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Southern Rhapsody Dance Society Debt Relief Fund

$8,620 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 44 people in 2 months
Created December 18, 2018
Nineteen (19) Years ago my wife & I formed Southern Rhapsody Dance Society for the sole purpose of  “Perpetuating and Promoting “Social” Ballroom Dancing and Big Band Music by producing 3 day Big Band Ballroom Dance Festivals in various cities throughout the country.

 

We put together a package that includes a Beautiful Ballroom Venue with a LARGE Wood Dance Floor, Top Notch Bands playing a wide variety of Big Band Music encompassing all of the most popular dance tempos, Hotel Accommodations at upscale hotels and at least some meals. “Social Ballroom Dancing at its very Best”, is our motto and through the years we have received accolades of praise from our attendees that are far too many to mention here but, here are a few: “The Super Bowl of Social Ballroom Dancing”, “A Most Wonderful Experience”, “I can’t wait for the next one”, “The Epitome of Social Ballroom Dancing”.

 

In February of 2000 we began by producing 3 Dance Festivals per year, dropped the Valentine Dance in 2007, and it varied thereafter. This worked well until 2015. By well, I mean that at the end of the year, we made enough to pay all of our Credit Card Debt for the costs to produce those dances, including hotel rooms purchased, Ballroom Rental, meals, and our annual Dance Brochure. This does not include time spent and the personal expenses we incurred in order to personally promote these dances at Social Ballroom Dance Clubs as far away as Arizona. When we first started we were told not to expect to make a living by doing this and we certainly did not and do not. Every year we spend more than we take in, but up until 2014 we were able to cover the festivals from attendance and the additional expenses out of our own pocket. In order to make our festivals affordable to as many people as possible, we only took the costs to produce the festival and divided it by the number of people we “hoped” would attend, plus a small fudge factor to come up with our price to attend. So, why do we do it, if not for the money?

 

We do it for the same reasons you do. It’s “Good” for you physically and mentally. It’s a fun way to get the physical exercise we all need. It’s also Stress Relief from the pressures of life that we all need once in a while. When the music starts, it’s all about the dance, leaving all else on the other side of the ballroom doors. Most of all, for Madge & I, are the friendships we made throughout the 25+ years that we’ve been dancing. That’s what really keeps us going and want to share it with our friends here in the south east and our friends across the country that we’ve made at Decatur and Merle and Christie’s dance festivals. It’s also about “Quality of Life”, especially in our later years. Like most of our friends, we’ve worked hard all of our lives in order to enjoy our lives when work is done. That’s why we do it.

 

I must admit though, that when we look around the Ballroom or in the hotel lobby at our dance festivals and see everyone laughing, smiling and having a good time, I do feel a little proud of what we’ve accomplished.

 

So what happened to cause all this debt? When planning such an event you have to first find a venue that will accommodate your needs: Hotel rooms, Large Ballroom in the Hotel or connected to it,  preferably with a wood dance floor (If not, a quality temporary wood floor will need to be rented.) Once the venue is established you have to negotiate everything with the hotel, the ballroom if separate, dance floor vendor, if needed, and the bands.

 

Now for the hard part, you have to sign contracts with all these vendors; about $50,000 worth, per dance. The ones from the hotel and ballroom come with “Guarantees” on your part as well as “Penalties”, if your attendance falls below a certain point. They will also ask for a hefty deposit either by Check or Credit Card. We use a major credit card company with a very high credit limit and high interest rate. If we do the planned 20th Anniversary Dance festival at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in August 2019, we will max out the credit limit and then have to dig into our savings before we even do the dance; no knowing if we will get the turn out we need to cover it. We just can’t do that. There is a limit that we can go.

 

Several things changed in the hotel industry, beginning in 2014. Prior to then, hotels did not charge us to rent the ballroom, if we included 2 dinners catered by the hotel. Now it’s provide at least one meal and anywhere from $500 a day to $5,000 per day to rent the ballroom. That’s what they get from large corporations and weddings. We can’t add $15,000 to the cost of a single dance festival. It would increase the cost to attend to where many of our friends could not attend, since most are on fixed incomes. So, we go with the hotels that offer the $500 per day rate but, there is a caveat to doing that. If we don’t hit the guarantee on the hotel rooms, the ballroom rent jumps to $5000 per day. Add to that the penalty you have to pay for rooms not used and the cost to produce the dance has risen another $20,000.  It gets worse. Deduct what revenue you actually got from what you had planned and you are in debt to the tune of $25 – $30,000. Three of those over a period of 2 years is where we are.

 

In 2017 we cut out all dances except for the only one that consistently made more than the cost to produce, our “Summer Nights at the Indiana Roof Ballroom” Dance Festival. It’s unique in 2 ways. First is the cost to produce and more favorable potential penalties from the Embassy Suites Hotel. Because we have been doing this dance for 19 years the Embassy Suites has been very good at giving us a favorable room rate and has been very flexible in providing additional rooms over and above our guarantee, when needed. Second is the Indiana Roof Ballroom, itself. This magnificent ballroom, built in the early 1920’s specifically for Big Band Music and “Social” Ballroom Dancing, has all the ambiance and history that one can imagine. Because we are the only company that produces an event that promotes what the ballroom was built for, we get a much reduced rental rate. It’s everyone’s favorite dance festival. However, all the money made at this dance that went to pay off the debt, actually only paid the interest and we are no better off today than we were in January of 2017.

 

Southern Rhapsody (We) needs you help to get this debt from over our heads so we can continue to provide at least the Dance Festival at the Indiana Roof and perhaps more in other locations in the future. If we receive enough to continue, we will apply for “Non-Profit Status”. If granted, we will be able to go after and obtain grants to subsidize future events, perhaps even a corporate sponsor.

 

We will run this request until January 31st. I know that you are probably being swamped by many worthwhile non-profits at this time. “Social” Ballroom Dancing is also worthwhile for your Health and Well Being.

 

Donations of $1,000 or more will receive a $150 Gift Certificate toward a pair of Dance Shoes and/or accessories from our account with Dance Shoes of TN. Any amount you can contribute is very much appreciated.

(Contributions are not tax deductible.)

 

Please help us to continue to provide “Social Ballroom Dancing at its very Best”.

Frank Deeter

Managing Member

Southern Rhapsody, LLC

Dba Southern Rhapsody Dance Society
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1/31/2019 Southern Rhapsody Debt Relief UPDATE

$30,000--Interim Goal to produce the 2019 Indiana Roof Dance Festival
$50,000--Interim Goal to produce Dance Festivals beyond 2019
$75,000--Final Goal to relief of debt, pay taxes on donations & go ‘Non-Profit’.

$13,375—Donations as of 1/31/2019.

In our 1/24/2019 Update, we said that we had reduced our goal to do our ‘Summer Nights at the Indiana Roof’ Dance Festival from $50,000 to $30,000. This was posted to our Facebook page and our GoFundMe page. I also attempted to send it to everyone on my email list. However, AOL blocked my e-mails due a change they made in the procedure for “mass mailings” that I was not notified about. It also prevented me from even getting into our email account at all for several days. Thus many did not get the notice.

However, $30,000 is what we need to get our balance down to a point where we can sign contracts with the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Indiana Roof Ballroom. If we sign contracts now and do this dance festival, our Credit Limit will not allow us to cover the expense of it, since we are at our Credit Limit now. If we sign now and still don’t get at least $30,000, we would have to cancel and once contracts are signed and then canceled, there are very stiff penalties. Again, we are at our Credit Limit now and have no way to cover the penalties.

We really want to continue, not only with this year’s Indy Dance, but in the years to come. Those who have donated so far want this too.

We are left with only one more option. We will continue with GoFundMe and accepting ‘Direct Donations’ until we do reach the $30,000 benchmark. At that time, we will contact the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Indiana Roof Ballroom and see what dates would be available. If we get a favorable date, our Team will survey everyone we can and get commitments to attend. If we get enough commitments we will proceed and do this Dance Festival and continue requesting donations until we get enough to continue beyond that, which is our ultimate goal.

There are a lot of ‘Ifs’ in this scenario but, at this time, it’s the best we can do. The biggest ‘If’ is up to you. If YOU want it, Donate Something. If everyone that receives this notice via email or sees it on our posts to GoFundMe and Facebook gave just $25, we would have over $25,000 to add to our current $13,375. This would allow us not only do the ‘Summer Nights at the Indiana Roof’ Dance Festival, it would help us to continue. $50 each and we would reach our ultimate goal of $75,000, where we could continue as a ’Non-profit’ and really be able to go to work of bringing Big Band Music, ‘Social’ Ballroom Dancing and the benefits there of, back into the mainstream of our society. Consider what your children and grandchildren are listening to now and what they call dancing now. Compare it to what we have to offer. I think you’ll agree that what we have to offer is much better BUT Southern Rhapsody can’t do it alone. We need your help.
Just go to: https://www.gofundme.com/southern-rhapsody-dance-society-debt-relief-fund.
If you would rather send a check in lieu of using your credit card, please make it payable to Southern Rhapsody and mail it to PO Box 87, Pleasant View, TN 37146-0087.
Follow us on Facebook at “Southern Rhapsody”
Frank will be posting more Updates, Dance tips, Health and Why Big Band Era Music.
Open Discussion. Join in.

Sincerely,
Frank & Madge Deeter
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URGENT UPDATE !!!
1/17/2019

First of all, we want to thank all those who have donated thus far. We appreciate your support of Social Ballroom Dancing and Big Band Music via Southern Rhapsody Dance Society.

What’s the Rush?
We have to sign contracts with the Indiana Roof Ballroom and the Embassy Suites Hotel on this Feb 1st to lock in our regularly scheduled dates of August 11, 12 & 13, 2019. If we don’t sign then, we may have to re-schedule to a different date or we may not be able to get a date convenient for both the Hotel and Ballroom before winter sets in or maybe not at all. Football season starts right after our dance and whenever the Indianapolis Colts are playing at home, it will rule out using any of the Hotels in downtown. Having the Ballroom and the Hotel together is one of the main features that dancers want and that we provide at all of our dance festivals.

As of this morning we have received $5,950 on Gofundme and $2,910 in direct donations for a total of $8,860 and we’re half way through January. Although we appreciate every penny we get, this is not going to keep Southern Rhapsody in business. We need your donations NOW!

Think about it but, just for a few minutes, if you don’t support Southern Rhapsody Dance Society, “WHO ELSE” is going to provide these dances? Has anyone told you that they want to take it on?

Donate any amount by going to our gofundme website, https://www.gofundme.com/southern-rhapsody-dance-society-debt-relief-fund. If you wish to send a donation direct to SRDS. This is permissible. Make checks payable to Southern Rhapsody Dance Society and mail to PO BOX 87, Pleasant View, TN 37146. Remember, your donation is NOT tax deductible.

Again we thank you for supporting Southern Rhapsody Dance Society.
Frank & Madge
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Up-Date 1/10/2019

Goal $75,000
Your personal donations and help in getting the word out has given us a good start. As of this morning we have collected $5,825 via gofundme and another $1,700 in donations sent directly to Southern Rhapsody, for a total of $7,525. We’re 1/10th of a long mile away. Only 9 more to go.

This a good start, since the campaign was launched during the Christmas Holidays and it is the time when there are many worthwhile non-profits that are also asking for donations. However, we have a long way to go just to get enough for us to commit to just do the Indiana Roof Dance this August. The balance of the debt will need to be achieved in order for us to become a non-profit and take a more active role, on a much larger scale to continue to perpetuate and promote Big Band Music and Social Ballroom Dancing.

Donate any amount. It extraordinary that some have donated a thousand dollars or more. If we got 75 of these, the debt would get paid off quickly but that is very unlikely to happen. However, $25 or $50 from many can also make it happen. No donation is too little and all are very much appreciated. We also ask that you encourage others to donate as well.

Post something about it on your Facebook page or other social media. You will reach more people by posting and asking for others to share it, instead of just targeting dancers you know by e-mail alone. Do both. Anyone who has an interest in music, dancing or YOU! Yes, YOU! People will donate just because they trust that this is a good cause because it came from you. Some will donate because they know you and know how important it is to you that this music and these dances continue.

If someone wants to send a donation direct to SRDS, in lieu of using GoFundMe, it is permissible. Make checks payable to Southern Rhapsody Dance Society and mail to PO BOX 87, Pleasant View, TN 37146.

Thank you for your support.
Frank & Madge
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Although we are just getting started, we have received $625 in donations. Thank you to all who have donated thus far. Frank.
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$8,620 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 44 people in 2 months
Created December 18, 2018
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