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Tribes Hill Music to Libraries Project

On September 12, 2006 Tribes Hill and Folk Alliance submitted the following grant request and proposal to the New York State Music Fund. The fund was created as a result of the "Payola" settlement arranged by Elliot Spitzer's office.



In collaboration with our partnering organization, Tribes Hill, the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance (Folk Alliance) is requesting a grant from the NYSMF to increase access to and appreciation of folk music of our time amongst citizens and audiences in New York State.

The two-year project has two primary components. First, we will distribute CDs from 30 vetted regional performing / recording artists to 287 libraries in the lower Hudson Valley region and beyond. These libraries are located in rural settings as well as dense urban communities, and by their nature and location serve broad and diverse racial, ethnic and economic populations.

Second, we will present a series of concerts at libraries within the region, featuring three artists in the round. We chose libraries as performance spaces because they serve an invaluable function in connecting artists and audiences who might not otherwise find each other.


A panel of eight community leaders was asked to create a list of 30 regional and independent singer/songwriters who work within the diverse "folk music" genre. This committee included John Platt of WFUV, Gar Ragland of NewSong, Trudy Lartz of Nielsen SoundScan, Tom Staudter of the NY Times, Jim Zimmerman of Pleasantville Music Festival, Richard Cuccaro of Acoustic Live, James Lorr of Peekskill Coffee House, and Frederick Rock, Director of Tribes Hill.

The 30 chosen artists are: James Durst, Terence Martin, KJ Denhert, Pat Wictor, Fred Gillen Jr., Red Molly, Kathleen Pemble, Little Toby Walker, Ina May Wool, Open Book, Sloan Wainwright, Dayna Kurtz, Marc Von Em, Hope Machine, Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Rhonda Schuster, David Goldman, the Kennedys, Rebecca Martin, Susan Kane, Rich Deans, Abbie Gardner, Anthony da Costa, Steve Kirkman, Chuck E Costa, Montgomery Delaney, Matt Turk, Dave's True Story, Lara Herscovitch and David Massengill.

In addition to artist CDs, Folk Alliance and Tribes Hill will send participating libraries three compilation CDs which demonstrate the range and types of music that contemporary folk music embraces. They include a Native American song performed by Joanne Shenandoah, an R & B song from the Holmes Brothers, the progressive voice and guitar of Ani Difranco, the urban-folk riffs of KJ Denhert and the "punk-classical-hillbilly-Floyd" sounds of Gandalf Murphy. From the artist's point of view, "Folk Music" often means non-commercial, anti-corporate and independent. Tribes Hill's distinguished member, Pete Seeger, calls Folk Music "the music of the people."


There are more than 500 public libraries from Columbia County south to NYC and east through Long Island in NY State. We hope to serve more than half of these with our focus on rural and peripheral libraries. We have not budgeted NYC nor included its Library System in our proposal. However, we expect our project to impact its residents as well. We may, in the future, continue the Music to Libraries Project with this area being addressed directly.

There are a total of 287 libraries in the 11 targeted counties; Westchester, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, Ulster, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Suffolk and Nassau. The total population of these counties (Census 2000) is 5,062,932. The average per capita income is $25,466. The average below poverty line of these counties is 9.2%.

Multiplying 287 libraries x 20 people that might enjoy the 33 CDs over the project's two years predicts 189,420 served; in addition, the 20 library concerts over 2 years will benefit approximately 2000 people, while also increasing community awareness of the project and providing exposure to regional music. Several of these performances will be broadcast on public access TV in Westchester County.

In the spirit of Woody Guthrie, we are paying attention to the needs of all, young and old, rich and poor, and especially those victimized by greed. Even the handicapped will be accounted for: we have a budget for signers for the deaf as well. a folk music tradition.


We will purchase 287 CDs each from 30 vetted NY regional artists selected by a committee of experts. We will place a specially designed sticker (see example attached to Work Sample CDs) on each CD distinguishing it as part of The Music to Libraries Project; a collaboration with the Hudson Valley music collective Tribes Hill and funded by The New York Music Fund. We will distribute these CDs to 287 participating libraries in the lower Hudson Valley region and Long Island. With each shipment of CDs we will include educational brochures explaining details of the project, including the funding source and purpose of The Music to Libraries Project.

To further support our efforts to increase New York residents access to regional music, each performer will participate in at least one of 20 shows to be presented over two years in 20 of the participating libraries. Four of these performances will be taped for airing on public access TV.

We will also utilize online community bulletin boards, Tribes Hill's website ( and contemporary forms of online media to disseminate information about The Music to Libraries Project, The New York State Music Fund and the library performances.

Upon receipt of notification of the grant award we will begin producing project materials, including brochures, packaging / CD stickers, performance posters, and the third compilation CD. We will explore library performance interest and availability, and will send a press release to area media outlets. Beginning in February, we will order CDs from artists, compare artist availability with libraries, and schedule dates for shows (once we have established dates we will send out a press and radio release).

In March we will receive artist's CDs, put stickers on them, repackage them and ship them out to participating libraries. We will finalize poster design for printing, and design ads for local papers.

Twenty concerts will be scheduled between April 2007 and March 2009. We will print posters and flyers for distribution to libraries 4-6 weeks prior to each concert, and will contact local papers for advertising 4-6 weeks prior to each show.

We believe, as expressed so well by selected artist Fred Gillen Jr., that "a library is a rare place, in the secular world, where people of all ages, races, faiths, and economic situations gather under one roof to become educated, inspired, and entertained. We can think of very few more appropriate places where CDs of local and regional artists should be available than local libraries."

Artist Pat Wictor adds, "I've been warmly received while performing at numerous libraries all over the Northeast, and I've seen firsthand that libraries are a great place for people to discover new music. Over my lifetime, living in many different cities, I've personally had my first exposure to many significant artists -- including many lesser known ones -- at my local library, through their music collections and sponsored performances."


Folk Alliance is the service association for the field, and works on behalf of the folk music and dance industry year round. Our advocacy efforts tackle issues important to the folk arts community. An important goal of Folk Alliance's mission is to increase understanding of the rich variety, artistic value, cultural and historical significance, and continuing relevance of folk music and dance among educators, media, and the general public.

By purchasing contemporary, independent folk artist CDs and donating them to libraries, we are able to reach a much broader segment of the population. Performances by these selected independent artists not only help us meet our goal to increase access to needed resources for our artists, but also help us to expand the breadth of the folk music experience for the general public.

The Folk Alliance compilation CD "True Folk" will help lay the foundation for this important project by helping to define the genre using today's rich and colorful vocabulary of music represented by nationally recognized artists. Tribes Hill's compilation CD is important both regionally and as part of our larger folk community.

Folk Alliance works nationally and internationally to enable our members in the field to do their local and regional work more efficiently, with wider impact, and more profitably. To this end we are pleased to partner with one of our associated Hudson River Region based organizations, Tribes Hill, to present this project to the public.


Folk Alliance's office is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Our partner organization, Tribes Hill, is based in the lower Hudson River region. Tribes Hill is one of more than 60 subordinate units organized under Folk Alliance's group exemption program. We have enjoyed a collaborative and positive working relationship for several years.

Tribes Hill has been active in its community producing performances and utilizing the talents of regional artists for over 6 years. The organization has created a supportive community for their artists as well as patrons.

The idea of placing regional artist CDs in libraries is a project Tribes Hill has been planning for several years, and is excited about the possibility of successfully implementing it with the support of the NYSMF program. Tribes Hill has communicated with libraries about the project concept through a pilot mailing, and has received a very encouraging response. We believe the project will have significant community reach and impact.

Folk Alliance will manage the distribution of all monies associated with this project and monitor the progress through regular communication with Tribes Hill.

Tribes Hill will have a significant role in the implementation of the project. In preparation for this grant proposal they engaged prominent members of the music community to propose names of 30 independent singer/songwriters from the Hudson River region that they felt deserved to be heard by more people, and then invited the artists to participate. The enclosed letters of commitment demonstrate the importance of this project to them, as artists with limited access to larger New York audiences.

Tribes Hill will be responsible for the final selection of libraries to receive CDs; they will communicate directly with participating libraries and artists, and will physically receive and distribute CDs.


Folk Alliance has served as the headquarters for folk music and dance since 1989 maintains a membership of over 2,000 worldwide and holds an annual conference that is one of the five largest music conferences in North America.

Louis Jay Meyers, Executive Director of Folk Alliance will supervise one member of his staff who will be responsible for maintaining financial records tracking monies distributed from the grant to the individual artists, vendors, and personnel.

Mr. Meyers and this staff member will dedicate approximately 5% of their time to work on this project over 2 years.

Tribes Hill is a nonprofit organization uniting musicians of the lower Hudson Valley region and their patrons in support of a music community that aspires to common goals and beliefs.

Frederick (Rick) Rock, Director of Tribes Hill, has been putting on shows for over eight years and has featured such notables as Jane Siberry, Jack Hardy, Terre and Maggie Roche and current Tribes Hill member Pete Seeger. Mr. Rock will supervise one staff member who together with him will be responsible for:

•Corresponding with libraries and artists regarding CDs

•Coordinating design and printing

•Producing 20 library shows over 2 years

•Receiving CDs and shipping CDs to libraries.

•Coordinating the filming of four shows

•Coordinating advertising with local media

•Coordinating deaf signers for six of the shows

•Producing a new compilation CD for libraries and radio

Mr. Rock and his staff will dedicate approximately 8% of their time to accomplishing these tasks each year.


There are a total of 287 libraries in the eleven targeted counties; the total population of these counties (Census 2000) is 5,062,932. The average per capita income is $25,466. The average below poverty line of these counties is 9.2%. The 9,471 CDs distributed to these 287 libraries in 11 counties will deliver this music to many who may not expect such diversity and range of styles in the folk music genre.

We will include 100 brochures with each shipment. These brochures offer an opportunity to further educate the diverse populations we are reaching on the abundant talent of independent artist in our region as well as the goals of The New York State Music Fund.

Our concerts will also create community awareness of regional Folk music.

The Tribes Hill website will continue to inform the public of concerts, festivals, and venues supporting this initiative.

We have discussed the possibility of having a workshop at one of our music conferences at either NERFA (North East Regional Folk Alliance, held in Monticello, NY) or at the National Conference (this following year in Memphis, with thousands in attendance) discussing the grant with some of the artists involved. This would provide an additional opportunity to educate and inform artists and music industry leaders.

All aspects of this project will be monitored and documented. We will submit progress reports as required, including financial statements on project spending, CD distribution, performances, and library and audience participation.

Tribes Hill will be responsible and accountable to Folk Alliance for day-to-day implementation of the proposed project. Tribes Hill currently reports its activities and income to us annually as required by our affiliation program guidelines. Tribes Hill will record attendance at each of the 20 shows, and will document which libraries are participating. Each library will be asked voluntarily to submit a report to Tribes Hill at the conclusion of the project, indicating approximate circulation numbers for the donated CDs.

The potential impact of distributing 9,471 CDs to 287 libraries is significant: if 10 people borrow each CD once over the course of a year 94,710 people or more could benefit from this project. In addition, an average audience size of 100 at 20 total performances positively effects 2000 or more.

Folk Alliance and Tribes Hill are exploring the possibility of presenting a workshop at an upcoming Folk Alliance music conference, to highlight the grant with some of the participating artists. This would provide an opportunity to openly and publicly share the intentions of The New York Music Fund, as well as its source and implementation. We could further explore the music world's historical inability to maintain an open and fair market for the production and distribution of music, something of relevance to all independent artists and presenters. In this way, The Music to Libraries Project could become a great model to be replicated by our associated organizations across the country.

We are requesting a grant for $150,415 to be used over a two-year period. We will spend $121,915 in the first year for CD purchase and distribution and to produce 10 promotional shows and $28,500 in the second year to produce 10 shows.

The majority of budget costs (63% of the total amount, $95,490) are directly related to the 30 individual artists, through CD purchasing ($77,490) and performance fees (20 shows over 2 years, for a total of $18,000).

In addition to the 30 artist CDs, three compilation CDs will be purchased and distributed to the 287 participating libraries: (A) Folk Alliance Compilation ($2,583); Tribes Hill compilation Volume I ($1,435) and Volume II ($2,500, to be created and include chosen artists not appearing in the first compilation).

Associated personnel costs total $25,840, and will be divided between the two partnering organizations.

$9,800 is allocated to other performance-related expenses: sound engineers (20 shows), video recording (4 shows), and signers for the deaf (6 shows). Legal consultation, if needed, is included at a total of $500.

Lastly, $12,267 will support (A) postage needed to ship CDs, (B) design and printing of stickers, posters, flyers, and brochures, and (C) general office expenses.

updated: 15 years ago