Handbell Choir to tour in China

first_imgFive years ago, Jonathan Noble, director of Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway, heard the Notre Dame Handbell Choir perform before a group of senior Chinese education officials. With plans underway to open a new location, Noble decided the handbells would play at its dedication, Karen Schneider-Kirner, director of the Handbell Choir, said. This weekend, 14 members of the Handbell Choir will travel to Beijing to play for the long-anticipated dedication, followed by a week of concerts before Chinese audiences.“For the staff that works there, it’s a big deal to highlight why they’re there,” Schneider-Kirner said. “They want to introduce more Chinese students to Notre Dame, but also provide a space where American students can go and learn more about Chinese business practices or get involved in other universities over China.”The new center is located in Genesis Beijing, a state-of-the-art building offering filtered air and access to cultural events, lectures and an art museum. After the Gateway’s dedication ceremony, the choir will play several more concerts in Beijing before traveling to Chengdu.“The bells originated in China. It’s one of the oldest musical instruments we have, but Chinese people in general know nothing about what we know as a handbell choir today, with the smaller brass bells playing different tunes and intricate patterns,” Schneider-Kirner said. “It will be something very unique to the people we’ll be playing for.”In addition to the cultural connection, the bells offer a means of avoiding the censorship of China’s atheist government, Schneider-Kirner said.“With the bells, it doesn’t involve lyrics. As more of a sacred music group, I think we can translate better since China overall is a pretty atheistic country,” she added.The Handbell Choir will, however, be able to participate in Catholic services at South Cathedral in Beijing and Pinganqiao Cathedral in Chengdu.“This is a pretty groundbreaking trip because we’re also doing things within the Catholic Church,” Schneider-Kirner said. “About a year ago, a Fr. Matthew, the rector of South Cathedral in Beijing, came to meet with [University president] Fr. John [Jenkins] as a way to open up doors for collaboration. He’ll be saying a Mass with us and then we’ll be doing a concert at the Cathedral for a hundred seminarians.”The Handbell Choir will play several more concerts in and near Beijing over the next few days: three at an international school, one in collaboration with a Chinese instrument orchestra at Peking University and one on the Great Wall.“We’re just stuffing bells in our backpacks and bringing portable music stands,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Apparently it’s nothing we can ask permission for; we’re just going to do it and see what happens.”After a few days in Beijing, the choir will fly to Chengdu, where they will play two more concerts in collaboration with Szechuan University.“We’ll combine with different groups: There’s a Chinese instrument orchestra, a 25-member erhu orchestra, a 50-member choir and a symphony orchestra from the school,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Some of these pieces we’re doing together; in order to bridge the gap, I’ve arranged a bunch of traditional Chinese music pieces that I think will work well on the bells, just so we’re not bringing completely unfamiliar music.” About one third of the music the choir will play on the trip is traditional Chinese music, while the other two thirds are drawn from their usual repertoire, Schneider-Kirner said. The choir will finish their tour playing at a Mass and concert at Pinganqiao Cathedral in Chengdu and sharing a dinner with the parents of a former choir member. Schneider-Kirner explained that the purpose of the trip is to convey a message of welcome from Notre Dame to the students at the various universities they will perform at and to bridge the cultural gap.“We thought it would be a great opportunity … to do things within the Catholic church, which is pretty phenomenal. I don’t know if any other Notre Dame groups, particularly religiously affiliated, have ever done anything in China. It’s definitely groundbreaking in that way,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Primarily, it’s a great opportunity to promote peace and understanding and building bridges with our sisters and brothers in Asia.”Tags: China, fall break, Handbell Choirlast_img read more

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The anatomy of a successful organic loan-growth strategy

first_img 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Details Organic loan growth is a popular phrase these days. Today, an increasing number of credit unions are looking for ways to attract more loans directly. Direct loan growth (vs. indirect) can be more attractive, cutting out the middle man to improve yields, and leveraging direct member contact to increase cross-sells and higher products per member.Direct loan growth is easier said than doneOrganic loan growth can be difficult for credit unions operating in a competitive “red ocean.” W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of Blue Ocean Strategy argue that companies succeed by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space, as opposed to “red oceans,” where competitors fight for dominance – the analogy being that an ocean full of vicious competition turns red with blood. When it comes to consumer loans, credit unions operate in a very red ocean. Organic loan growth is difficult because literally everyone else is using the same product, pricing, promotion, criteria, process and delivery to attract the same group of people. The auto loan marketplace is crowded and cutthroat.To successfully achieve organic direct growth, you must do something different. We get to work with a lot of credit unions, and we hear (see) what works and what doesn’t. The purpose of this article is to share a best-practice organic loan-growth model to help your team find greater results. Setting the stageFive years ago, a mid-sized ($250-$500 million) credit union (let’s call it Best Practice CU) decided to shift its focus away from an indirect auto program. As stated above, Best Practice CU wanted to increase loan yields, and it wanted to interact more with new loan members to build deeper relationships. The credit union’s leadership believed that cross-selling results would be higher for direct versus indirect new loan members.Best Practice CU identified that prime and near-prime credit consumers who had existing auto loans would make for the ideal target. If you’re thinking this sounds like a common auto loan “recapture” program, read on.The credit union worked with its partner, Experian, to identify specific auto trades that had interest rates high enough to warrant an effective refinance offer. Common recapture programs frequently fall flat, because the promo rate offered is not that much lower than the consumers existing rate and because credit unions typically limit criteria to a static credit score range. Static credit scores, without trended data, can be tricky. I’d rather finance a “C” tier loan for someone with an improving profile than for someone with a deteriorating credit profile. Best Practice CU wanted to find prime borrowers who could have qualified for better rates at the time, but were just overcharged. It also wanted to find near-prime consumers who have improving credit profiles. The credit union used Experian’s Trended Data to find consumers with improving credit profiles. This allowed them to lend a little deeper, at higher rates, and better manage risk (i.e., profiles are improving). Next, Best Practice CU leveraged the interest rate data provided by Experian to customize rate offers to each target group. This way, the credit union only targeted people with rates high enough to result in a refinance offer. The data played a critical role: it increased offer acceptance, and Best Practice CU didn’t waste its time or money targeting people with low rates and less incentive to go through the refinance process.Best Practice CU went through many changes and adjustments, but it remained committed to the new process and used it monthly to find new consumers and recapture their auto loans.Finally, to support the regular target marketing, Best Practice CU utilized its Call Center to make outbound calls to follow up on the offers. The customized rate offer made the refinance opportunity more attractive for the consumer (e.g., the refinanced payment went down a lot), and that made it easier for the Call Center to close the deal – and to cross-sell other opportunities.Measuring successDuring the past five years, Best Practice CU has migrated nearly $50 million from indirect auto pool to a direct auto loan pool. That is a more profitable loan portfolio, and it represents new members who have more than one relationship at the credit union.“Experian’s Trended Data enables credit unions to identify members who are improving their financial situation by lowering their debt and paying on time.  Further, our interest rate data can then be used to help those members by offering better interest rates than they are currently paying,” said Paul Desaulniers, Senior Director – Trended Data, Scores & Collections at Experian.Why it mattersIf you want to consistently compete and win, you must do something different (and better).In this case, Best Practice CU took a run of the mill auto loan recapture process (such as the one so many credit unions are pursuing), and designed a better way. In the midst of a very red ocean of consumer auto lending, they found blue water.If like Best Practice CU, you want to do a better job with organic direct loan growth, I encourage you to consider the red ocean your team is currently swimming in. Invest the time to identify opportunities where you can more effectively compete. Invest the time and resources to build something successful. Don’t skimp on the technology, data, and human resources needed to create a best practice. Best practices are rarely “one and done.”last_img read more

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