither you nor any responders have raised: for almost all of us quarteting is a hobby not a profession. We don t depend
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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              Good topic, John.

              There is something neither you nor any responders have raised: for
              almost all of us quarteting is a hobby not a profession. We don't
              depend on it for a living. I think this makes a huge difference that
              affects your numbers: how much value do we give to the enjoyment WE
              get out of performing. Whatever that number is should, I think, be
              deducted from whatever a professional performing group would charge.
              So, a relevant question is: What would those professionals charge?
              Answer that and deduct the personal enjoyment value, and you have a
              credible number.

              Derek

              Derek Hatley—Songwriter & Arranger

              Hatley Music
              112 Mill Pond Drive
              Middleville, Michigan 49333-8010

              (269) 795-3127
              Derek@...
              www.HatleyMusic.com

              PS Notice I have not included all the preceding messages--I wish
              everyone would do that.
            • Bob Caldwell
              In the early years of my quartetting I used to say to friends about it, It s the only hobby I have found that can pay for itself.   That was true in my first
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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                In the early years of my quartetting I used to say to friends about it, "It's the only hobby I have found that can pay for itself."  That was true in my first quartet where we performed often and for substancial pay.  Factoring in the time for rehearsals and travel expenses to get to and from those, the registrations and music purchases and the limited number of paid performances in recent years it has become not so much the case.
                 
                Harmony-us-ly, BobCaldwell@...
                571.766.2976  or  804.241.6957 cell
                FRiDAYS!             O{/////
                Steve, Bob, Steve & Ken    [|;^}0x
                Thank goodness it's barbershop!      
                Alexandria Harmonizers Chorus
              • John Rentz
                I just don t think you have to discount something just because YOU enjoy what you re doing. You enjoying what you re doing is what makes it a better
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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                  I just don't think you have to discount something just because YOU enjoy what you're doing. You enjoying what you're doing is what makes it a better performance and therefore a more valuable experience to the customer/audience.

                  I understand the millions of reasons why we could do it for free or do it for very little money. Anyone can do that. My topic is to help those who would like to try to figure out how to charge an appropriate amount for those who *do* want to charge.

                  And if  you're against *making* money because of your hobby, that's ok. But you do have costs... purchasing music, travel, costumes, food, lodging, registrations, etc. You know, it's pretty cool when the hobby supports itself. I hardly think even 1% of barbershoppers are making a living singing barbershop.

                  And, wouldn't you get more personal enjoyment if you sang a gig an got $10,000 for it?

                  I assume you love writing and arranging. Do you discount all your music? The bank loves lending you money, do they discount your mortgage payment? Doctors love making people better, do they discount their services?

                  (I *am* trying to be argumentative. But I'm not trying to be mean about anything, so don't take it that way. I'm playing the devil's advocate to stir discussion.)

                  John


                  From: Derek Hatley <Derek@...>
                  To: barbershopquartet@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Wed, January 27, 2010 9:13:59 AM
                  Subject: [barbershopquartet] Re:It's softball time

                  Good topic, John.

                  There is something neither you nor any responders have raised: for 
                  almost all of us quarteting is a hobby not a profession.  We don't 
                  depend on it for a living.  I think this makes a huge difference that 
                  affects your numbers: how much value do we give to the enjoyment WE 
                  get out of performing.  Whatever that number is should, I think, be 
                  deducted from whatever a professional performing group would charge. 
                  So, a relevant question is: What would those professionals charge? 
                  Answer that and deduct the personal enjoyment value, and you have a 
                  credible number.

                  Derek

                  Derek Hatley—Songwriter & Arranger

                  Hatley Music
                  112 Mill Pond Drive
                  Middleville, Michigan 49333-8010

                  (269) 795-3127
                  Derek@...
                  www.HatleyMusic.com

                  PS Notice I have not included all the preceding messages--I wish 
                  everyone would do that.



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                • joe08867
                  I agree that it takes time and money to be in this Hobby. Why are hobbies so expensive by the way? I don t pay the bills with my quartet gigs but they do
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 27, 2010
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                    I agree that it takes time and money to be in this Hobby. Why are hobbies so expensive by the way?

                    I don't pay the bills with my quartet gigs but they do support the hobby. It has paid for Clothes and expenses as well as covering contest costs. Which can get expensive.

                    I also come to this hobby after having been in a rock band for many years. I will say we charge far less than I ever had with the band.

                    Joseph DiPaola


                    Derek said:
                    > PS Notice I have not included all the preceding messages--I wish
                    > everyone would do that.


                    > Derek I will follow your lead.
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