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Blog Post - Jan 9 - Tour email from RS

Message from Ryan Saunders, Chorus of Westerly Tour

What is this message, how we will communicate, next tour meeting, tour meeting schedule, ACFEA Tour Central, Passports, Tour Finances, Airline Deviations, Excursions

Please read this entire message when you can spare 5 minutes, but do read the entire email. Also note, this is email one of TWO messages regarding the tour you will receive today.

CHORUS OF WESTERLY TOUR INFO 2017, Email 1

1. What is this message? How we will communicate. If you are receiving this email, we in the Chorus office believe that you or a member of your family (or multiple members of your family) are going on the Chorus of Westerly's Concert Tour to Germany in six months (July 6 to July 17, 2017). If you are getting this email and you know for sure you are not going to be participating in this tour and you have received this email in error, please kindly reply and let me (Ryan Saunders) know and I will remove you from the list with our apologies. If you know of someone going on the tour whom I left off this email list, please also let me (Ryan) know as soon as possible so that I can add them with the proper email address.

This email will be the first of MANY emails you will receive between now and July 6 about the Chorus tour. The emails over the next six months will mostly come from me, but may also come from Ashley Shea, Jessica Peters, and/or Andrew Howell. If you receive one from us please, everyone, read it carefully and completely. And, I warn you now, these emails might be lengthy, but they are all important and will have important information. Taking 180+ people to Europe is a big venture which we are all a part of now. We can't all meet weekly for information, but there is likely going to be new information most weeks. Email is our most efficient mechanism to get that information to you.

We will try to make sure any Chorus Tour email starts with "Chorus Tour" or something similar in the subject heading so you can sort appropriately.

2. Next tour meeting. We will have our next IN PERSON tour meeting at Kent Hall on Wednesday, February 22 at 6 pm at Kent Hall. Please come if you are free, in town, and able. If you do not have a conflict, we strongly encourage you to attend. No RSVP is necessary. If you are unable to attend the meeting or live out-of-town, we will audio record the meeting and make the link and any handouts available to you online. Please mark this on your calendars now. Looking ahead, we will have tour meetings on the following Wednesdays this spring at 6 pm in Kent Hall: March 29, April 26, May 24, June 21. There will also be a pre-departure meeting scheduled with our management company ACFEA in late June at a time TBD. Again, for those who cannot attend, we will audio record all the meetings and post them on line.

3. Tour Central. Everyone participating in the tour (and receiving this email) should have received an email from this address 'acfeatourcentral@acfea.com' - if you did not, please let me know and I will resend it to you. The email subject is Concert Tour Account Information. In this email, there is a link to our management company's (ACFEA) logistical management website, Tour Central. You will find in this email a Username (likely your email address) and your Password to log in to the account (you can change it when you log in if you want). Please, everyone, ASAP, go through this email and log in and start to put in your basic information. There are links for you to put in your official, correctly spelled name, your date of birth, your passport information, and things like medical situations and/or dietary needs. Please do this as soon as possible and verify that the system is correct for you.

4. Speaking of Passports. Everyone needs a valid US Passport to go on the tour (or, if you are a citizen of another country, that passport - if you are going to be using a passport that is not issued by the US, please let me know ASAP). The US Department of State currently recommends for all American citizens going to Europe to have a passport valid for at least six months after your anticipated/scheduled return from Europe. At a minimum, it must be valid for three months, but they highly recommend it be valid for six months. We return on July 17, 2017 (unless you are deviating).

If you have a Passport now: Check it today (seriously). Make sure it will be valid long enough after the tour. If you discover it is still valid, log in to Tour Central right away and INPUT the passport number and expiration date into the system. The sooner the better on this, please do not delay.

If your Passport is expiring or will expire: RENEW ASAP. Please do not delay on this - get your passport renewed right away. Passports are turning over very fast right now, but their peak season begins very soon.

If you do NOT have a Passport or a member of your family does not have a passport: APPLY FOR ONE ASAP. Please do not delay on this - get your passport application in the mail right away. Passports are turning over very fast right now, but their peak season begins very soon. If you need help on how to do this, just ask.

Questions about your tour balance: Call Ashley at 401.596.8663 or email her at ashley@chorusofwesterly.org

Message from Ryan Saunders, Chorus of Westerly Tour

January 9, 2017 (Email 2 of 2)

Dear friends,

Please read this entire message. This is email 2 of 2 for January 9.

Included this email -

1. Tour Finances

2. Airline Deviations

3. Excursions

Many thanks,

Ryan Saunders

CHORUS OF WESTERLY TOUR INFO 2017, Email 2

1. Tour Finances

This item is for singing participants and followers (non-singing participants) who are paying in to the tour.

This week, Ashley Shea in the office will be reaching out to each participant directly to let you know your tour balance (if you have one, many of you are paid off!). You can also reach out to Ashley at any time to get your balance. Please, from now through the tour, if you have any balance question please email it to Ashley (ashley@chorusofwesterly.org), call her at 401.596.8663, or see her in the box office as she is managing this element of the tour for us (rather than inquire to me, Ryan, she's tracking this info for us).

Unless you are in a prearranged payment plan or agreement with us (which is only a small handful of you), a reminder that all singers and followers need to be PAID IN FULL by April 15, 2017. And, if you are significantly behind in payments now, you will need to catch up as close as possible by March 1. Ashley can help you work out a schedule directly.

This April 15 date, and you catching up in payments, is important. The Chorus has paid out about $230K in funds for this tour and for all of our participants. We've made deposits, paid for lots of parts of the tour, and book things in your name/in the assumption you are coming. We are on schedule with our payments, but we need everyone to stay on schedule with us so we can pay everything on time without it negatively impacting the Chorus's day-to-day operations. We need to stay ahead and need you to help us with that. The Chorus is sending out HUGE payments for the tour right now (just sent out a $65K payment on Friday). We have even bigger ones due and going out in early March, early April, and right at the beginning of May -- that's when we pay everything off. Between now and then, over $300K is going to be paid by the Chorus for the tour, so we need everyone to stay on or catch up to schedule so we can do it.

If you are wondering now, where should I be at this point in the regular payment schedule? As of February 15, ideally, a singer should be at $3,000 of the $3350 due. A non-singer should be at $3300 of the $3770 when sticking to the normal schedule we created for you all last year. If you know you are significantly behind, please catch up as much as possible in order to allow us, on the opposite end, to stick to budget. If you are having issues with this, we need to know ASAP to work out a plan, because delayed payments without our knowledge could seriously hurt the Chorus's planning and finances quite a bit. April 15 is the deadline, but if you can get it here sooner, all the better.

Yes, singers and followers can still sign-up for the tour, but we will have to talk with them about a payment schedule. We can take them after April 15, but they'll have to pay in full at the time they sign up.

Questions on this item? Call Ashley at 401.596.8663 or email her at ashley@chorusofwesterly.org rather than replying to this email or contacting Ryan.

2. Airline deviations, opt-outs, upgrades

If you haven't already contacted me on this, and you wish to deviate from the air itinerary (for example fly home from Europe at a different date, fly in Europe to another destination and then fly home later from another city, et cetera), we can investigate the costs and possibilities of this for you -- with some limitation. For anyone deviating, if you ultimately choose to accept a deviation plan present to you, there is a base $75 fee plus any change/additional airfare your deviation might incur with the change. You only pay this fee, FYI, if you choose to deviate. There is no cost for us to research it for you. Please note that on March 1, 2017, this fee just to deviate will go UP to $150.

If you would like to talk about deviation possibilities, send me (Ryan - ryan@chorusofwesterly.org) an email directly as soon as possible. Do not delay. Right now, deviations are coming in at fairly reasonable rates.

If you wish to "opt-out" of air completely and travel to/from Europe on your own (and you have not yet told me this), you may do so. There would be a change in price (lower, obviously) for your tour and some other details, but it is possible if I am informed by March 1. Please email me directly (ryan@chorusofwesterly.org) to discuss and for details.

Upgrades from economy, where we are all flying, to premium economy or business class.

Some participants have already booked upgrades on our flights to/from Europe. Those who have booked you are all set. Those looking for the price, it is currently $1,320 extra (on top of your existing tour costs) to upgrade to Premium Economy for both flights and $3,150 extra (on top of your existing tour costs) to upgrade to Business Class. Our plane does not have first class. I believe you must request this by March 1 to get current rates.

Chorus of Westerly Singers: You will likely be rehearsing Bach in the two weeks between Summer Pops and the departure date for the tour. You will also be giving a mini-concert on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2017 in Watch Hill. Please hold that date. If you decide to opt-out of air or deviate prior to the tour, we ask that you leave for Europe no earlier than Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

3. Excursions

Throughout the tour, there will be a variety of excursions and tour "extras" for participants to enjoy and go on in all the cities we will be visiting. Some of these will be free/included in your tour costs, but you will need to sign-up for them. Some of these will have a small charge, usually covering the costs of entrance fees of transport. For example, it looks like we will have a river boat ride in Dresden with a nice lunch and such. Prices will not be marked up but will be pass through charges IF someone wants to go on them - everything reasonable. We will be finalizing that list soon and put it out there for you to sign-up for in a few weeks. Everything on the excursion list will be optional and a la carte, so you can pick and choose. No obligation to anyone.

This is it for today. Ashley will be in touch this week with balance information!!

PS - We are trying to recruit in about 10-15 more followers. If you know of anyone interested, let us know, we have cool brochures ready to send.

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The Chorus of Westerly • George Kent Performance Hall • 119 High Street, Westerly, RI 02891 • Tel 401.596.8663

Chorus offices at Kent Hall are currently open on a limited basis (10:15a - 240p, M-F, or as posted).
 

All Chorus or Kent Hall Rental inquiries – email genvieve@chorusofwesterly.org or call 401.596.8663.
Billing inquiries – email carrie@chorusofwesterly.org.

The Chorus of Westerly is a cerified 501(c)(3) charitable organization, donations to any of our programs are tax deductible.