Sunshine of the Spirit

by Barb Sorensen

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About

Goal:

To perform two free community concerts per month in 2017 in the northwest suburbs of metropolitan Chicago at local businesses or places that don't ordinarily have a budget for music or a live performer.

Background:

I gave a concert in 2002 in a local city for their weekly antique car show. One day, as I was singing on stage, I noticed a mother and her young daughter walk up to my merchandise sales table, and speak with my intern who was attending to it. I saw the lady walked away with a CD without paying for it. Suddenly the lady turned around, put the CD back on the table and walked away angrily. I wondered what had happened?!

After the concert I asked my intern about that moment and she told me this... The lady wanted one of my CDs because she really liked my music, and thought she could just take one and leave. When she was called back by my intern, and told that the CDs are for sale, she put the CD back and angrily complained that, "Music ought to be free!" Her young daughter who also loved my music really wanted the CD, so she pulled out her purse, and tried to buy the CD. But the mother made her put her money away, and demanded again that, "Music ought to be free!" and stormed off with her sad daughter in tow.

I understand both perspectives.

  • Music can build community spirit, as a way of passing on stories, lessons, and experiences about life from one generation to the next.  Why should it be that only those with the money to buy a CD or concert ticket can listen? 
  • On the other hand, recording a CD and performing concerts require a LOT of physical and mental labor. Writing, arranging, practicing, recording, editing, and mastering the songs are only the beginning. An artist must also find & book venues, write contracts, design and layout press releases for multiple types of media, deal with copyright and publishing rights, and do general bookkeeping. Since this is what I do for a living, with no "day job" to fall back on, I also have to consider overhead costs and general living expenses.

The ability to make music is a gift freely given to me; I need to give back freely as well. Free community concerts are an ideal way to do just that.

In 2014, after my mother and father died, I decided to give a few free concerts to the community, in their honor. People really liked them!  The economy fluctuations have messed with some people's incomes and I am seeing a real sense of relief and appreciation for a little bit of free joy in their lives.  Still, it costs time and money to give a free concert... so I decided to give kickstarter.com a try.

Please help make free community concerts and free music a continued joy for everyone via a donation to my overhead expenses.  Again, my goal is to perform two free community concerts per month in 2017 in the northwest metropolitan suburbs of Chicago at local businesses or places that don't ordinarily have a budget for music or a live performer.

The funds will go towards: Electricity, heating gas, office supplies, office space rental, office phone and internet services, accounting software rental, fliers for each event, labor costs for an assistant, P.O. Box rental, sound system rental, artist production expenses, website maintenance and server space rental and insurance.  Thank you.

Risks and challenges

I have figured into the goal amount, the following factors:

*Insurance: My concerts are fairly tame, thus there haven't been any injuries or damages. However, having liability insurance is a necessity to be sure things go smoothly just in case.

*Equipment failure: A newer sound system is one way to prevent this.

*If I get ill and need to cancel a concert - I have a pool of accomplished musicians I can pull from to fill in. 'The show must go on".

*Inclement weather is always a risk for outdoor concerts. I have a canopy tent for sunny days, and would need to reschedule the rainy day concerts. Rescheduling incurs a marketing cost to get the word out to everyone again. So I have planned into the costs for three rainy day concerts. Backup venues will also be scheduled for rainy outdoor days.

*Competition sabotage: While we would all like to believe that such a thing does not exist... reality check is that there are individuals out there that get jealous, insecure and mean. Having a good lawyer, emergency marketing back up plan and liability insurance are my best defenses against this.

* The amount of time and work it takes to put on a quality concert: Is A LOT! Part of the funds will go towards two employees part time to help with processing everything, setting up equipment, gathering materials, etc... They will also help with fulfilling rewards and gathering additional sponsors and advertisers.

The question has come up about why not just leave "free" concerts to the local city or village which is funded by the citizens already?

Answer:
A very limited number of artists are hired to perform these concerts, and in this area anyway, the same artists seem to get the same gigs year after year. The selection of artists for these concerts is left up to one person and it is not their job to consult with the general population about which artists to choose each year. They go by what seems to be popular or affordable or personal reasons, etc... This seriously deprives the audience of fresh, new, and different music, artists, and experiences.

Sunshine for the Spirit also brings the music into venues other than the village or city run stages and events. By playing in nearby theaters, stores, etc..., and at non city sponsored events, we support small local businesses that may not be able to afford a concert but love to have music in their parking lots or stores to help draw attention to their products and services. These concerts are enjoyed by a wider audience, people that may not necessarily attend crowded city run events or who want to hear something new and fresh and different.
Or perhaps crave live music sooner than the annual city or village run event.

Music is a very powerful tool when used for good.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About

    A Garden of Love Shared

    Good Karma

    Undying Gratitude

    The satisfaction of knowing you have done something to lift the spirits of others

    Thank you email from Barb

    Name listed in the "A Garden of Love Shared" on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "A Garden of Love Shared Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Stay up to date on the Sunshine of the Spirit project and events

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    A Homegrown Floral Bouquet

    Name listed in the "A Homegrown Floral Bouquet" on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or to be listed as "A Homegrown Floral Bouquet Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Name listed on the back of the stage banner as a supporter of the arts. The Banner contains the names of all donors and will be turned around and on display after the concert.

    Donor's name will be listed on the Sunshine of the Spirit website on a special DONOR's page

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    A Bushel of Petunias

    Name listed in the "A Bushel of Petunias" on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "A Bushel of Petunias" Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Global Reward: For donors that won't be able to come to the concerts in person, tune-in to a special Facebook LIVE broadcast of a concert (RSVP required so we can add your name to the Facebook page and send you an invitation to whichever concert you choose to view)
    We will include a view behind the scenes as the stage gets setup and briefly talk with Barb before she goes on stage to perform. We will also include a look at the back of the stage banner which shows your name listed as a supporter of the arts, and of the sign by the side of the stage listing the donors)

    PLUS, Receive a collection of over 25 images taken at the concerts, in a PDF booklet. Images are captured by team members and audience members. We will upload this online to a secured location and send along the password needed to download the file. This way, donors will be able to print it out.

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    Blossoming Flowers

    1 video download link emailed to you of 1 LIVE concert. We will upload this online to a secured location and send along the password needed to download the file.

    We will place your photo on the DONORS page on the Sunshine of the Spirit website

    Includes:
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    Flower Buds

    You get your name listed in the "Flower Buds" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Flower Bud Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    We will place your name and the country you are from, on a tag on the back of one of the seats at the concerts as a supporter of the arts.

    Includes:
    • "Blossoming Flowers"
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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - Bluebirds

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL (If you back this project at this amount within the first week of it's release, you get the following):

    Your name listed in the "Bluebird Donors" category on the sign by the stage
    (ability to opt out or be listed as "Bluebird Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    An invite to a special rehearsal in Palatine before the concert date where you will also receive a photograph of Barb, which she will personally sign thanking you for your donation!

    Includes:
    • "Blossoming Flowers"
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    Pledge $100 or more About

    Green Leaves

    You get your name listed in the "Green Leaves" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Green Leaves" if you would like to remain anonymous)
    Autographed photo of Barb on stage sent to you vie email download link

    Your name listed in a scrolling list in a box on Barb's website titled:
    SPARK - "Special Acts of Random Kindness" for gifts of music to the community". The box will be located on the Barb Sorensen website front page until January 1, 2018 (ability to opt out or be listed as "Green Leaves Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)
    ( http://www.barbsorensen.com )

    Includes:
    • "Flower Buds"
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    Pledge $250 or more About

    Flower Stems

    You get your name listed in the "Flower Stems" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Flower Stems Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Linked business logo or facebook name on the thank you email from Barb sent to Barb's Fan base (ability to opt out or be listed as "Flower Stems Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    2 tickets for a free bag of popcorn at a concert.

    Includes:
    • "Green Leaves"
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    Pledge $500 or more About

    Sprouts

    You get your name listed in the "Sprouts" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Sprouts Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Name listed in the credits of the End of Year #1 Sunshine of the Spirit Concert Series Video/DVD

    1 Copy of the DVD (A secure download link will be emailed to donors from outside the United States)

    Includes:
    • "Flower Stems"
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    Pledge $750 or more About

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - Robins

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:
    You get your name listed in the "Robin Donor" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Robin Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Your name specially thanked and announced on stage at the concerts (ability to opt out or be named as "Robin Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    1 T-shirt saying "I helped supply Sunshine for the Spirit!" with a robin logo on it

    Includes:
    • "Sprouts
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    Pledge $1,200 or more About

    Precious Peatmoss

    You get your name listed in the "Precious Peatmoss" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Precious Peatmoss Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    3 Reserved front or second row seats at 1 of the concerts.

    You will be immortalized in the Sunshine of the Spirit DVD! Your name will be listed in the liner notes with donor level noted

    Includes:
    • "Sprouts
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    Pledge $2,000 or more About

    Fresh Soil

    Your name listed in the "Fresh Soil" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Fresh Soil Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Plus, 15 seconds of pre-video screen time in the Sunshine of the Spirit Year #1 DVD with your company or group’s logo, name and address information mentioned as a company/group donor

    Includes:
    • "Precious Peatmoss"
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    Pledge $3,500 or more About

    Warm Sunshine

    You get your name listed in the "Warm Sunshine" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Warm Sunshine Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    1 singing telegram delivered by Barb in person within 3 miles of downtown Palatine, IL (ability to be named as a "Warm Sunshine Anonymous Donor/friend/fan/etc.." if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Includes:
    • "Precious Peatmoss"
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About

    Spring Rain

    You get your name listed in the "Spring Rain" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Spring Rain Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Barb gives away 1 of her CDs at a concert, which has your business logo or facebook address information or name in it as a donor (ability to opt out or have yourself listed as "Spring Rain Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Barb announces your name on stage as a donor with a special Thank you!

    Includes:
    • "Warm Sunshine"
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - SWANS

    You get your name listed in the "Swan Donor" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as the "Swans Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Your name or company logo in the blog posting on Barb's Wordpress site and Facebook accounts saying how you helped make it possible to establish Sunshine of the Spirit as a non-profit by funding the project early on. (ability to opt out or be listed as "Swans Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    You get to choose 3 songs from Barb's catalogue for her to sing at 1 concert and dedicate it to whomever you choose

    1 singing telegram delivered by Barb in person within 3 miles of downtown Palatine, IL (ability to be named as a "Warm Sunshine Anonymous Donor/friend/fan/etc.." if you would like to remain anonymous)

    A special cap with the Sunshine of the Spirit logo on it.

    Includes:
    • "Sprouts
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    Pledge $7,500 or more About

    Small Seeds

    You get your name listed in the "Small Seeds" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Small Seeds Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Name/logo is printed on a sticker on the outside back of the giveaway CD cases (ability to opt out or be listed as "Small Seeds Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    A special private concert for up to 200 of your guests at a location within 20 miles of Palatine, IL

    Framed autographed photo of Barb

    Includes:
    • "Spring Rain"
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    Pledge $10,000 About

    Don't Fool With Mother Nature

    You get your name listed in the "Don't Fool With Mother Nature" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "Don't Fool With Mother Nature Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    You get to be a roadie for one concert! Help setup and take down the sound equipment (we will train you)

    You get to help choose the order of songs for the set list.

    You get to help run the sound check and adjust the knobs to help create the best sound for the audience

    You get back stage and behind the scenes access to help set up one of the concerts

    You get your name listed as ROADIE/CREW on the Sunshine of the Spirit T-shirts

    You get a special cap with "Roadie/Crew" written on it for the Sunshine of the Spirit concert series

    Framed and autographed photo of You and Barb on stage at the concert with a special thank you written on it by Barb

    A special Thank you! shout-out to the audience for your donation and crew support!

    Includes:
    • "Spring Rain"
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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - EAGLE

    You get your name listed in the "EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - EAGLE" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - EAGLE Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    We will send a limo to pick up you and a guest and take you back to your home after the concert (must be within a 20 mile radius of the concert).

    Get your own Photo Wall at all of the concerts proclaiming you as our largest donor, and in front of which guests can take their photos

    We will roll out a red carpet for your entrance to the concert

    We will reserve a table for you at a sit down restaurant close to the concert (in the same city) where you will enjoy a dinner for 2 on us (that you will choose in advance, no waiting).

    Then Barb will personally escort you to the 2 reserved seats in the front row that you choose in advance. Your seat will be tagged with your name.

    And, of course... you will be immortalized in the Sunshine of the Spirit DVD with your name in the liner notes with donor level noted as TOP DONOR, and also on the outside of the back cover with a special Thank you!

    Framed autographed photo of Barb

    Your name will be listed on the website's DONORS PAGE as our top donor and in the DVD pre-video as TOP DONOR

    Plus we will add your 30 second commercial introduction to the DVD video of Sunshine of the Spirit

    Includes:
    • "Spring Rain"
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    WHEN THE PLANETS ALIGN

    You get your name listed in the "When the Planets Align" category on the sign by the stage (ability to opt out or be listed as "When the Planets Align Anonymous Donor" if you would like to remain anonymous)

    Ever want to be a Rockstar?! You get to sing two songs from Barb's catalogue with her on stage in front of the audience. (We will schedule 2 rehearsals with you prior to the concert date at a location within 20 miles of Palatine, IL)

    You get a special introduction from Barb, as the surprise guest artist

    A framed personally autographed photo of You and Barb on stage singing together.

    You get "green room" access for behind the stage refreshments and conversation prior to the show

    You get to participate on stage in the sound check before the show

    We will have a limo pick up you and a friend and bring you back home after the post-show dinner (within a 20 mile radius of the concert)

    Private dinner with Barb and her team after the concert, at a sit down restaurant which you get to help choose (within city limits of where the concert is)

    You get a special German lullaby sung to you by Barb before you get into the limo to go home.

    Includes:
    • "Spring Rain"
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