Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimfest organizing committee"

2021 Zimfest Message from the OC

Hi Zimfest Fans,

As I am sure most of you are aware, the Zimfest Organizing Committee has been busy putting together an awesome show for this year, with some great favorite players like mbira master Musekiwa Chingodza, and some totally new folks to Zimfest, like dancer Ndomupeishe Chipendo.

The OC has been hearing from folks that they would much prefer a live event instead of the online show that is being presented.  We get it and completely agree that seeing folks up close and personal would be the best, and we would much rather have a live event as well.  However, it was obvious that we would not be able to get anyone into this country from Zimbabwe by July.  Sadly, the situation is getting worse now, very few Zimbabweans have been vaccinated and Covid is spreading rapidly through Zimbabwe, so our crystal ball was correct.  We also did not know what the situation would be like in July in America either, and the Covid cases have been climbing here as well. 

However, we equally know that our Zimbabwean friends could really use a cash infusion, so let’s support them in any way that we can, which in this case is supporting their efforts to provide us with some great performances and workshops.  On the bright side, this year we are able to present some folks that we have not been able to bring to Zimfest due to cost constraints, but we are able to include them in our online presentation.  So check out our great program schedule for the weekend of July 30 – August 1 and join us.  If that weekend does not work for you, the concerts will be available on demand and you can view them later at a time of your convenience. 

The full schedule and concert lineups have now been published on our website and on our Facebook page.

So let’s enjoy this awesome show and see you all in person in 2022!

Thanks,
Jim Levine and the Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2021 – How to Create Your Square of the Quilt

Zimfest 2021 - A Quilt of Local Events... Stiched Together

Dear Zimfest Family,

We hope our previous blog post has sparked some creative thoughts on how to participate in Zimfest 2021, taking place July 30-August 1 online. This post will give additional structure to our Quilt theme and answer some logistical questions.

Types of Squares: The Organizing Committee (OC) is looking for three types of Squares that we can stitch into a Zimfest 2021 Quilt.

  • Live Participatory Workshop or Presentation – Involves realtime interaction between teacher/presenter and students. Hosted on Zoom, only North American and European residents please. Duration of 30, 60, or 90 min.
  • Prerecorded Performance or Presentation – One or more songs or talks from individuals or groups. Hosted on YouTube and/or Facebook with interactive chat. Applicants may propose a cluster of performances, but each video file should be no longer than 30 min to allow the OC some flexibility in the stitching process.
  • Livestreamed Performance – One or more songs from individuals or groups, no longer than 60 min total. Hosted on Facebook Live (Zoom often fails to deliver high quality video of live music). This option should only be used by experienced hosts of livestreaming events and it would be wise to submit a prerecorded video as a backup.

These guidelines are not meant to be rigid limits, so let the OC know (oc{at}zimfest{dot}org) if you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit within them.

Focus on Supporting Zimbabweans and Expanding Participation: The online emphasis of Zimfest 2021 is an opportunity to involve more Zimbabweans than we can typically host at an in-person festival, as well as others who cannot normally travel to the festival. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we encourage proposals from all over North America as well as Zimbabweans throughout the global diaspora!

Applications and Content Submission: An online application where individuals or communities can describe their proposed Square(s) is available here, with a deadline of June 30. The Zimfest OC will select from these Squares as we do each year for an in-person festival and send successful applicants upload instructions. Videos should have a minimum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and be in .mp4 format. We will notify successful applicants no later than July 10 and we must receive videos no later than July 23 to allow for testing before we present the overall Quilt.

Suggestions for Teachers or Performers in Zimbabwe: Internet connections in Africa are not reliable enough for livestreaming, so we request that video from there be prerecorded. For accepted proposals requiring recording facilities in Africa and video file upload, Zimfest will cover reasonable studio and data expenses. Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza demonstrated in 2020 that co-teaching with one teacher live and the other providing recorded material can be quite successful, so we suggest that proposals may be based on this model.

Reduce Screen Fatigue: After 2020, we all know how our attention can wander during an online event. To avoid this during Zimfest 2021, consider having a ‘watch party’ where you gather (in a pandemic-safe way) to watch together.

Calling Virtual Volunteers: As with an in-person festival, the OC needs your help to make Zimfest 2021 a success. We need MCs to introduce videos, video editors to add captions where needed, viewers to screen submitted for quality, etc. Please write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to learn how you can help.

Newly-revised Homepage: Check out the Quilt-themed artwork and other updates at https://zimfest.org/.

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Zimfest Online News

Dear Zimfest community,
As disappointed as we are not to be able to physically gather this summer, the Zimfest Board and OC want you to know we are working on ways to virtually engage with you all.

  • Go to the Kutandara (Boulder, CO) website to learn about their many online activities. Randy and Amy have instituted the #KutandaraPlaysMarimba project offering free song-of-the-month marimba lessons on YouTube to get everyone playing “together.”
  • The Zimfest Organizing Committee will be offering the Cultural Presentations that the festival is known for on an online basis. Stay tuned!
  • Calling for a Digital Media Curator for Zimfest. We have a need for a digitally-minded volunteer to help us out as we work on putting more music and media online. This individual(s) would lead the way for Zimfest in the sourcing, collection, adjustment, inventory, and presentation of media types including audio, video, and photos.
  • Our call for designs for Zimfest this year has resulted in an updated logo – see below! Thanks to Penny Martindale for her creative eye!

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Virtual Marimba Opportunity

Greetings Zimbabwean Music Community,

We hope you are faring well during these uncertain times. As we mentioned in the Zimfest Association post announcing the cancellation of Zimfest 2020, we have been brainstorming ways to sustain our community and celebrate Zimbabwean music and culture while remaining physically distant. In the meantime, a member of the community has shared with us an opportunity to perform marimba together virtually that we’d like to pass on to you.

Michael Smith, a Portland marimba teacher (and vendor at Zimfest 2016), has been working with his students on a Virtual MarimbaLab Project using their arrangement of the song “Lean On Me” in the key of C so that everyone (especially Zimbabwean-style marimba players) can participate.  He had just launched the project on his website when the news came out that composer and 1970s soul music icon Bill Withers had passed away, making the project more timely and poignant as a video tribute.

Go to Michael’s MarimbaLab website to learn more about the project and join in if you wish. Marimba players, drummers, hosho (shaker) players and hand-clappers are all welcome!

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention other Zimfest musicians who are finding ways to share their music online, Check out our favorite guitarist Zivanai Masango’s Facebook page and Youtube channel; the ZiMBiRA leader has so much to share! Those who are on Facebook will find lots of mbira music shared by–among many others–Zimfest teachers new (Taffie Matiure) and old (Joel Laviolette, hosting a weekly mbira session).  

Stay safe and healthy,
Zimfest Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Announcing the Cancellation of Zimfest 2020

Dear Zimfest Community,

After much discussion by the Zimfest Association Board and the Organizing Committee, we have decided to cancel Zimfest 2020. In lieu of holding the festival this year, we will begin to plan for Zimfest 2021, and also explore alternative opportunities for celebrating and supporting Zimbabwean music.

The health and safety of Zimfest teachers, performers and participants have been our paramount concern.

Although there is no way to predict what the status of the COVID-19 pandemic will be in late July, we must consider the possibility that restrictions will still be in place regarding large group activities that would require a last-minute cancellation of the festival.

If this were the only barrier we faced, a final decision could potentially have been postponed until later in the year, but unfortunately we also face a number of challenges in the short term:

  • The availability of Conference Services staff at The Evergreen State College, our Zimfest 2020 host, is very limited during this time, as all campus services are on deferred operations through at least April 24 due to COVID-19. As a result, we have not yet received the letters of invitation we requested for our Zimbabwean guests—these are necessary documents supporting their B-1 visa applications. We also require data on room allotment by early April in order to set up our registration system. As long as the deferred operations are in place, we can expect further delays in other essential information on facilities, concert, and workshop venues, adversely affecting our ability to open registration.  There is currently no estimate for when Evergreen Conference Services will resume normal operations.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Harare, where Zimbabwean visa applicants must appear for mandatory in-person interviews, has cancelled routine non-immigrant visa appointments as of March 19, 2020.  It is unknown when this restriction will be lifted.
  • Due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, South African Airlines has cancelled international flights for the indefinite future. This carrier provides flights from Harare to Johannesburg SA that are often the first leg of the journey from Zimbabwe to the US. Many flights onward from Joburg are also being cancelled and their future availability cannot be predicted.
  • The United States has barred entry of citizens from many regions of the world, including Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico. There is no indication when such bans may be lifted.
  • Another consideration is the severe economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Members of the Zimfest community will be affected financially by working reduced hours or losing their jobs, while others are beset by new challenges such as converting from in-person to remote working or teaching. These difficulties could suppress Zimfest attendance, even if COVID-19 transmission were no longer an issue at the end of July.

In short, because of conditions outside of our control, we are unable to put on a successful Zimbabwean Music Festival this year. We believe that announcing the cancellation now, rather than waiting, will reduce financial losses by Zimbabwean artists who need to pay for visa applications, airfare, etc.

In times of stress and uncertainty, gathering together in community to celebrate Zimbabwean music and each other could be an especially healing and uplifting experience. Members of the Board and Organizing Committee mourn along with you the loss of our event and the incredible line-up of teachers and performers who planned to attend this year. We are especially sad about the lost opportunity for Zimbabwean artists to come to the festival, teach and perform, make new connections, and earn income for their families. 

We wish you and yours good health during these unsettled times, and extend our sympathy to anyone who has lost family members or friends to the virus. To the healthcare personnel in our community, we deeply thank you for helping save the lives of others, despite the risks. Traditional music has provided strength and healing during many troubled times; may you continue to gain comfort from the music we love, even as we ride out this unprecedented worldwide calamity.

Sincerely,

Zimfest Association Board
2020 Zimfest Organizing Committee

Zimfest: Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest 2020 Novel Coronavirus Update

Dear Zimfest Community,

The Zimfest Board is monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on Zimfest 2020.

At this time, we plan to hold Zimfest 2020 from July 31st – August 2nd on the campus of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Registration is targeted to open on May 1.

Please be aware that this decision may change based on guidance from health agencies, travel restrictions, or if we feel that the risk posed to the Zimfest community is unacceptably high.  The board regularly reviews updates and guidance from local, state, and national public health agencies to inform our decisions.  We are also working closely with our host, The Evergreen State College, as we navigate these uncertain times.

The Board will provide regular updates about the situation and its impact on Zimfest 2020. We are all looking forward to the Festival  but your safety and health are our first concern. Please check the Zimfest blog regularly for updates. If you have questions or concerns about the impact of novel coronavirus on the festival, please write to our Board contact person, janis{at}zimfest{dot}org. Questions about the festival should be directed to oc{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Sincerely,

Zimfest Association Board and Zimfest 2020 Organizing Committee

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Applications Wanted

Hello Zimfest people,

Just a reminder from the Organizing Committee that applications are open until February 29  for teachers and performers for Zimfest 2020! Please don’t wait until the last minute – your application will stand out from the crowd if you apply now!

And a message from the Tech committee: We are seeking a web graphic design volunteer who has knowledge and experience with WordPress. Help us to maintain and improve the Zimfest website!  Write to tech{at}zimfest{dot}org with your contact info and relevant skills.

Hoping to hear from you soon,
Zimfest Organizing Committee
Zimfest Tech Committee
Festival Coordinator Claire Jones

Zimfest: Music Dancing Across Borders

 

 

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Call for Zimfest Art and More

Hello Zimfesters,

We have some requests for help from the Zimfest Association Board of Directors and the 2020 Organizing Committee (OC):

  • The OC is calling for submissions of designs to be used for Zimfest 2020 publicity, tee shirts and more.  As mentioned on the new 2020 overview page, the festival theme remains Music Dancing Across Borders. Your artwork could reference this theme, or anything else creatively suggestive of the Zimbabwean Music Festival. Send your submissions to oc{at}zimfest{dot} org.  Creator of the best usable idea sent to us by January 15, 2020 receives $100 and our appreciation!
  • The ZA is searching for new members for the Board of Directors! The best way to help us get the news out to you, the Zimfest community, is to help us increase our numbers to do the work of the Board! See the Board Recruitment page for info and write us a letter today!
  • Don’t forget now is a great time to renew your membership, become a ZA member for 2020 or just donate to the cause! The Holiday Fundraiser page tells you how and why.
  • A reminder from the OC that performer and teacher applications will open January 2, 2020. If there are any offerings you’d like to see in the way of workshops, drop us a line at teachers{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Enjoy the solstice!

Alex Weeks, ZA Board President
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest 2020

Dear Zimfest community,

Thank you to all who filled out the post-Zimfest survey or have otherwise communicated to the ZA Board and organizers about their feelings and desires for Zimfest in 2020.

Based on support from the community, the Board has decided to go ahead with plans to produce Zimfest 2020 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA!  I have been in touch with Conference Services at Evergreen and they are enthusiastic about hosting Zimfest from July 30-August 2, 2020. We are in the process of ironing out some details and look forward to signing a Booking Agreement. So, not 100% confirmed yet, but I would advise you to save these dates! 

We are happy to say that a number of people stepped up at this year’s festival to volunteer to help organize the next Zimfest. As always, however (you know the drill), we welcome your volunteering help! Let us know if you are interested in helping to organize, or would be available for special assignments – e.g., proof-reading, publicity or technical tasks – for brief periods of time during the course of the year. You can write to me at claire{at}zimfest{dot}org or the Board at board{at}zimfest{dot}org.

 – Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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Post-Festival Blues

Greetings Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2019 has come and gone and I, for one, have now caught up on my sleep after four days of incredible music and gathering with new and old friends!

Why are we blue? We want to hear from you! The Post-Festival Survey is open on the website and we’d love to hear your feedback: what did you like and what didn’t you like about Zimfest 2019 at Western Oregon University. If you didn’t make it to the festival this year, there is a question for you too – we’d like to hear why you didn’t come! 

The Zimfest Association Board of Directors will be meeting soon to make a final decision on Zimfest 2020. We need your input.

If you would like to offer to help organize the next festival, please email board{at}zimfest{dot}org or contact Claire directly at claire{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Thank you, Tatenda, Siyabonga!

Claire and the 2019 Organizers 

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Zimfest Workshop Changes

Greetings Zimfest-ers,

Zimfest 2019 registration is going very slowly and we are anticipating reduced attendance this year. There are likely a number of reasons for this, but what it means for those who are coming is less competition for desirable workshops, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Register soon – your registrations tell us what you want! 

  • We have made some adjustments to the workshop schedule to optimize enrollments. See Festival Updates & Workshop Changes for a list of changes. You may find openings in a workshop you thought was full!
  • A heads-up to those enrolled in marimba workshops: we received a number of comments in last year’s evaluations that some of the marimbas were too loud, making it difficult to hear when trying to learn parts. For this year, all tenor and soprano marimbas in workshop rooms will have no resonators. Our marimba loaners and transporters have been very happy to hear this! Let us know in the workshop evaluations if this should be repeated in future years.

Happy solstice,
Zimfest 2019 OC

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Zimfest Board and Committee Updates

Howdy Zimfest Community,

The 2019 Organizing Committee would like you to know:

  • We are actively working on this year’s Festival Guide. If you or your organization would like ad space in the printed guide (discounts for non-profits!), please contact chatbetty{at}gmail{dot}com. You may also contact Betty if you or your community has lost a loved one who you would like mentioned in the In Memoriam page.
  • We are seeking Vendor Applications for the Marketplace—a fun place to hang out during the festival! Be sure to get your applications in by July 20 to avoid being charged a late fee. 

From the ZA Tech Committee:

  • You can now look up current workshop enrollments on both the Workshop List and Workshop Table pages on the website, where “Remaining” indicates the number of spots open in each workshop. Both displays also feature an additional filter called “Open/Full” with which you can view either Full or Open classes (those with slots remaining).
  • Make your Zimfest travel plans now! The Getting to Zimfest page has been updated and the Ride Board is ready for posts from those seeking and those offering rides.

And at long last, an announcement from the Zimfest Association Board:

  • The ZA Board has tentatively reserved the dates of July 30 to August 2, 2020 for Zimfest at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA. We will make an official decision on whether to hold a 2020 festival after this year’s festival, based on commitment from the community and the success of Zimfest 2019.

Posted by Claire with help from many hard working volunteers!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

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