So ...what will I miss if I do not attend the ACB convention in Jacksonville from July 8-15? Quite apart from the panoply of activities related to the convention and the unique attractions of Jacksonville, you will miss a variety of Friends-in-Art-sponsored events.

Saturday, July 8

7 to 9 p.m.: FIA board meeting. All are welcome!

Sunday, July 9

4-5:45 p.m.: Mixer/Showcase Sign-up. Come meet old friends and make new ones while registering for a Showcase audition slot. Note that you must sign up for a slot if you wish to perform in the FIA Showcase. For additional details, please see "Some Words to Prospective Showcase Performers" at the end of this article.

5:45-6:45 p.m.: First chorus rehearsal. This year, Sara Alawami, who is a FIA-sponsored student, and Gordon Kent are creating the arrangements.

Monday, July 10

1:30 to 3 p.m.: MIDI Workshop. This year, Gordon Kent and Mike Mandel will demonstrate techniques currently in use in rap, hip-hop, and other contemporary musical styles. Learn the features of two accessible off-the- shelf programs, Band in a Box and One Man Band.

3:30 to 6 p.m.: Audition/Rehearsal for Showcase. At scheduled times, performers rehearse their chosen material for length, polish, and appropriateness.

9 to 10:30 p.m.: Prose/Poetry Reading. Writers are invited to read their original works. Audience members are encouraged to interact with these presenters.

10 to 11 p.m.: Concluding chorus rehearsal, mandatory for participation in Showcase.

Tuesday, July 11

12:30 to 2 p.m.: FIA luncheon and business meeting. Come and enjoy Southern-style fried chicken with all the trimmings, and meet others interested in the arts. Our luncheon speaker will be Hope McMath, who is in charge of the accessible exhibits at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, one of the ACB-sponsored tours scheduled for Thursday. She will discuss what we will experience at the museum. When this exhibit was being planned, the excellent program at the Birmingham Museum of Art, which we visited two years ago, was used as a model. She will also tell us about Women of Vision, a museum-sponsored group of visually impaired artists. Election of officers and the conducting of other business will follow this brief presentation. Be present for your voice to be heard and your vote to count.

3 to 5 p.m.: Designer's Choice: Hands-On Flower Arranging. Come and create something beautiful to take home, while learning adaptive techniques from Elsie Monthei, one of our most talented artists. Class size is limited to 14.

8 to 10:30 p.m.: Friends-In-Art Showcase of the Performing Arts. For the price of a $10 ticket, you will enjoy top-quality entertainment from talented ACB members. This is one of the most popular events of the week, and somehow, it just gets better every year!

Wednesday, July 12

1:30 to 4 p.m.: Advanced MIDI Workshop. Explore some exciting new breakthroughs in sampling and synthesis from the standpoint of creativity and accessibility. Presenters: Gordon Kent, Washington, D.C. and Mike Mandel, New York, N.Y.

3 to 5 p.m.: Writers' Workshop (in conjunction with NABT). Chopping Out The Chaff: Hone Your Editing Skills. Presenters: Sharon Lovering and Peter Altschul, Washington, D.C.

5 to 6:30 p.m.: Round and Harmony Sing. Come and sing those beautiful rounds and harmony songs we all know and love and learn some new ones. Presenter: Lynn Hedl.

Thursday, July 13

7:30 to 8:30 a.m.: FIA board meeting. All are welcome!

Don't forget the ACB-sponsored tour to the Cummer Museum and Gardens, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

We believe that this array of activities and opportunities to learn and perform will give you the chance to broaden your horizons in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. We encourage performers to perform and audiences to enjoy! Some Words to Prospective Showcase Performers

To increase your chances of performing in front of an adoring audience, here are a few points to consider when selecting your material.

1. Give serious consideration to upbeat material. We tend to have a shortage of up-tempo acts, as potential performers often bring more meditative selections to the microphone. If your preference is the latter, give some thought to preparing an upbeat backup.

2. Variety is key to achieving a successful show. Therefore, we usually judge within genre: that is, voice accompanied by piano performances will be compared to each other, while dramatic readings will be judged against other dramatic readings. Although music is the most popular mode of entertainment, all performing arts media are welcome, and we especially encourage new talent to audition.

3. Language in Showcase presentations should respect the presence of both children and adults. The FIA Showcase is considered family entertainment. The prose/poetry event encourages freedom of expression. Please keep in mind the difference between these venues.

4. Come well prepared. Polish and flair will capture the attention of the audience, and go a long way toward ensuring your place in the show.

5. Please note that previous experience has shown that 23 acts, with each act in the spotlight for no more than five minutes, makes for a well- balanced evening.

6. Let us know what you need in advance.

Piano accompaniment: A sighted accompanist is usually not available to play from a printed musical score; however, several talented people are able to improvise accompaniments to show tunes, jazz standards, gospel hymns, and a limited repertoire of classical music. Specific accompaniments can be learned if provided in advance. Please contact Peter Altschul at [email protected] with questions.

Using a pre-recorded track: To those considering performing with the assistance of a pre-recorded accompaniment, please bring a copy, not the original, to the mixer on Sunday, July 9. Our best efforts at returning materials have sometimes gone awry. Please affix your name to the CD or cassette (we prefer CDs). Note that since your five minutes in the limelight are best spent displaying your own talent and style, overly lengthy instrumental interludes are strongly discouraged.

Fronting the band: To those considering using our "house band," please alert us to the title of the song you wish to sing as soon as possible, as we will back only 10 acts this year; priority will be given to those who alert us early of their chosen song. We are particularly adept at playing swing, pop, and R&B standards. You'll need to schedule some time to rehearse with the band during the mornings of either Monday, July 10 or Tuesday, July 11.

Join the chorus: To those interested in singing in our chorus, and who have not previously received a rehearsal CD, please e-mail me your name and street address ASAP, as the CDs will be mailed in early June. Let me know if you wish to be sent the lyrics in braille or large print. Please be prepared to attend both rehearsals mentioned above.

Audition procedures: Everyone, including those who have alerted us previously of their interest to audition, must sign up for a rehearsal time slot during our mixer on Sunday, July 9. We'll need your name, the title of the selection you are planning to perform, and your hotel room number. While getting in touch with one another is always difficult at conventions, we plan to inform all performers of audition outcomes between 10 p.m. and midnight on Monday, July 10.

If this article has not addressed what you need to know, please feel free to request further help. You may e-mail information and/or questions to Peter Altschul at [email protected]

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