Right now, most questions to Clyde and me center around “When will Portland 3 be finished?” “Are you on track?” “Do you need any more tunes?” So to shed a little light on these: the other two Portland Collections have each taken 3 years from start to finish. We expect the same this time and would put the start date as Winter, 2011-12. It takes about a year to select the tunes that will be included. We ask Portland bands to submit their repertoires (so far, all have said yes to that). Then Clyde and I play through each tune, first individually and then the two of us together. We talk about and rank each tune. We started with about 350 tunes for the first book (and were able to include everything suggested excluding tunes that had already been printed in several tune books). We began with 450 tunes for Book 2, so we had to pick and choose. We developed our ranking system while working on these tunes.
This time, we are beginning with considerably more than 600 tunes!! That’s how much new music has come to the Portland contra dance community since the publication of the 2nd PC. We have solicited tunes from about 2/3 of the Portland musicians and also are including tunes Clyde has incorporated into his repertoire (he lives in Bellingham now). Thus far, we’ve played through and ranked over 300 of the tunes. We have lots of work sessions scheduled during the next few months so should be able to finish both the solicitations and the play through by the end of the summer. If we have 300 tunes with a #1 rank, that will be the end of it–those will be the ones included in the book. But it’s more likely that we’ll have around 200 with that rank and then will have to make some really difficult decisions. I can tell you that we are really excited about the music that is coming to us. It’s entirely possible that we’ll have 450 with a #1 rank–and then what?! We like the size of the books at slightly over 300 tunes. So we will probably have more play through and more discussion about what to include. We should have a clear idea of the tunes in the book by the end of the year. So, we are on track–on our very slow track, anyway.
After the above process, it will likely take another year to identify, locate, and work with all of the composers involved. Once we locate everyone, we will mail out all the requests to print in one big mailing. After that there is a lot of back and forth with the composers revising tunes to their specifications.
And the third year? It’s more research on the tunes and then putting it all together in publishing format.
I’ll post updates here so interested folks can see where we are with our process, make comments, ask questions, etc. If you have read this much, you must be interested. Thanks a lot for that! We so appreciate the support of our contra dance community and others who enjoy this music!!