Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway

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-----Original Message-----
From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @]
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2005 12:30 AM
Subject: Report on the Greenway Music Festival -- from David Brunet

The Greenway Music Festival was outstanding, thanks to all who gave so freely of their time and money to make it happen.

As the week preceding the Festival progressed, we could see all the details coming together. Volunteers were organized into teams. We got yellow T-shirts and name tags for everyone. The silent auction received enough items to be an important money-maker. Meanwhile, though, dark clouds hung on the horizon day after day, and one weather forecaster put the chance of rain on Sunday the 18th at 70%! We watched the weather nervously, but luckily we found a rain site and developed a plan for how to move the concert indoors if need be.

But Sunday morning dawned bright and clear, and the weather stayed beautiful all afternoon. Armadillo Sound showed up at 10:30 a.m., and the Boy Scouts helped us unload the van. Then Hot!Dish, Dan Chouinard, Tim Eriksen and Gary Rue showed up, in that order. Prudence was delayed and couldnít arrive until 3 p.m., so the concert was quickly reorganized to accommodate her.

Meanwhile, Margo Danner, Mary Foss and Meg Tilley set up the silent auction, while Susan Gauer set up the refreshment table. Val Jackson took charge of the volunteers on the ticket tables, Darrell Foss handed out the cash boxes, and John Ward, aided by some Boy Scouts, put up posters.

Following a sound check, we were ready to go. The audience began to trickle in. When David Brunet introduced Hot!Dish, less than 100 people were in the audience. As Hot!Dish began singing their tight harmonies, more and more people could be seen hurrying up the path to the amphitheatre, so as not to miss their wonderful vocals.

By 2 p.m., when Jack Conrad introduced Kristin Fischer, who in turn introduced Tim Eriksen, the audience had grown, and they listened raptly to Timís edgy melodies. Dan Chouinard and Peter Ostroushko followed, and the audience listened breathlessly. Gary Rue came next, and then his wife Prudence Johnson joined him, and Dan took out his accordion to accompany them. When Prudenceís greyhound came onstage to join her, the audience was delighted.

Between the acts, Mike Fedde dedicated the concert to the memory of the recently departed Raleigh Foss (charter member of Friends of Lebanon Hills and the Eagan Open Space Coalition), the Trust for Public Landís Director of Development, Tom Evers, talked about the significance of the Greenway, and Caponi Art Park Board Chairperson, Cary Felbab, welcomed the audience to the Art Park and its unique blend of art and nature.

One of the volunteers said she had never seen an event run so smoothly. Kate Hanson and Sandy Masin, who had sat at the ticket booth at the lower parking lot, said many people told them they had never been in the Art Park before-and that, too, was a measure of the success of the event. We didnít get 600 people like we had hoped, but we did attract over half that many, thereby surpassing an Art Park record and we did manage to reach the people we wanted to reach: those who were not aware of what a treasure the Greenway is. Many, many audience members exclaimed, "What a great place this is!"

Total revenues for the event topped $5,000, with some of that donated up front to support our publicity and sound costs. All of the artists and speakers donated their time and talent for free. So total net receipts still totaled nearly $4,500, which is the amount we turned over to the Eagan Foundation, our contracted fiduciary agent, which has established an Eagan Core Greenway Fund on our behalf at MinnWest Bank.

The Festival ran smoothly because people like Val Jackson and Margo Danner stepped up and took charge of important parts of the event. It ran smoothly because Mike Smith and his truck made sure tables and chairs and all the other things we needed were in place when they should be. It ran smoothly because Dan Chouinard did such a great job of recruiting world-class musicians, and because Laura Handler and Cathy Marquardt and their crew made sure the artists had everything they needed. And the audience showed up in large part because of the spectacular poster created by Eric Vevea and printed by Judy Vicars and Peter Eiswirth, and because of timely articles in all four of our local newspapers.

Above all, we have to mention Cheryl and Tony Caponi, who generously made the Art Park available for the event; and for all the expertise Cheryl brought to the meetings of the organizing committee. At the same time, while it turned out we didnít need the rain space, it gave us all peace of mind to know that rain would not cancel the concert. Thanks to Saints Martha and Mary Episcopal Church for standing by in case we needed them, and for John Ward and Katie Guthrie for contacting the church about serving as our rain site.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Greenway Music Festival a success! Not only the people named above, but also to Natalie Cramer and her classmates, Jim Carlson, Patti Hurd, Adina Lebowitz, Alane Roundtree, Pauline Afuso, Linda and Marty Haugen, Laura Hedlund, Jill Otto, John Brunet, Bobbi Conrad, numerous local Boy Scouts, and many, many other Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway (including many local companies to be acknowledged in a separate message).

Youíre the greatest! Shall we do it again next year?

David Brunet
Chairperson of the Greenway Music Festival Organizing Committee

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