BBQ Scores Awesome Grant
Note: Images courtesy of Applehead Studio.
Wednesday night marked another first for the quintet: our first grant proposal.
This was no ordinary grant process. Rather than writing voluminous documents and waiting beside our mailbox for a reply, we found ourselves among the finalists pitching our zany ideas to a pastry-fueled, laid-back sea of friendly and encouraging faces. These folks prefer congratulatory hugs to businesslike handshakes. Welcome to the world of the Awesome Foundation Halifax.
The Awesome Foundation Halifax is a group of local citizens committed to making Halifax more… awesome. Every month 10 Trustees of Awesome chip in to create a grant of $1,000. Haligonians can pitch any idea aimed at bringing a little awesome to Halifax. After whittling the list to four finalists, a winner takes home the cash to implement their idea.
While searching for opportunities to perform on the Halifax waterfront, I stumbled across the Awesome Foundation Halifax’s latest call for entries. Supported this month with additional funding from Waterfront Development, the foundation was seeking waterfront-themed ideas to get behind. Perfect! I fired off a short description of our idea: a series of concerts staged aboard the Halifax-Dartmouth ferries. We thought it would be great fun to take our summer show of pops, jazz and folk music aboard a mobile platform. It would be a great way to promote public transportation and music education in Halifax.
To our surprise and delight, we were among the four finalists chosen to attend a live pitch event Wednesday night at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I was pleased to learn of the venue; the museum is a familiar performance space for us, since we played back-to-back Titanic shows there last year. Their small craft gallery is a great space to perform, flanked by an assortment of sailboats, dinghys, and other nautical paraphernelia. There’s plenty of reverb, but it’s not a cold and “boomy” space.
Soon we were on the clock (pitches can’t exceed four minutes) and sharing our idea with a sizeable crowd of Awesome Trustees, fellow finalists, and visitors. We kept our spiel short, as we wanted to include a bit of music in the presentation. A quick run-through of Farewell to Nova Scotia (a nice arrangement recently added to our library) and we were done.
While we waited for the results, we chatted with our fellow finalists. There were some great ideas: A splash-pad water park in Dartmouth, glow-in-the-dark waterskiing in the harbour, and a program teaching kids to fish on the waterfront. When the votes were finally tallied, we were thrilled and genuinely surprised to nab the coveted $2,000 Awesome Foundation grant sponsored by Waterfront Development!
Now comes the fun part: Organizing and mounting our ferry-borne concert series this summer. We already had the blessing in principle of Metro Transit to perform aboard their ferries, but we’ll need to work with them on specifics now. We’ve started to pencil in potential dates for the shows, and alternate rain dates will be crucial. We’ll promote the shows via social media and print posters, just as we do for our feature concerts. And we’ve got some logistical problems to solve; performing in a cramped space under the strong winds of the harbour crossing will be a challenge.
So stay tuned for details of the Bedford Brass Quintet’s forthcoming concert series aboard the ferries. Summer is indeed BBQ season!