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STJS Home » News » President's Message

President's Message


STJS President Dennis Speciale

STJS President Dennis Speciale
Serving January 2017 to present

Dennis Speciale's message

To my fellow STJS members,

As we move forward in 2017, we have exciting events planned between now and our main event, the 44th Annual Music Festival.

We begin with the "King of Jazz", a STJS sponsored event, movie night at the Tower Theater in Sacramento on February 22nd. This is a premier event for northern California. This wonderful 1930 re-mastered movie will be well worth viewing with your fellow Jazz lovers. A representative from Universal Studios is coming out to intro the movie for us. Tickets are limited, so be sure to get your tickets on our website ASAP. I got mine!

In late March, we will be holding our annual Crab and Pasta Feed at a new location in Roseville, with plenty of parking. This special event is a night of great music, food, and fun. Hope to see you all there.

And don't forget our second Sundays every month held at the Elks Club on Riverside. Come hear the very talented bands lined up to play just for you. It is a great way to spend a few hours and maybe get in a dance or two on the spacious dance floor. Love to see you there, and bring a friend.

Also, on February 16, 2017, a special "We Love Jazz and Kids" concert is being held at the Sacramento Elks Lodge #6 between 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Cover is only $20. All proceeds to benefit the STJS Teagarden Jazz Camp. Support our kids.

Well, as you can see, things are moving along. I am excited to be a part of it. Being a member of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society does have its perks and the stronger our membership the better the perks. Stay tuned for more to come.


Dennis Speciale
STJS President

P.S. Dennis Grimes resigned from the STJS Board position of President due to personal reasons, effectively immediately.


Dennis Grimes' message from January 2017

First, I would like to thank all the members who voted for me and I will do my best to help bring the Society back to the level it once was. With that said, I cannot do this alone. We are an all-volunteer organization with no staff. We don't have the luxury of turning tasks over to the paid staff to do it for us. I need the help of the membership and volunteers to make this coming year a success. We need to improve our marketing effort for all of our events. We need someone to take over the publishing of the newsletter. We will always need your help financially because that is the way we get the needed resources to continue the effort of preserving traditional jazz.

We have started planning for next year, and we have several events in the works. Every month we have Second Sunday with some GREAT music, especially in January with the rent party. We are producing the remastered "King of Jazz" movie at the Tower theater on February 22nd and there are a limited number of tickets available on our web site. The "Big Day of Giving" comes up in May and of course the Sacramento Music Festival at the end of May. Then there is the "Race for the Arts" on the 26th of August. We hope to have more fund-raising events during the year so watch the Newsletter for more information.

If you were a member and have not renewed your membership please do it because there will be special new benefits coming your way.

This coming year will be a challenge, but with all our efforts pulling together we can make it a success. I hope to see all of you at Second Sunday on January 8th to start the new year.

Happy New Year!!



Dave's message from July 2016

I want to thank everyone that donated to the Big Day of Giving, I know there were problems with the internet throughout the day and they extended it to another day. We didn’t do too badly with all the internet problems. Thank you again.

2016 California State Fair - Each single general admission ticket ($10.00), Fun Pack ($44.99), unlimited ride wristband ($28.00), and/or season pass ($44.99 and/or $39.99) purchased online through the website using discount code: STJS. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society will receive a $1.00 reimbursement fee.  This offer is good through July 24, 2016.

We are selling Hawaiian Coffee K-Cups from “Aikane Plantation Coffee Company” at Jazz Sunday for $19.00 a box (12 K-Cups in a box). This is 100% Hawaiian Coffee, Hand Picked, Sun Dried, Medium-Dark Roast, from Kau Valley. They are donating all proceeds to STJS.

We will also be selling the Music Festival souvenir Jackets, Sweatshirts at Jazz Sunday, there is no blanket, or T-shirt left.

Jazz Camp Kickoff & Fundraiser, July 30, 6:00 PM through 10:00 PM, featuring The Professors Jazz Band, home of Jim & Jeanette Galloway, Rancho Cordova, $40.00 per person, if interested in purchasing a ticket please contact Patti Jones at 916-712-1501.

I want to thank Nancy Giffin for everything she has done over 16 years of volunteering her time publishing the newsletter, sending E-blasts, and building/maintaining the STJS website. She has volunteered her time for many different committees and projects over the years, always doing an AWESOME job. Thank you so much, Nancy.

I am looking for help with the Newsletter, Website and E-Blast, if you are interested please contract me at or telephone me at 916-635-7224.

Thank you all for your support.


Dave's message from May 2016

The 2016 Sacramento Music Festival is going more than full blast thanks to Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes and many others. I really don’t know when Tom and Dennis sleep I am getting emails from them all day and all night.

Jazz Sunday will remain at the Elks Lodge #6, at Riverside; there is a couple of reasons for us to stay at this facility. Number 1: Elks Lodge in Carmichael does not have the storage requirements that are required for storing all the sound equipment and Riverside does have the room, and 2: Elks Lodge #6 lowered the rent and Carmichael could not match the rent. The Exalted Ruler Conrad A. De Castro from Elks Lodge #6 has been talking with me and has some great ideas to help us to increase Jazz Sunday. The Elks is willing to help us in any way they can to increase attendance at Jazz Sunday. I know some of you are disappointed about not moving to Carmichael but we had to look at the whole picture, storage requirements, increase in rent, etc. The Board of Directors did approve that Jazz Sunday to remain at Elks Lodge #6, Riverside.

We have increased admission for Jazz Sunday effective May Jazz Sunday to $10 for members and $12 for non-members. Students (age 12-20): student members $5; student non-members $7. Under 12: free.

We do have an AWESOME lineup this year again with a variety of music and I hope everyone will put on their dancing shoes and dance the night away.

If the Sacramento Music Festival is not enough on our plate which is now over flowing but we are also participating in the Big Day of Giving. BIG Day of Giving is a local initiative to increase philanthropy in the Greater Sacramento region. The effort is brought to you by GiveLocalNow and your local community foundations: Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Placer Community Foundation and Yolo Community Foundation. The 2015 BIG Day of Giving will take place Tuesday, May 3, 2015 from midnight to midnight. For those 24 hours, online donations will be accepted through with a goal to inspire and unite our community in supporting hundreds of local nonprofits. Make a donation (starting as small as $25) to Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society at

I want to thank Nancy Giffin for everything she has done over 16 years of devoting her time publishing the newsletter and maintaining the STJS Website. She has volunteered her time for many different projects over the years always doing an AWESOME job.

I am looking for help with the newsletter, Website and E-Blast, if you are interested please contract me via email or telephone.

Thank you all for your support.



Dave's message from April 2016
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

No message from Dave this month.


Dave's message from March 2016
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It seems like every time I turn around, something new is ..happening! The leasing company just informed us that the warehouse we currently occupy has received a formal purchase offer. What does this all mean? After the Music Festival in May, we will probably be moving again. It seems like every time we move into one of their facilities, someone wants to purchase the building. They still need to go through the customary due-diligence review and approval, so they won’t have certainty until later in March.

The Board of Directors has approved a $2 increase in admission to Jazz Sunday, which will not go into effect next month, at the April 10, 2016 Jazz Sunday. The new admission will be: Members $10, and Non-members $12. Student admission remains the same. The board had previously lowered the cost to help increase attendance, but believe it or not, it did not increase. Sponsors are needed to present a good band each month; if you have a favorite band/group that you would like to sponsor for Jazz Sunday, please contact me. I am always open for suggestions to increase Jazz Sunday attendance.

Mark your calendar: March 9–12 (Wednesday through Saturday), Barnes & Noble Book Fair will be supporting Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS) at the Galleria store in Roseville. TNT band will be playing on March 9th hours of 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and there will also be volunteers at a table explaining what the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is all about, Jazz Sundays and the Sacramento Music Festival. You can purchase books at any Barnes & Noble store or on the internet, just mention our code 11807286 prior to the sale and STJS receive a percentage of the net sale.

Thank you for all your help and support. — Dave


Dave's message from February 2016
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I hope everyone had a great and enjoyable Christmas and New Year's.

What a year, I just cannot believe it went so fast. We had a great 2015 Sacramento Music Festival with awesome musicians and performers. Then we got notified that we had to move the warehouse to a new location because the leasing company sold the building. We didn’t have to move very far: 1030 N. D Street Sac. 95811. I want to thank all the volunteers, especially Christy Pierson (she was there every day working and moving items), John Tillet (also there every day working and moving items), Mary Edna Menezes and her family; Joe Cruz, Jeff Hedrick, Mike Shipman, Todd Bibby, Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes, Vanna Turner, Bob Allshouse, Lyle VanHorn and others that took time out to help us move -- thank you so much.

I would like to introduce the Officers and Board Members of the Society: Vice President Dennis Speciale; Secretary Beth Scott; Treasurer Dennis Grimes; Board Members Todd Bibby Joe Cruz, Jeff Hedrick, Vivian Lee, Todd Morgan, Dominic Ruggieri, Zack Sapunor, Vanna Turner, Lyle Van Horn; Past President Ron Jones, and Ex Officio Steve Hammond.

The Crab & Pasta Feed was a success; it made money, and all the comments I received said it was the best Crab & Pasta Feed they have ever been to. Two great bands played: Peter Petty Band and Black Tuesday Jazz Band. I want to thank everyone that attended the fundraiser, and especially want to thank Kathy Becker for all her hard work to make this a very successful Crab and Pasta Feed -- and thanks to all her other volunteers.

Mark your calendar for the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival (TJYBF) on Saturday, February 13, 2016. This is an all-day event, but if you cannot make it all day, just stop by and stay awhile because you wouldn’t believe these young musicians -- they will blow you away. Some of the groups sound better than some of the professional groups that I have heard. Then on Jazz Sunday, February 14, 2016, we will have the TJYBF Clinicians Band with all-stars Bob Draga, the Midiri Brothers, Greg Varlotta, Eddie Erickson, Bill Dendle, Jason Wanner, Shelley Denny, and Ron Jones, along with some youth bands from the TJYBF. This should be AWESOME.

Again, we have moved, so please note our new address: 1030 North D Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. The telephone number has stayed the same: (916) 444-2004.

Thank you for all your help and support. -- Dave


Dave's message from Dec.'15 / Jan.'16
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope all of you are well, healthy and had a great Thanksgiving. This is going to be a busy month for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS). We are moving again; the leasing company sold the facility that we were renting. The good news is that the facility is only a block away, right behind the warehouse we are currently in. There will be offices and an indoor restroom. New address: 1030 D Street, Sac.

With heartfelt sadness, we report that Jim Fusaro, one of our active members of the Society, passed away suddenly on Nov. 19. Jim was a past president of the STJS, one our emcees at Jazz Sunday, a Gold Card Musician (singer). He was also very active with the Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival where he was the greeter and MC for years, always making sure that the kids were going to the right rooms and having a fun time doing this. Jim will truly be missed at all the different events. Our condolences to his family, and to his wife, Carol.

Bob Ringwald is retiring after serving as our Guest Artist Coordinator (Main Stage for STJS Jazz Sunday). He served in the 1970s, ’90s and 2000s. He has been the Guest Artist Coordinator for approximately 25 years. I want to personally thank him for all the outstanding work he has done in this position for STJS. I understand now what it takes to get musicians to play for all our different events; it takes many hours of coordination. Thank you again, Bob, for all your outstanding help and support. A new Guest Artist Coordinator will be appointed in January, after the elections. Currently, I will be filling this position.

Interested in sponsoring a band for Jazz Sunday or for the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival? If so, please email us: <> or <>. Or call us the office at 916-444-2004 to discuss.

This year for December Jazz Sunday will be lots of swing dancing. Our Main Stage guest artist is Peter Petty & His Titans of Terpsichore (13-piece band), plus we’ll have the Swinger Dingers and a surprise group the last set. TNT will be the youth band at noon.

A great Christmas gift idea for someone special in your life: purchase them an All-Event badge for the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival, or get an STJS membership for a friend.
Merry Christmas and Happy Year to ALL, and be safe.
Thank you all for your support. — Dave


Dave's message from the November 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Winter is just around the corner; I am hoping this year we have lots of rain (not floods) to fill all the lakes and rivers in the area. We really do need the rain and snow in the mountains. I am tired of the drought and I know everyone else is, too.

As noted in Tom’s message, the STJS Office is moving again. We are in negotiation right now on a new facility; the owner of the building we are currently occupying has sold the warehouse, so that means we have to move. We will be moving in the very near future, and hoping it doesn’t rain when we are moving — it would be a mess. The facility will have offices and an indoor restroom.

Kathy and I just got back from the jazz festival in Pismo Beach (Jubilee by the Sea), and I noticed that most of the bands where sponsored by individuals, couples or several groups of people. This was a great festival, and we had lots of fun. We are starting to hire bands for the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival. If you would like to sponsor one of the bands, please contact Tom Duff or myself at the office, or email us: or

Election time is coming up in December we have some excellent nominations, so please read their BIO’s and come out to Jazz Sunday on December 13 to vote. Remember you must be a current member of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society in order to vote. You can renew that day if needed.

Thank you all for your support. — Dave


Dave's message from the October 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

We are going forward! It’s already October. The Board of Directors has approved the Talent budget for 2016 Sacramento Music Festival. The Talent Committee will be getting together in a few weeks to discuss the different bands, and will start contacting all the different bands/groups. If you are interested in sponsoring a particular band and/or group, please contact the STJS Office or myself.

We still have a few pianos for sale. These pianos were used during the Music Festival for years, and they get tuned every year. There is documentation of all the tunings of these pianos to verify they have been maintained over the years.

Just a reminder if you do use Amazon to make a purchase: Log on to AmazonSmile using the link shown below, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase total to the Sacramento Trad. Jazz Society, Inc. Please “bookmark” this link in your Web browser: so you can support us every time you shop. Thank you.

We need your support to keep STJS ALIVE. Please attend Jazz Sundays and all other STJS events. There is great music at Jazz Sunday; we have three rooms at the Elks Lodge. They serve brunch (9:00 am to 11:00 am) for only $9.00, and starting at 1:00 pm, they serve sandwiches, etc. We’ve lowered the admission prices ($8 STJS members/$10 non-members), so bring family and friends for a fun day of music.

Thank you all for your support. — Dave


Dave's message from the September 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

What great music at Jazz Sunday last month; if you were not there, you really missed a great show and great music! Ten youth Jazz Camp bands played, along with the Camp Counselors, and our featured band: The Professors (Jazz Camp Faculty trad and swing bands). What a show, and the Main Room was full of parents, grandparents, relatives, and our regulars. Thank you all.

Thank you, Tom Duff, for running in the Race for the Arts fundraising event to benefit STJS, and thanks to Dr. Bach (Charlie Gehlbach)for setting up a group of musicians to play at the August 22nd race. Everyone loved the music that the band played; I saw people dancing to the music and singing. We appreciate all who made a pledge; you may send your charitable contribution to the STJS Office.

Missing any items from the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival? If so, come by on Jazz Sunday and look through all the items we’ve been storing. I took all the Lost and Found items (collected from the Festival) to Elks #6. There were lots of glasses and a couple of car keys found during the Festival. You can claim these items on the next Jazz Sunday (Sept. 13).

Do use Amazon to shop? You can help STJS by shopping at AmazonSmile using a special link (shown below, and also as a link on the STJS Home page at Amazon will donate 0.5% of each purchase price to the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. While browsing the Web, “bookmark” the link:
and support us every time you shop at Amazon.
Thank you all for your support.


Dave's message from the August 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Missing any items from the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival? If so come by on Jazz Sunday and look through all the items. I took all the lost and found items that were collected from the Festival to last month Jazz Sunday. There were lots of glasses and a couple of car keys found during the Festival. You can claim these items on Jazz Sunday.

Tom volunteered again to run for us at the Race for the Arts on Saturday, August 22 at William Land Park; this is his third year that he has participated. We receive 100% of all donations. If you would like to run with Tom please contact him, he would love the company. The pledge form will be at Jazz Sunday or you can call in the pledges to the office by contacting Tom.

Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Teagarden Jazz Camp started July 26th through 31st for Adult Camp and then on August 3rd through 9th Youth Camp. You are welcome to visit the camp in the afternoon to listen to the different groups, you will not believe the difference from one night to the next night and then you can hear them at Jazz Sunday you won’t believe it is the same group.

Thank you all for your support. — Dave

Tom after last year race:

Tom Duff 2014 Race for the Arts



Dave's message from the July 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I hope everyone has rested up from the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival. WE HAD A GREAT FESTIVAL! Our 2016 Sacramento Music Festival is in its planning stages, and starting July 1st, you can purchase your tickets online through Eventbrite. If you really like a band or group, the best way to get the band to the Music Festival is to help sponsor them. Give us a call or email me ( if you are interested in sponsoring your favorite band.

Admission for Jazz Sunday—effective immediately—has been lowered to $8.00 for Members and $10.00 for Non-Members, Student prices remain the same, please pass the word. Do you have any ideas how we can get the word out to everyone about our Jazz Sunday, each month attendance has been going down, I would really like to have some ideas to bring people back to our Jazz Sunday. If you think about it, it really is a Mini Music Festival — three rooms of great music.

And don’t forget the Elks’ Sunday Buffet Breakfast from 9:00 to 11:00 am for only $9 per person—a great way to start a great day of music.

Anyone interested in buying a used piano, we are selling our pianos and replacing them with electronic keyboards. This will give us more room in the Warehouse for other items, and save us money.

Thank you all for your support — Dave


Dave's message from the June 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The 2015 Sacramento Music Festival was a SUCCESSFUL and AWESOME event thanks to Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes and ALL THE VOLUNTEERS. I really don’t know how to thank Tom and Dennis for all their hard work prior to and during the festival; they were continuously on the move, checking on different things throughout the festival to make sure everything went according to plan.

I want to personally thank all of you (Members and Volunteers) for all your help and support during the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival; if not for all of you, we wouldn’t have had such a SUCCESSFUL and AWESOME event. I talked with lots of people that were attending the Music Festival, and they were all having fun and enjoying all of the music.

This was a really big learning experience for me, as you know. If you didn’t know, in other years, I only worked Membership, so this experience really woke me up to what all the volunteers did around the entire festival. Yes, there were some minor mistakes that were taken care on the spot, and others that we had no control over, but we learned from these mistakes and will make corrections for next year’s festival.

Just prior to the Sacramento Music Festival, we had BIG Day of Giving — a local initiative to increase philanthropy in the Greater Sacramento region. The effort was brought to you by GiveLocalNow and your local community foundations: Sac. Region Community Foundation, Placer Community Foundation and Yolo Community Foundation. The 2015 BIG Day of Giving took place from midnight to midnight on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. In those 24 hours, online donations were received through with a goal to inspire and unite our community in supporting hundreds of local nonprofits. The Big Day of Giving received a total of $5,613,799 in donations. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society received $7,935 during this period. I want to thank all of the individuals that donated to our society during this time.
Thank you all for your support — Dave

Please tell everyone that
Jazz Sunday will be the 3rd Sunday in July,
JULY 19, NOT the usual second weekend.
Steve Yocum had to cancel, so we will have Guest Artist
DANNY COOTS on July 19!


Dave's message from the May 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The 2015 Sacramento Music Festival is going more than full blast thanks to Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes and many others. I really don’t know when Tom and Dennis sleep; I am getting emails from them all day-and-night long.

I don’t know if you know what it takes to put on the Sacramento Music Festival, but I sure found out fast; I didn’t realize until I started helping. All the people you have to contact, and all the meetings that are held, plus all the required paperwork that must be submitted to put on the Music Festival. What a huge learning experience and challenge. Yes, we have made some minor mistakes, but we are learning from these mistakes. We understand that not everything will be perfect, like we want it to be, because we our learning everything from scratch; we do have some excellent help from individuals that have been involved in the Music Festival for years.

I know some of you are upset with this year’s lineup, but we are on a very tight budget. Some of the bands that I contacted were already booked; others were way over our budget. I felt that we needed to rotate some of our traditional bands this year and have some bands that haven’t played for years. We do have an AWESOME lineup, and I hope everyone will be there and have fun.

If the Sacramento Music Festival is not enough on our plate, which is now over flowing, we are also participating in the BIG Day of Giving, a local initiative to increase philanthropy in the Greater Sacramento region. The effort is brought to you by GiveLocalNow and your local community foundations: Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Placer Community Foundation and Yolo Community Foundation. The 2015 BIG Day of Giving takes place midnight to midnight on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. For those 24 hours, online donations are accepted through with a goal to inspire and unite our community in supporting hundreds of local nonprofits. The “BIG DoG” is part of a National Day of Giving called Give Local America. Last year, the BIG DoG ranked #2 in the nation. Let’s be #1 in 2015!

As promised, we had the drawing pertaining to our campaign request to keep the Sacramento Music Festival alive; this was a random drawing. The winners are (drum roll please):

Julie Rigali won a free room at the Holiday Inn for
May 22–25, 2015
Pat Kennedy won an All-Events Pass for the 2015
Sacramento Music Festival
Russell Hurley won a $50.00 VISA gift card
Laura Boroja won 2 passes to any Jazz Sunday
Congratulation to the winners. Again thank you all for helping to keep the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society and the Sacramento Music Festival alive and serving the community.
Thank you all for your support — Dave


Dave's message from the April 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Another month has passed. Like I said before, where did it go? I wish I could remember just half of what I did in March; that would be great. The 2015 Sacramento Music Festival is going full blast thanks to Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes, and Talent Selection Committee. I really don’t know when Tom sleeps, and I am getting emails from him all day and night long.

Joe Cruz (Construction Crew) has started working to make sure that the panels, dance floors and everything else are in good shape before the Music Festival. They check, repair and repaint everything and anything that needs it.

I would like to thank all the Jazz Sundays volunteers; they put in long hours on that day: the Judy Hendricks and the Set Up/Sound Crew, Carol Fusaro (Main Room), Paula Dula (Gold Card Room), Jane Reinmuth (Tailgate Room), Admissions/Memberships, Joy Skalbeck and her volunteers (Musician/Volunteer sign-up), the Raffle Lady (Kathy Becker) and Nancy Giffin (Photographer). Bob Ringwald is Guest Artist Coordinator and finds musicians for the Main Stage, and Mark Kramer does the printed program each month. If not for them, it wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does.

HELP!!!!! Members that have computers and email addresses but are still asking to receive “And All That Jazz” newsletter in the mail, I need your help. I would like to remove your name from the list of mailed newsletters. It is costing the Jazz Society $2.17 per newsletter to copy and send out each month to the members via the U.S. Postal Service (snail-mail). I would really like to cut the amount of newsletters sent out to members by limiting this service to those who DO NOT have a computer. There are a couple of ways to obtain the newsletter online: 1) Visit, then click the link where you see an image of the “AATJ” cover, or 2) on the website’s Home Page, on the left hand side under “About STJS,” click on “AATJ” newsletter; this link takes you to the “AATJ” Archives where you can download current or previous copies of the newsletter dating back to 2010. While on the website, please sign up for SacJazz-E-News by clicking the link that says “Sign up here for our e-mail list.” (Top-left corner of the page.) If you are not receiving your SacJazz-E-News, please look in your Junk Mail folder of your e-mail section, and move it into your Inbox (“not junk mail”).

Thank you all for your support and assistance. — Dave


Dave's message from the March 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Where did January and now February go? I don’t remember much about January except the AWESOME Crab & Pasta Feed, with two excellent bands: Cell Block 7 and the SwingMasters. I have never seen so many dancers on the floor, dancing up a storm. I want to personally thank all the volunteers that help at the Crab & Pasta Feed; it was a GREAT success.

Less than a week later, Kathy and I were at Round Table Pizza (Rosemont) watching the kids jamming with the clinicians before the big day at the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival (TJYBF), led by Dr. Steve Roach (TJYBF Director) and Yvonne Au (TJYBF Coordinator). The next morning (6:30 AM), we were setting up at the youth band festival, watching and listening to all these different groups of kids (young adults). (By the way, I call everyone a kid that is younger than I am, and that is lots of people.) I have never seen so many young performers enjoying playing the traditional jazz music. After they played their set, the feedback clinician and the adjudicators walked down to the stage and gave the group suggestions on how to improve their performances. Just listening to the clinicians was great, and the knowledge they have — it was such a pleasure. If you have never been to the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival, it is an education for everyone. After the youth festival was over, the next day was Jazz Sunday with Duke Heitger and the Clinicians Band from the TJYBF — it was a blast! We had a nice group of people that attended, but we would have liked to see more (but for all the crazy weather and accidents on the highway). Still, it was a good day. I want to thank all the volunteers that helped at the Round Table Pizza, the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival and Jazz Sunday. If not for all the volunteers we have, we wouldn’t be able to put on half of these fundraising events. Again THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS.

During all this time, I was attending different meetings, day and night. I am not complaining, just trying to explain why these last two months were a blur; it sure is keeping me young. I really don’t know how Judy Hendricks does it; I know she loves what she does, but she is always on the run with a smile on her face. A VERY BIG THANK YOU, Judy, for EVERYTHING you do for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS).

I want to thank all the members that are taking our 2015 Sacramento Music Festival fliers to all the different events and festivals that they attend. This has been a big help for us. I know the current flier doesn’t have all the groups that are playing at the Festival because the Music Festival Talent Committee is continuing to add more groups.

Thank you all for your support and assistance. — Dave


Dave's message from the February 2015
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I am thankful and honored to have been elected President of our Society. Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society was established May 1968 with the mission of educating the public and members on matters concerning: (1) preservation and promotion of traditional jazz music, and (2) the study and playing of musical instruments associated with traditional jazz music. Jazz Sunday (concert meeting on 2nd Sunday of each month) was established during this time period to encourage jazz fans, swing dancers, and music students to attend. Each monthly concert is like a mini Music Festival with live music in three different rooms: the Main Stage, which features our guest musicians; Gold Card Room for our Gold Card Musicians; and then we have the Tailgate Room, where there are jam sessions for any and all musicians (of all ages). Traditional Jazz Music survives because of the loyalty of its fans and the dedication of the musicians and volunteers of STJS.

I would like to introduce the current Officers and Board Members of the Society:
Vice President Dennis Speciale, Secretary Nancy Kreis, Treasurer Dennis Grimes; Board Members Todd Bibby, Joe Cruz, Paula Dula, Carol Fusaro, Scott Kaufman, Vivian Lee, Jay Paulus, Dominic Ruggieri, Vanna Turner, and Lyle Van Horn; Past President Ron Jones, and Ex-offico Steve Hammond.

During my term as President, I look forward to working with the many loyal STJS volunteers to grow our membership, put on fun shows and events that get people out to listen to live music, and to continue to promote the Traditional Jazz Music to new generations.
My goals for the STJS are as follows:
   • Grow the number of members
   • Listen to our member’s ideas for what members want to get out of the STJS and keep us open to new fresh ideas that will make the STJS even more fun for our members.
   • To have an AWESOME 2015 Sacramento Music Festival

Please be patient as we get our feet under us, and remember: we can always use your help, so join us! Together we are going to have a lot of fun, and I believe we will make a big difference in our community by bringing more live Traditional Jazz Music to the people.
Thank you for your support and assistance. -- Dave


Ron Jones

STJS President Ron Jones
Serving Oct. 2013 to Dec. 2014


Ron's message from the Dec.'14 / Jan.'15
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Well, it’s been quite a year! This is my last column as President of STJS, and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve. Beginning next month, you will have a newly elected President and Board of Directors; please give them all your support.

When I took over as President, I had no idea what I was getting into. It’s easy to presume you know how everything works, then all of a sudden, you realize you don’t know as much as you thought! Being President would have been a lot harder if I hadn’t been surrounded by some really good people. Everyone on the Executive Committee, with the support of the Board, worked hard to find solutions to keep our organization going and moving forward.

We are fortunate to have a few people who really put their heart and soul into what they do for STJS, but we need more. The one question I haven’t found an answer to yet is how to get more people like them involved? I know there are many talented people reading this who could contribute knowledge and skills to our organization. If you are one of them, please step forward and let your Board know what your expertise is.

We are very fortunate to be associated with the STJS Foundation. Our financial situation would be a lot worse if they hadn’t taken on the financial responsibility for our youth programs, which include the Trad Jazz Camp, TJYBF, Music Lesson Awards, and TNT youth band.

Let’s all work hard to make sure that our jazz society and festival are around for many years to come.

Have a great day!


Ron's message from the Nov. 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It’s November already! October was a busy month for me.and .for many of you who attended one or more of the out-of-town festivals this past month.
I want to personally thank Tom Duff, and Dave and Kathy Becker, and everyone else who stepped in and helped with the move of our office from Old Sac to the warehouse. This move was necessitated by our need to keep operational expenses to a minimum. It’s a positive step forward, but I want to reiterate that we are not out of the financial woods yet. Your Board decided to proceed with plans for a 2015 festival, and Tom Duff is working diligently with key volunteers and the Executive Committee to put together a festival budget. Once a budget is approved by the Board, festival plans will move forward. This year, sponsorships will be even more important to our bottom line, so if you or anyone you know is interested in sponsoring at any level, please call our newly located office, or email Tom at
We will probably be hosting a number of fundraisers in the coming months. I hope you will all make every effort to support these events (and have fun doing so). Even if you cannot attend, you can purchase a ticket or make a donation. Any donation of any amount helps!
Another potential source of additional revenue is increasing attendance at Jazz Sundays. If everyone who comes would bring two or three friends or neighbors, not only would it make for a larger audience, it would also bring in more cash at the gate and the raffle.
Our TNT band and youth programs are doing well. Next month, my wife and I will host the 6th annual Up Close & Personal fundraiser for the 10th annual TJYBF in Feb. 2015. This year we will be “up close” with Joe & Paul Midiri, Bob Draga, Jason Wanner, Shelley Denny – and myself. This promises to be a fantastic evening of great music and a lot of laughs. As of this writing, the event is nearly sold out – contact for more info.
Finally, don’t forget to vote! The Nominating Committee has assembled some great candidates, so be sure to cast your vote by absentee ballot or at the December Jazz Sunday.
Have a great day!


Ron's message from the Oct. 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Before I started this month’s column, I read what our new Executive Director, Tom Duff, said in his column. We are pleased that Tom has stepped into this position as a volunteer, a huge financial savings for the STJS. I think his column does a great job talking about the 2015 Festival and thanking those donors who have stepped forward, so I would like to focus on the Jazz Society.
So far, things seem to be working out quite well at the Riverside Elks. However, attendance at Jazz Sundays has not been up to what it should be. If every one of you who attend our monthly gatherings would bring one or two guests, that would be a big help. And, who knows, they might get hooked on the music and want to come again! They might even want to become members! Jazz Sundays are about more than great music, they are also an opportunity to socialize with friends, and you can even come early and enjoy a great breakfast.
My wife and I have been members of the STJS it seems like forever. I have been a Gold Card musician for 30 years, which means I haven’t had to pay membership dues or admission on Jazz Sundays. However, given our current financial situation where every dollar counts, I took it upon myself to become a paying Gold Card member, and I challenge all the other Gold Card musician members to do the same. Admission to Jazz Sundays would still be free to Gold Card musicians. I am a member of several organizations, and ours is the only one where I haven’t had to pay dues.
If you have any ideas on how we can continue to raise money to keep out organization going, please contact me, or Dave Becker or Tom Duff. And thanks again to all of you who have donated and volunteered at the office.
Have a great day!


Ron's message from the Sept. 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

First, thanks to all of you who stepped up and answered our call for donations! It helped, but we need still more funds if we are to keep our organization moving forward. Your financial support is needed to cover office expenses for the next few months, so please give what you can. You can donate by mail or online. Just call the Jazz Office and leave a message.

A larger-than-usual number of you attended last month’s Board meeting to express concerns and offer suggestions, which was appreciated. It is my hope that these same folks left with a better understanding of our cash flow shortfall, and the obstacles we face. The Executive Committee has been meeting every week in an effort to gather information and determine the best steps to take. We have been forced to let both of our office staff go, and have been relying on our volunteers to answer phones, check mail and handle other office tasks. As decisions are made, we will continue to keep you informed as best we can.

You will be hearing about some upcoming fundraisers in the near future. (At present, I am trying to figure out how to clone Dave and Kathy Becker – they are both tireless in their efforts to keep things going.) Kathy Becker is spearheading these events, so please support them.

This Jazz Sunday’s Guest Artist is Carl Sonny Leyland, a wonderful piano player who can handle any style of music. You should not miss this afternoon of wonderful music. And don’t forget the Elks’ breakfast buffet before the concert!

Finally, kudos to Ken McMurray, whose second annual Hot Jazz Jubilee was a great success. It ran without a visible hitch and was well-attended. It was nice to see so many local musicians playing, including many youth bands.
Have a great day!


Ron's message from the August 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

This is a difficult message to send to all of you.

A lot of positive things happened at the recent Sacramento Music Festival; we provided a variety of music styles, although it could be expanded more. The headliners drew well – Collective Soul, for instance, drew over 4000 attendees. But the bad news is, despite our best efforts, the festival lost a lot of money. This loss severely impacts our cash flow and affects our ability to continue operating until next May.

Some of you may not realize that it costs about $150,000 per year for office and warehouse space, payroll, insurance, etc. The STJS Jazz Sundays, newsletter, and membership continue to pay their own way if we do not take into account any of the rents, payroll and other overhead expenses. That means that the Music Festival must provide the revenue to cover these costs – it is our major fundraiser.

Your Executive Committee and Board have been working together to find solutions to keep us going and have another festival in 2015. This is not an easy task. We are also working closely with the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, and are hoping to find major sponsors. We will be asking for financial help from festival volunteers and STJS members. We believe we can turn the festival around if we can find the revenue to keep us going until then.

Our youth programs are going strong thanks to the financial support of the STJS Foundation. The youth camp wraps up this week, and I hope to see all of you at Jazz Sunday on the 10th at the Riverside Elks when The Professors will be our guest band, and the youth campers take the stage at 11:30 am. (Note the earlier start time.) The camp counselors will also be on Main Stage (midday), so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Have a great day!


Ron's message from the July 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

June was our first month back at Riverside Elks #6 for Jazz Sunday. As I mentioned last month, we were forced to make a sudden move from the Dante Club, and the transition went smoothly. Big thanks to Judy Hendricks and her crew for stepping up and getting all of our equipment moved out of the Dante and into Elks #6. They did a great job.

This month, we are featuring Chris Tyle, a talented cornetist and multi-instrumentalist from Portland, OR. (Perhaps you know him as a drummer in Bob Schulz’ Frisco Jazz Band.) And you won’t want to miss the Elks’ Sunday Buffet Breakfast from 9:00 to 11:00 am for only $9 per person—a great way to start a great day of music.

We have a lot going on this summer! Our annual Traditional Jazz Camp for ADULTS takes place at the Sly Park Environmental Education Center, July 27–Aug 1st. Then on August 2, Jim and Jeannette Galloway will host our 3rd annual Trad. Jazz Camp Kickoff & Fundraiser concert featuring The Professors. This fun event includes a full barbecue dinner and concert in a beautiful backyard setting, all for only $40 per person. For ticket information, contact or call 916-712-1501. Tickets are limited, so don’t wait!

August 4–9 is the YOUTH Trad. Jazz Camp, after which the kids return to play for our Jazz Sunday on August 10th. These kids are phenomenal, and it is a great opportunity to see what our Jazz Camp is all about. We’ll also get to hear from former Campers who take time out of their summer to volunteer as Camp Counselors to mentor the next generation of jazz musicians.

The 2014 Music Festival is now in the history books, and the jury is still out as to how financially successful it was. As most of you know, we made a conscious decision to diversify the music in an effort to make the festival more lucrative. Some folks have had a hard time adjusting to this transition. I tried to hear as many bands as possible, including the rock, blues and country groups, and the headliners. (The Sunday performance by Collective Soul drew over 4,000 people!) I also made an effort to hear the trad and other jazz groups, which comprised about half of the bands in the festival. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the music. I would be interested to hear your thoughts—feel free to email them to me at

Have a great day!


Ron's message from the June 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The past month was the busiest I’ve had since I became president of STJS! It’s pretty amazing to see how the 1500 or so volunteers come together to put on our festival. Kinda like the circus coming to town – one day there’s nothing, then come four days of excitement, and then back to normal again. I can’t thank all of those volunteers enough for all they do. Although we are still waiting for the financial dust to settle, we are hopeful that this year’s Sacramento Music Festival & Jubilee was financially successful. I received many compliments on the variety and quality of the music at the festival, from the headliners all the way down. I spoke with many musicians who were thrilled to be part of it. I hope you had as much fun at the festival as I did!

Our fourteen youth bands were also very impressive – it was great to see so many young musicians so excited about getting to play at a major event like the festival, and they all did a great job. Special thanks to the STJS Youth Education Committee for selecting and scheduling the youth bands, and particularly Larry Tyrell, who donated specially inscribed certificates of participation to each youth musician. Thanks also to those who stepped up and loaned the large instruments that the out-of-state bands couldn’t bring with them.

A week before the Sac. Music Festival, the Dante Club informed us that they would be doubling the rent for our monthly Jazz Sunday concerts. If we didn’t agree, we would be forced to move elsewhere, effective the end of May. After considering several alternatives, and with the unanimous consent of the STJS Board, our June 8th Jazz Sunday will be at the Elks Lodge #6, on Riverside Blvd. at Florin Rd. (6446 Riverside Blvd., Sac. CA 95831.) We hope to be there for a long time. Those of you who have been around for a while will remember that we used to meet there before moving to the Dante Club. I hope you will all come out and show the Elks how much we support live jazz music. A special bonus: the Lodge hosts a Sunday breakfast from 9am to 11am for only $9 per person. So you can come early, have a great breakfast and then listen to some wonderful jazz.


Ron's message from the May 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   Well, this is the month we’ve been waiting for. It is unbelievable how much work has been accomplished in such a short time. So many meetings, so many good people trying to get everything done on time; it’s pretty amazing. I’ve had a completely new perspective this year since I took over as President and became a larger part of the process.

There are so many great things happening at this year’s Music Festival, of which we can all be very proud. There are a few things I’m not happy about. For instance, the lack of larger venues this year means some bands will be forced to play in venues that are not what they should be, but we didn’t have any choice. I hope you will all look not at an individual situation involving your favorite band, but will instead try to see the overall picture. Your Festival committee has done the best they could with the circumstances presented to them.

What I enjoy most about the festival each year is the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, musician and non-musician. It’ s like fishing –I love to fish but as I have gotten older I’ve discovered that the real fun isn’t the fishing so much as it is the camaraderie of sharing the day with friends.

I could ramble on for a few more paragraphs, but I have another meeting to get to. Let me close by saying: Let’s all have a wonderful festival weekend and really enjoy the music, the fun and the fellowship. And if you happen to see me there, please stop and say hello!


Ron's message from the April 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   Time is really flying – in less than two months the 41st Sacramento Music Festival & Jubilee will be in full swing. We all know that it takes a great many dedicated people devoting both time and talent to bring this event to life each year. Over the past few months I have gotten to know some of the key festival volunteers, and I am amazed at the amount of work they do throughout the year. I am really impressed with the work Lyle and Terri Van Horn, and Keith Wonderley have done in compiling a complete, updated and computerized contact list of the Festival management teams and the hundreds of volunteers. That’s organization at its best! And at just about every meeting I attend I run into Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes, and Bob Harries. And Royce Price is working very hard to make this year’s parade better than ever. Make sure you don’t miss it – the parade begins at 10:00 on Saturday morning. It is because of dedicated people like these that we have been able to present consistently great, fun jazz festivals. We can’t thank these folks enough.
   This year’s festival lineup once again has something for everyone – trad, swing, blues, zydeco, rock, country, and Latin. Scheduling the bands has been a bit challenging this year because we lost a couple of key venues, including the Sheraton Ballroom. Some of our larger groups will be in smaller rooms, but we don’t have a lot of choice given the situation. We also are proud to feature fourteen Next Generation Bands (“NGB” or youth bands), including one from Chilliwack, B.C. and one from Denver. Thanks to the STJS Education Committee and especially Larry Tyrell and Patti Jones for handling the contracting and scheduling of the youth bands. Since our mission is to preserve and promote traditional jazz music, these bands are an important part of the festival. (2014 NGB list on pg. 15 of April "AATJ.")
   Recently, I was fortunate to play the Redwood Coast jazz festival in Eureka. I took some of our festival flyers with me, and there was a lot of interest. Anyone can do the same – if you are going to an event where folks might be interested in the music festival or where they may not have heard of it, take some flyers with you! Similarly, Board Member Dave Becker is working on a new STJS brochure that highlights the benefits of STJS membership. Since many of our festival-goers come from within a few hundred miles of Sacramento, those are the people we need to reach.
   On another note, our youth band, TNT, moved their monthly gig from Farrell’s to Round Table Pizza on Kiefer Blvd. in Rosemount. Their last gig there will be on May 19th. They will also be appearing at the Straw Hat in Rancho Cordova on April 23rd, as part of the regular Wednesday night jazz series. I encourage you to come out and support this terrific group of young people – Round Table gives us a percentage of the gross sales that evening, money which goes to support the band. By the way, TNT earned well-deserved kudos at the Jazz Bash by the Bay in Monterey last month. From what I’ve heard, they were terrific and did us proud!


Ron's message from the March 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   As you all know, in a little over two months the jazz festival ..will be here! Planning has been underway for months, and the pace is picking up as we get closer and closer.

A few months ago when I took over as President, I was unprepared for some of the inquiries I would be receiving. I learned a long time ago that stepping into a new position is not the time to make major changes; instead, I like to take time to get to know the people involved and what they are working to achieve. Most of the festival committees were already working on band selection, venues, headliners, etc., and I tried to stay out of everyone’s way. Then I started getting phone calls and emails about why a certain band or musician is not going to be in the festival. I touched base with the people doing the band selection and learned that because of our financial situation, staying within our budget is critical for us to survive. We just don’t have the funds to bring in every band every year.

Several individuals have stepped forward, singly or as a group, to sponsor bands they wanted to have in the festival. Time is running out; we have only a few more weeks in which to add bands, so if there is a band you particularly want to see, consider getting together with some friends and sponsoring the group. Contact our Executive Director, Vivian Abraham, if you are interested in becoming a sponsor.

And don’t forget, the extended STJS Member Discount —$90 for “All Events” badges—ends April 13th (Jazz Sunday with Le Jazz Hot from San Francisco). Be sure to get your badges if you haven’t already.

The 9th annual Trad Jazz Youth Band Festival (TJYBF) was another great success thanks to our wonderful clinicians and great volunteers, and the leadership of Dr. Steve Roach (from Sac. State Jazz Studies) and Festival Coordinator Yvonne Au. Yvonne reported that the TJYBF’s 102 volunteers welcomed over 200 youth musicians this year. Guest Artist Joe Midiri and his twin brother, Paul, were outstanding as clinicians and a great addition to the talented and capable clinician roster. We are indeed fortunate to have people of this caliber spend so much time and energy working with our youth. The Clinicians Band also played two great sets on Jazz Sunday at the Dante Club, and I received glowing reports from those in attendance.

We are already planning for the 10th annual TJYBF set for February 7, 2015. And I am happy to report that the Fresno Mardi Gras has permanently moved its dates to the weekend before TJYBF, so we will no longer have a conflict, and jazz lovers can attend both events.


Ron's message from the Feb. 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   Happy New Year! I had to wait till February to say that because there is no “AATJ” in January (Dec./Jan. is a combo issue). Hey folks, we’ve only got four months till the 41st annual Sacramento Music Festival, May 23-26. Got tickets? The Early Bird Discount ended in January, and the price for STJS Members was supposed to increase to $95, but your STJS Board voted to instead charge only $90 for All-Events badges (through April 13). After all, it’s thanks to our STJS Members that we’ve been able to have and enjoy this festival for the past four decades.
   Lots of you showed up for the 16th annual “Rent Party” at Jazz Sunday in January. Thank you to local musicians generously donating their time and talent to help STJS pay their rent at the Dante Club (which, by the way, has gone up this year).
   Kathy Becker made a lot of changes to the Crab Feed this year, from the venue to the addition of pasta and more. It was a hit! We all had a great time at the Turn Verein, listening and dancing to trad jazz played by some of the finest musicians in the business. BIG THANKS to Kathy and Dave Becker for organizing our 8th Crab & Pasta Feed. Thanks to everyone who came out to support STJS. Also, thanks to all the volunteers, from the kitchen and bar, to the ever-present Sound Crew.
   Judy Hendricks and her dedicated team on the STJS Sound Crew work hard all year long, not just at the Festival and Jazz Sundays, but also at the TJYBF, and fundraisers, like the “Up Close & Personal” event in December. We simply wouldn’t make it without the help of all these wonderful people. STJS is proof that one person can make a difference in their community, weather it’s organizing an event or committee, or simply donating a few hours a month at the office or any number of events. STJS has so many people who deserve individual thanks over the years. To all of you, I just want to let you know how much we appreciate your unique contributions that benefit so many people — jazz fans and musicians alike.
   Next up is the TJYBF (Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival) and a full weekend of trad jazz, Feb. 7–9. Starting on Fri., come hear the kids at Round Table Pizza (Rosemont) for a casual jam session with clinicians. Early next morning, hear performances by students from schools near and far, from 8am to 5pm, followed by the Clinicians Concert at 7pm. Then at Jazz Sunday, we’ll present Bob Draga, Joe & Paul Midiri, and the all-star Clinicians Band on Main Stage at the Dante Club. (Details are elsewhere in this newsletter.) Plans are already underway for 2015 as we’ll be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of STJS Trad. Jazz Camp and the 10th Anniversary of the TJYBF.


Ron's message from the Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Thank you for all the support I’ve received in my new role as STJS President. Your input and ideas are valuable and appreciated, so please feel free to attend our montly STJS Board meetings, or write me a letter. Past President Tom Duff will join the STJS Executive Committee as Ex- Officio. I’m grateful for all the STJS and Festival volunteers, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
At the end of the year, STJS accepts old instruments as donations. We have them repaired and give them to kids in need. In addition, STJS accepts your generous donations (tax deductible) that keep our organization strong.

A fun way to support STJS is by attending the annual Crab & Pasta Feed on Sat.,, Jan. 25. This year, organizer Kathy Becker is making some big changes: we’re holding the event at the Sac. Turn Verein, adding pasta to the menu, and bringing in special musical guests. Tickets are $45 (or $30 for students under 21). See the flyer on page 11 for more info.

On January 12, we’ll have our 16th annual “Rent Party” with a full program of music on all three stages at the Dante Club. See a partial list of bands in the column, at left. We’re grateful to Bob Ringwald for returning as our Guest Artist Coordinator. If you have ideas for future guests, or want to sponsor a band for Jazz Sunday, please contact Bob.
My hardworking wife, Patty, and I have been busy organizing the TJYBF fundraiser, “Up Close and Personal: Take V.” We couldn’t do it without the help of some great volunteers. Thank you! Once again, the event is sold out, and we’re sure to raise a lot of money to keep our youth band festival going.

The TJYBF (Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival) is now in its 9th year. This year’s Guest Clinician is the great clarinetist Joe Midiri from New Jersey. In case you haven’t seen the lineup for the 2014 Sac. Music Festival, we are bringing the Midiri Brothers Sextet this year after a long absence. Our band sponsors are key to us being able to bring such great bands to our festival, so thank you to all who contribute.

TJYBF Director Steve Roach will also be appearing at the 2014 Sac. Music Festival as we now have a sponsor for the Sacramento State Latin Jazz Ensemble. (This will have the salsa dancers out in force.)

Dec. 8 not only brings the Golden Gate Rhythm Machine to Jazz Sunday, it’s also STJS Election Day. We’re also having the Old West Trio on Set 3. Come on out to enjoy the great music and holiday cheer, and cast your vote for STJS Board Members. Read candidate bios on pages 6 and 7.


Ron's message from the November 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

  It’s been a busy few weeks since I took over as President of STJS! One of the first orders of business was to fill some empty positions on the Board. Dennis Grimes will be replacing me as Vice-President, which leaves his board position open. I appointed Ron Swehla to take Dennis’ place as a non-musician board member. I am also happy to announce that newly minted Gold Card Musician Vanna Turner will fill the remaining vacancy. Many of you know Vanna from her volunteer work in the jazz office.
   As I continue to adjust to my new role, I encourage you as STJS members to feel free to send me any suggestions you might have on how we can make our organization better; the best way is to send me an email at
   STJS is fortunate to have Bob Williams directing TNT again this year. Our STJS-sponsored youth honor band sounded great at all of their public performances, including the Sac. Music Festival. This year’s band is already rehearsing and set to debut at the Nov. 10 Jazz Sunday. Arrive early to support the band as they take the Main Stage at noon. As with all STJS programs, we couldn’t succeed without the help of hardworking volunteers. Special thanks to TNT Co-Managers Cherish Cyr and Elinor Hackett, and all parents of the band members.
   Despite a successful festival last year, STJS still faces some financial hurdles. So, raising money will continue to be a priority. You can all help by buying tickets to the STJS Crab & Pasta Feed, to be held January 25th, 5:00 pm, at Turn Verein on J Street. Event Chair Kathy Becker has totally revamped this annual fundraiser and tells me she has a few surprises planned! The musicians performing for this event include Bob Ringwald, Bob Schulz, Scott Anthony, Jim Maihack and the fabulous Pat Yankee. Put this one on your calendar and be sure to get your tickets! [Flyer with details coming soon.]
   Finally, if you haven’t yet gotten your tickets for the Up Close & Personal fundraiser on December 5th featuring Paulette Pepper, Bob Draga and Jason Wanner, there are still a few left as of this writing. Tickets are $95 per person and include a $50 tax-deductible donation. Contact Patti Jones at 916-712-1501 or


Ron's message from the October 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

  It’s been an unbelievable week. Last Sunday I received a call notifying me that Tom Duff had resigned as president of the STJS, and according to the bylaws, that makes me your president. Quite a shock! Tom is a very hard act to follow — he was dedicated in all aspects of STJS.
  So, this is my first column in AATJ as President. Before Tom resigned, he submitted his own column, so I have taken the liberty of incorporating some of his thoughts with mine. I don’t think he will mind.
   First, kudos to the new festival in town, the Hot Jazz Jubi-lee, held during Labor Day Weekend in Rancho Cordova. The venues were crowded, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. STJS congratulates Festival Director Ken McMur-ray for a great job producing a very enjoyable event. If you attended, you may have noticed that STJS supported the event by providing stages, pianos and drums. Many of STJS’ expe-rienced volunteers and Sound Crew also participated in assist-ing, and they did a great job. So, even though it was not STJS producing the event, it goes to our core mission and we would like to see this event continue.
   We are preparing for the 2014 Sacramento Music Festival, and many of the bands have been selected. It is time to ask the members of our society to consider sponsoring a band. We asked for this level of commitment last year, and some of you stepped up and opened your checkbooks. That level of com-mitment definitely helped us produce a truly successful event. If your business has a philanthropy program, or if you could use an extra tax write-off, please consider STJS. Call the Jazz Office for more information on becoming a band sponsor.
   If you cannot sponsor a band for the Festival, you can still provide support by attending the STJS upcoming fundraiser concert, the Last Blast of Summer featuring the Black Tues-day Jazz Quartet, at the Brookside Restaurant on October 20th from 3pm to 7pm. Cost is only $10, so get a group together, and come on out and have some fun. For more info, contact volunteer Kathy Becker at 916-635-7224.
Finally, STJS elections are coming in December. This is an excellent opportunity for some of you to get involved and help our organization grow and prosper.




Tom Duff photo

STJS President Tom Duff
Serving June 2010 to Sept. 2013


Tom's message from the September 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

  The end of summer in the Jazz Society tends to be a little slow. The Music Festival is a distant memory, the Jazz Camp is completed, and now, the Hot Jazz Jubilee in Rancho Cordova is over. So, what I thought I would do in this month’s article is give you an insight into what it takes to keep the society going.
  The most important action in late summer is for the board to pass a Society budget. Without this action, the Society and office staff would not know at what level future activities will be funded, so things would grind to a standstill. In the past we had to take severe cost-cutting measures to keep the organization afloat. STJS Treasurer Lisa Negri-Bartels has done a great job formulating a workable budget while keeping costs in check during the trying years. I want to use this article to formally thank Lisa for all the hard work. She was assisted by Board Member Dennis Grimes, who also runs our Festival finance operation. Thanks to Dennis as well. The last few years have been challenging, but with the 2013 Festival, it seems like we are on the road to recovery. The board passed the 2014 budget unanimously at the August 12th board meeting.
  With the budget in place, earlier this year than in the past, we can begin contacting the talent that we will be providing for the festival next year. Having the talent selected means we can start pre-sales and develop our marketing material. So, as you see, it really is cause and effect.
  STJS is working on a number of activities to streamline what we do and how we do it. Hopefully, within the next couple of months you will notice some good changes, which I’ll be addressing in this column. Stay tuned.


Tom's message from the August 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

As most of you are aware, the STJS Trad. Jazz Camp runs at this time of year. The Adult camp started on July 28th and went through August 2nd. The youth camp then started on Aug. 3rd and concludes Aug 11th. I want to congratulate all the campers (adult and youth) that have completed this program. A big thanks to Camp Director Bill Dendle, who always recruits a great faculty as trainers and coaches.

The Camp will be followed by a concert at the Dante Club that should not be missed. Beginning at 11:30 am (earlier than usual), it starts first with the Youth Camp Concert, and then our star instructors and several of the counselors and “Professors” take the stage at 2:00 pm. These folks are the future of this organization, so please come out and support them at the Aug. 11th Jazz Sunday.

It’s already the middle of summer, and soon the 1st annual Hot Jazz Jubilee in Rancho Cordova will occur. Please see the full-page ad on page 5. Although this event is not an official STJS offering, the Society is supporting it by providing much of our equipment to help make this a success. Ken McMurray, who is running Hot Jazz, has committed to a sizable donation to STJS if this festival takes off. Ken, I look forward to your success and a large check.

A few days ago, we were notified that Hal Needham had passed away. I knew Hal personally, and he was a great friend of the Jazz Society. Hal was very upbeat and always had something positive to say. Over the years, Hal did much for the Society. Hal, you will be missed.

[See pg. 11 for info regarding a “Celebration of Life” for Hal Needham on Sept. 22nd.]

The STJS is looking for a few good board members. We currently have two vacancies for Musician Board Members. If you are interested in serving on the STJS Board of Directors, please send a note to me via email at Thank You for your consideration.

STJS, as you know, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is run only by the events we present, and by donations and dues from our members. Thank You for your support. We will continue to provide events and talent for your enjoyment, and will continue to ask for tax deductible donations. The end of the year will be here before we know it, so think of us when you are doing your tax planning. Remember: you can sponsor a band, venue, golf cart, or whatever at the 2014 Sac. Music Festival. You can also sponsor any of our other programs. Again, Thank You for all your contributions.


Tom's message from the July 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I have had several folks ask me how the 40th Sacramento Music Festival did this year. Certainly, from my perspective, most everyone had a great time, and there was music to appeal to a much larger and broader base than we have ever had before. This was one of our objectives in changing the name and some of the talent at the Festival. I was impressed that for the size of our event, we had virtually no problems that required the police to be involved. Another objective is to keep this event very family friendly, and make this an event that is extremely safe. We accomplished that as well.

Now for the biggie: Did we make any money by changing the Music Festival? In the past several years, the festival has been contracting monetarily at around ten percent per year. All the revenue is not in yet, but it appears as though this year we have reversed that trend with greater than a twenty-percent increase. This is largely because we had members and sponsors that believed in this organization and were able to contribute money to the cause. You know who you are, and all I can say is that I am humbled by your support. A mere Thank You is not (and will never be) enough.

We are not sitting on our laurels. The staff and I are energized by the success of the Festival and are beginning to plan our next endeavor. You will be hearing more about that later, but know that what we plan will hopefully not only increase our membership but keep the society vibrant.

Last month, I made an error in my article. Yes, I made a mistake. I know it was not my first, and I am certain it will not be my last. Referring to Turntable on the Green, I stated that this was our first stab at a venue this size. I was corrected in the fact that the venue at 4th and J many years ago was much larger. Sorry for my error.

Planning for the 41st Sacramento Music Festival has also started. We wanted to get started early so that we could research and sign the bands we want. We are also looking for businesses to sponsor our event and our other activities. If you, or if you know of any organization that wants to assist this icon of the Sacramento music scene, please come forward now. And thanks in advance for your consideration.

It’s summertime, and that means STJS Trad. Jazz Camp. Be sure to catch the Youth Jazz Campers when they finish their week at Camp by performing for STJS members at the Aug. 11 Jazz Sunday. The Campers will begin earlier than usual — 11:30 am — and they’ll be followed by our guest artists at 2:00 pm. Watch for several Jazz Camp Profs and Counselors to join our guest artists: Bria, Terry, Greg, and Curtis.


Tom's message from the June 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I am writing this on Tuesday following the 2013 Sac. Music Festival with the glaze of exhaustion in my eyes. What a festival we had!! Our new format was quite exciting and attracted attendees from all age groups. I was very pleased to see the new Turntable filled to capacity during the Sunday night headliner. With the police presence, and the Guardian Angels (wearing red berets), there was no sign of trouble. Everyone that I talked with said they were having a very good time. Turntable on the Green was a success. It worked well for our first stab at a venue of this size. We have heard many of your suggestions and will look at improving this venue in the future.

Speaking of police, we had pretty good response with we found an unidentified object under the freeway on Friday. They disarmed the child’s paint set in professional fashion. Better safe than sorry.

During the Festival, I always hear stories of volunteers going way over and above. Thank You to the folks from Jazz Express that made sure Los Lobos got to their hotel with their instruments at 12:30 at night, then were there to take them to the airport at 5:30 am. Another thanks to the Operations Crew that started on Friday before 8am and did not finish up until very late Monday resolving issues. I know Joe Cruz received a call at 4am, and amazingly, he answered it. The general public and many STJS members do not know to what extremes the volunteers go in order to ensure the success of this event.

Then there is Vivian Abraham. I can hardly put into words the respect I have for her. She has done a phenomenal job of producing an outstanding event while the board has asked her to keep expenses in check. She engaged the Convention and Visitors Bureau – a brilliant move – and selected much of the talent you saw over the weekend. She constantly shows her vision and leadership; watching her manage the event during the weekend is nothing but artistic. She takes everything that is thrown at her in stride, and gets all issues resolved with dignity and respect.

We cannot forget about the contributions Jennifer Colindres makes to the festival. This year, she did much of the band scheduling and took care of much of the procurements that keep the festival running. She does so many things around the office that it would take several paragraphs to include them all.

To all of you – musicians, volunteers, sponsors, partners, patrons, boosters and members – Thank You. Please go out and tell you friends, neighbors, and relatives what an incredible organization this is, and get involved. Thanks for listening.


Tom's message from the May 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

We are down to the final preparations for the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival, our 40th-year celebration. As of this writing, the presales are up significantly, and my wish is that this will be one of the best. All the right pieces are in place with some great talent, an awesome new venue, delicious food, and great weather. The planning is down to the wire and we will be ready. You should already see some exceptional marketing, because of the help of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Mike Testa. Mike has put in many hours to promote this event and help make it an icon in Sacramento for many years to come. And to the critics, the rumor of our demise has been greatly exaggerated. You can plan for a 41st Festival?we certainly are ! !

Every year, I give credit to our army of volunteers. There are some very hard working folks and many donate hundreds of hours to make sure that the Festival goes off without a hitch. When you get your program, please take a minute to look at the Hall of Fame winners for this year. Each year we recognize the best of the best, so read their bios, and if you see them at the Festival, make sure you give them a big thank you. These dedicated individuals have the privilege of riding in the parade and exemplify what volunteering really means.

This year, we are also announcing the 2014 Emperor early. In the past, it was held as very confidential until the closing ceremonies. Instead, we are announcing the Emperor before the 2013 Festival starts. The 2014 Emperor is... "Buy a program to find out."

I hope you enjoy what the staff, volunteers, partners and sponsors have put together for 2013. Many thanks to you for attending, I think you will have a great time.


Tom's message from the April 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   We only have a little over a month before the start of the 40th Sacramento Music Festival, the Jazz Society’s largest fund raiser. If you have looked at the website lately, you will have noticed that the selection of music should appeal to all age groups. After a reduction in attendance over the past several years, I am encouraged and believe that this will be a turnaround year for this premier Sacramento event. I want to thank all the members and volunteers who have donated their money and time. Of course, there is still time if you wish to sponsor a band, venue or even a golf cart at the festival. Just make a call to the office for pricing. You can also collaborate with a group of friends or relatives and make sponsorship a team-building exercise.

With the Festival planning in full swing, there are many people that have really been instrumental in planning and executing so that all the members and guests will enjoy this event. There are so many that I cannot recognize all of them in one short article. Our executive director, Vivian Abraham, has put in countless hours to ensure that the talent you will hear is the best our budget will allow. Jennifer Colindres has spent countless hours making sure the bands are scheduled properly according to both their contract and appropriate venue.

We also had the opportunity to engage the fine men and women of the CA Conservation Corp (CCC) to help with staging for the Festival setup. Behind the scenes, there are privacy panels that are erected before the Festival in order to build the venues. Each year, those panels need to be repaired and repainted. For several years, that duty has fallen on the Construction Crew. This year, we were able to have the Conservation Corp assist us with this task and, hopefully, building some of the venues as well. Talking to some of the folks from the CCC, I was very impressed with their work ethic and professionalism. They will have a booth at the Festival, so please talk with them and let them know how much the community appreciates their efforts.
I hope that you enjoy the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival. Let’s hope that, after 40 years, this is the best party yet. Thank You to all the Sponsors, Members, Musicians and Volunteers for all the great years.


Tom's message from the March 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   If you attended the 8th annual Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival, I think you will agree that it was just a great event. The next generation talent that is learning to play trad jazz is just incredible. Dr. Steve Roach and Yvonne Au, and all the clinicians and staff, put in a huge amount of work to make this festival the success that anyone who attended would say it was. Thank You to all of them, as well as the sponsors and donors of the event. Without your support, this event could not take place.

Then the next day at Jazz Sunday, you were able to see many of the clinicians for the Youth Festival perform. Sorry if you missed it. The Dante Club was absolutely packed; so many of the members took advantage of the entire weekend of Jazz Music.

We are still in the midst of our fund drive: $40 for the 40th year of the Festival. You can still support this event with your contribution. You can donate online at or simply mail a check to the Jazz Office (payable to “STJS”).

It seems as though there are meetings most evenings as the planning for the Festival jumps into high gear. I want to thank, in advance, all the volunteers for their hard work to make this year’s event great. We all put in countless hours planning and making this festival great, making the general public feel at home, and I know it can be a thankless job. So, sincerely THANK YOU!

Keep in mind that there are still sponsorships available for many of the bands at the festival. Become an integral part of history and the 40th Festival by becoming a band sponsor. Thanks for the members that have stepped up. So if you would like to sponsor a particular group, contact the office for the cost, or see me at Jazz Sunday. (See pg. 15 for partial list of bands.)


Tom's message from the Feb. 2013
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   Happy New Year. Many things have transpired over the holidays. While many of you were spending time with your families, the office and the committees have been busy planning the 2013 Music Festival. I know Vivian in the office has put in countless hours making sure that the 40th Festival will be everything that it is advertised to be.
   Speaking of advertising, the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau has agreed to assist the society in our endeavors to make the 40th a tremendous success. Thanks to all the folks from Convention and Visitors Bureau, including Steve Hammond and Mike Testa, and the entire staff. This organization has giving us great support over the years, and this year even more so. [e.g. they redesigned the Festival website.] The Convention and Visitors Bureau was also instrumental in getting a grant for the Music Festival to the tune of $65,000. This grant came from the Sacramento Tourism and Marketing District ? a big thanks to the nice folks on that board that approved our application. Know that the money will be well spent, and you will reap some of the benefits of the programs that you funded.
   We’re happy to announce (and you’ll be happy to hear) that the Festival Shuttle Buses are once again FREE of charge. You can ride all weekend long if you have a Festival badge.
   If you happened to be at the Dante Club in January, you noticed a table designated “Music Festival Band Sponsorships.” I was manning that table and will be at the club every Jazz Sunday until the Music Festival. There are many great bands that we are trying to sponsor. Thank You to all the folks that have opened their wallets to sponsor the talent that performs at the Festival. Make your mark on the society for the 40th anniversary and sponsor a band. We are also looking for sponsorships of the golf carts that roam around Old Sacramento. Be cool by having your name on one of our golf carts.
   TJYBF, the STJS youth festival, is just about upon us. Where did the time go. If you have not attended this event, this should be the year that you go. It is held at Sacramento State University in Capistrano Hall on Saturday, Feb. 9th. For a $10 ticket, you get the pleasure to enjoy traditional jazz music performed by youth of every age group. (Tickets increase to $12 at the door.) If you can’t make the daytime events, plan on attending the all-star Clinicians Band concert at 7pm. Website:
   By the time you read this, it will be less than 100 days until the 2013 Music Festival. I am looking forward to a great 40th and hope you are as well.


Tom's message from the Dec.'12 / Jan.'13
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

    First of all, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season. I hope Thanksgiving was good to you and Christmas will be even better. This is the time of year to reflect on all the things that happened during the year, both good and bad. I hope for all of you there were many more good memories than bad.
   It is also the time of year when most of the non-profit organizations ask for your help financially; we are no different. STJS exists because of the good will and financial backing of a few. Our fund drive this year is asking for $40 as it is the 40th anniversary of the Festival. You also have some additional options if you feed generous, as one member did recently with a $5000 donation. You can sponsor part of the 40th Festival by providing funding for your favorite band. All the bands have different cost depending on where they are traveling from, so contact the office if you would like to know what the price of a particular group would be.
  This year, the December Dante Club concert features Mr Tom Rigney and his band, Flambeau. This concert has always been very well attended, so please arrive early. NOTE: For this one concert, we have raised the admission prices to defer the added cost of this very popular band, as well as raise a little bit extra for our programs. On Dec. 9, admission will be $10 for STJS members / $15 for non-members (Reg. $8/$12.)
   The “Early Bird Discount” tickets are now available for the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival. These make great gifts or stocking-stuffers for Christmas, and are a great value. “All-Events” for members is only $85 before the end of Jan. See the flyer (with order form) printed on page 4 of this newsletter.
   As the year comes to a close, I would like to thank all the hardworking staff and volunteers for their efforts in 2012. This organization would not function except for the work of all these folks, and we are all in your debt.



Tom's message from the November 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   I just heard today on the news that Newsweek will cease to produce a printed publication starting the first of next year. I guess they must have heard that the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society went digital and decided it was time for them to move as well. Isn’t it great to be a trend setter?
   STJS is has now totally moved out of the West Sacramento location. For many of us, that office holds some great memories. We all remember the festival meetings with the executive director and all the society activities that took place there. I am sorry to see it close—a sign of the economy. We were, however, able to vacate these premises a month before our lease was up, saving the society about $1,500. We also were able to bring the building back to its original condition thanks to the help of volunteers. We were required to remove walls, the drum cage and the office that we built over the 30+ years that we occupied 2787 Del Monte Street. By doing the demo work ourselves, the volunteers saved the Society another $15,000. I would like to thank many folks that helped over multiple weekends: Board Members Carol Fusaro, Dennis Grimes, Lisa Negri-Bartels, Dave Becker, along with other volunteers, “Raffle Lady” Kathy Becker, Jim Fusaro, David Lambros (Festival Bar Coordinator), Mike Shipman (Festival Electrician), Cheryl Williams (nicknamed the “Sledge Hammer Lady”) and Ben Eisele (Sheet Rock extraordinaire).
   We are now getting donations and sponsorships for talent performing at the 2013 Festival. Our talent selection committee has been doing a great job selecting some awesome musicians. You will hear more about this soon. Call the office and see which bands still need sponsorships. Also, if you have frequent flyer tickets that you wish to donate, we can take those as well.
   We will also be starting our end-of-year charitable giving campaign. Over the last several years, these fund drives have been a huge success. This will be our 40th anniversary of the festival, so we are requesting $40 for our 40th year. Of course, you may contribute as much as you’re able. While you are doing your end of year tax planning, please remember the Society and be generous. STJS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and your tax-deductible contributions are really appreciated.


Tom's message from the October 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   Welcome to the first version of the electronic And All That Jazz. For now, it’s in PDF for easier printing. I hope we will be able to deliver content that is of interest to members. In my article I will attempt to offer you links that you will find enjoyable. This is the right decision for the society, and will help generate cash for all the programs we are involved in.
   Most of you know that the most we post information on various websites. The STJS website is and provides a current calendar of events in addition to basic inormation about STJS, it’s board of directors, jazz education, etc. From the STJS site, you can find links to the websites for the Sac. Music Festival , the STJS Trad. Jazz Camps , our youth band festival (TJYBF) , and our STJS Foundation . And yes, you can also renew your membership online or donate to the society directly from our website.
   Speaking of donations, there have been a few of our members that put up money to bring your favorites to the 2013 Sac. Music Festival. Cornet Chop Suey WILL perform at the Festival. Thank you so much to the members that opened their checkbooks to make this possible. If you wish to sponsor other bands, please continue to send me emails at
   If you attended the Tom Rigney & Flambeau concert at the Woodlake on Sept 28th, then you know what a great time we had there. There was a huge dance floor that filled up for every song. Ken McMurray organized this very successful fundraiser for STJS, and we’re grateful to him and all the volunteers.
   For Jazz Sunday in October, I hope you are planning on watching the fabulous MARILYN KELLER. Many of you have seen her at festival with the Black Swan Classic Jazz Band. If not, take the time to visit Marilyn’s website and preview her video.
   We are continuing the planning for the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival. Our Talent Selection Committee will be giving a preview soon of what they have in store for our 40th anniversary. I am sure that the talent will meet with your approval. Shortly thereafter, presales tickets will be available for purchase.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The West Sacramento office has finally been emptied out and is now back to being a plain warehouse space. This was a huge task! Tom Duff made this possible by devoting many hours, and relying on the help of dedicated staff and invaluable volunteers. We cannot say thank you enough!


Tom's message from the September 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   I guess the topic of the hour is that this publication, And All That Jazz, is going digital?or electronic if you prefer. I personally am very excited about this change. While this has been done in part for financial reasons, the real positive is that it gives us the capability to provide very rich content to our members. Many of you use the Internet to find information about subjects of interest. This publication can now provide links to websites of interest as well as color photos and music video of your favorite performers.
  SEPT. 28 FUNDRAISER CONCERT: If you have read the recent articles in this publication, you know that STJS is presenting to you a concert at the Woodlake Hotel featuring Tom Rigney & Flambeau. I know that tickets are selling out rapidly, so if you wish to attend this fun event, you need to purchase your tickets very soon. My personal thanks to Ken McMurray for his fine work on this event. You can get more information on page 11, or see the flyer on the website calendar:
  I want to extend a great big THANK YOU to the folks that sponsored bands for the 2013 Festival. A few of you have opened your wallet to bring the best talent to the festival. We certainly are not there yet. It does not have to be a large donation; even small donations help. If you wish to sponsor a band for 2013, please send me an email at:
  The STJS Trad. Jazz Camp (Youth and Adult) concluded on August 12th. I would like to congratulate all the musicians that had the opportunity to complete these camps. If you are not familiar with these camps, they are held at Sly Park during the summer and feature some of the best clinicians in the industry. You can visit their website at On this site you can tour the facility and see videos of the camp and the clinicians (a.k.a. The Professors). I invite all the campers to continue with STJS by participating in our other activities as a volunteer. Your participation will help the society thrive.
  Last, I would like to remember a longtime Jazz Festival volunteer. Mr. Dan Price passed away on June 1, 2012. Dan worked on the Transportation Crew at the Radisson Hotel when that venue existed. Dan and his wife, Nancy, devoted many hours to the Society, as well as other arts organizations in Sacramento. Dan, thank you for your service.


Tom's message from the August 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

   "Summertime and the living is easy.” That could be the case with other organizations, but the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is moving full-speed ahead. Attendance for the 2012 Festival was actually up significantly on Saturday, but folks were spending less on food and drink; so, we again ended up with down revenues. The economy is still down, and we are feeling impact.
   Next year will the 40th year for the Festival. I am humbled that this organization created a festival that has endured for forty years. Think of where you were and what you were doing forty years ago... A lot has transpired, both with bad economies and really good times, yet we have endured. We all have to ask ourselves where we want STJS to be in another 40 years.
   The Jazz Society is working on several projects to raise funds. I am sure you will enjoy what is coming. See flyer on our Calendar page for info about an event featuring Tom Rigney & Flambeau performing on September 28th at the Woodlake (formerly Radisson). Come out and support the Society and listen to some great music. I highly recommend a VIP package. Remember, this is to support the society. General: $20 in advance from the Sac Jazz Office or $25 at the door. VIP Package: $75/couple or $40 individual, includes a band Meet & Greet with complimentary wine, free parking and reserved, round-table seating up front. Also a VIP Group Package: $300 for table of 8. Sponsors: $500 incl. banner, table ad, VIP pkg for 8. Thanks to Ken McMurray for organizing this!
   I have received quite a few emails and letters with suggestions of talent for the 2013 festival; Cornet Chop Suey has been requested consistently. Previously, both Vivian and I have suggested that these high-cost bands need to be sponsored. With that in mind, I pose a challenge to all of you, the members of STJS: If we can solicit enough sponsorships, Cornet Chop Suey will play in Sacramento. My challenge starts today. Get together with your friends, colleagues and neighbors, and raise the dollars we need for this worthy cause. No amount is too small or too large. If you want this fabulous group in Sacramento, please email with the amount that you would like to donate. If we get enough in donations, then I will ask you to send in your checks and we will sign them to perform. Don’t delay.
   We are still in the process of moving out of the West Sacramento office. I want to thank all the folks that helped me tear apart the shelves that were built over many years. There is much more to do, so if you have a desire to bash something with a hammer, send me an email:

Tom's message from the July 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Everyone has been asking me how we did at the 2012 Music Festival. As of this writing, we do not have all the final numbers. There are several things that went right this year. I have heard comments from the media, attendees and members that the audience looked younger this year. There were many more families attending and enjoying music and activities. The free stage (by the Pony Express) was a big hit. Many of the issues that we had were transparent to the general public.

This festival was indeed different, from the AmeriCorps <> asking if they could assist with setup, to the arrival of Mrs. California (Lahoma Caudill) arriving unannounced on Monday. The music was different in many aspects as well. Several groups had not played here before—some with exceptional success and others that were not well received. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I’ve had passionate comments from folks that did not like the festival, and other passionate comments that said it was the best festival ever.

Every year, I call out a special thanks for the volunteers that put this festival together. The only reason that this festival works is because of the many hours that volunteers spend getting their committees operating. The Operations Committee handles many issues on an hourly basis so the rest of us can listen to the music. I worked personally with several committees this year, and all I can say is WOW! The dedication of these folks is just astounding. You most likely did not notice the issues we had with the plumbing and the hand washing sinks this year. That is because our plumbing crew worked tirelessly to get the issues resolved so it would not become a major issue. Many of our faucets are leaking due to years of service, so if any of you have access to plumbing fixtures and wish to donate, please let me know. While many of you have an image of plumbers in your head, ours are two attractive women, and I assure you that they are very competent. Somehow, though, seeing a plumber in a flapper dress may have scarred me for life. Thank You to all the volunteers for your hard work.

We are starting to plan for next year’s festival. I know many are passionate that we provide talent that you enjoy. Now is the time to find a way to get your favorite group to the festival. Start talking this up with your friends so that the talent you want to have is actually here. To use the words of Tom Rigney, get involved. The society only exists because of participation of its members. Sponsor a band as an individual or a group. There are many costs involved (performance fees, travel, housing, and misc. costs), so a group sponsorship is a great idea. Thank You!

Tom's message from the June 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I am writing this before the 2012 Sacramento Music Festival has concluded, hoping that next month I can tell what a tremendous success the Music Festival turned out to be.
This month, I thought I would give you a preview of what it takes to produce a festival of this size and scope. Most people never see behind the scenes, and it fabulous to see all the logistics that go into providing the festival that you all enjoy.
About 11 months before any musician steps on a stage, there are decisions that are made about what talent to book and what contracts to sign. We discuss with all the committees what went right and wrong, and how to improve year over year. We have about 47 different committees that manage everything from art to wheel chairs. This is a year-round operation.
We begin selling the discount tickets in fall, and then go into full production mode for the planning and execution of the next festival. Our Construction Crew prepares to build the fencing for all the outdoor sites. Our Plumbing Crew works to make sure that everything is in order to install water for the sinks and bars. The Phone Crew, Cabarets and many other committees start their meetings and scheduling. A few weeks before the festival, the committees swing into action and provide you with all the amenities that you enjoy during the festival.
I am sure that most of you have seen the website that has been created for the Sacramento Music Festival. That site is only done because of the hard work of a very few.
We got some additional help this year from the Boy Scouts of America <>, and also from a dozen young people from AmeriCorps. The latter group had to leave before the festival began, but they did make it to Jazz Sunday. Check out to learn more about this great volunteer organization. See the group’s photo on page 9.
Our Operations Crew does a great job overseeing this event and are really the glue that keeps this operation running smoothly. And of course, there is our executive director, Vivian Abraham. She puts in hundreds of hours every year to make sure nothing is forgotten. Most years, the execution is flawless. The general public rarely sees the issues we do have, and they are fixed rapidly.
So enjoy the music and thank all the volunteers that it takes to put this great event together. Every year, we look for additional volunteers because some of the army of 2000 volunteers may not come back. And if you wish to sponsor and part of the festival from bands to music venues now if the time to make those decisions.


Tom's message from the May 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

In just a few weeks, we will kick off the Sacramento Music Festival. This year, we offer all of you some very exciting new talent to complement the great bands and musicians that have entertained us for years. I had the opportunity to preview KB & the Slingstones last month at a 2nd Saturday concert in Sacramento Midtown, and really enjoyed their sound. They bill themselves as Rockabilly, Honkey Tonk and Swing, so if you like to dance, this band is for you. This is just one of the new lineups—come out and enjoy the party.

We have many new activities including Crawdad’s River Cantina Stage where great entertainers will be playing for free. Please let them know how much you appreciate their participation. Don’t forget the talented Next Generation musicians that will be playing at the Family Stage, and Delta King dock.

We also have additional booth sponsors this year. Our sponsors are an integral part of the festival, and this event could not happen without their generosity. The festival is set for this year. How about sponsoring one of your favorite bands for next year? Get your name recognized when you help bring a band YOU sponsored to Sacramento. This year, we may still have an opportunity for individuals or families to sponsor a booth in Old Sacramento. Think of the prestige of having your own 10ft. x 10ft. sitting area right on the streets of Old Sacramento. Availability is extremely limited, so call the office today
If you have not seen it yet, please visit our festival website at You can get the very latest information on the Music Festival including updates on all the performances, schedules and sponsors. There is also a place to sign up to be a volunteer. We are always looking for conscientious individuals to help us plan and execute this great event. Can you believe that this is the 39th year? Come celebrate with us.

The STJS Election is just around the corner. We are providing you a great list of candidates to choose from. Read their bios here in this newsletter. Then, please get out and vote on Election Day, June 10th. We can also get you an Absentee Ballot; just contact the office: call (916) 444-2004 or e-mail your request to


Tom's message from the April 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I have been asked many questions about moving to our new office. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is now located at 106 K Street, Suite 1, in Old Sacramento. The phone number is (916) 444-2004. The office is on the first floor, directly below Stage Nine. This location is smaller than the West Sacramento office, but it is great to have a presence in Old Sac where we are close to the Music Festival activities. I need to send out a big thanks to all the folks that helped get us moved to our new location: Our office staff (Vivian, John, and Jennifer) was the most affected, but they were able to pack up their offices and arrange logistics—not an easy task. The moving crew consisted of Dave and Kathy Becker (always there when you need them), Bob Harries, Crawford Paton, and the folks from Avaya (that we pressed into service as they were installing the telephone system). We cannot forget the team of folks that worked with me to get the office wired for our computers: again Bob Harries, Crawford Paton (Mr. Meticulous) and Cheryl Williams. The office is functional, and the planning for the 2012 Sacramento Music Festival continues.
STJS 2012 Elections: We are starting the process of finding good candidates to run for the STJS Board of Directors. The elections are held in June of each year, and we need good candidates to help manage and keep the society running. If you would like to run for any of these strategic positions, please contact Vivian at the office. With this being an election year, please don’t forget to vote in the elections for STJS. Only you, the members, can set the direction of this society. The board of directors work for the membership, and this is your time to ensure that the society succeeds and flourishes.
I am looking forward to an absolutely stellar Music Festival this year. I think you will enjoy the diversity of music and some of the changes that have been made. Have a great spring.


Tom's message from the March 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I hope many of you had the opportunity to attend the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival held at Sacramento State University on Feb 11th. If you did, you would have been entertained by some exceptional “next generation” talent. Yvonne Au, with an exceptional group of clinicians and volunteers, really pulled out all the stops to put on a great festival and a wonderful training experience. I personally was amazing by the talent of these young folks at all levels. Congratulations to the musicians that won awards for their performances.

The Jazz Sunday concert at the Dante was also absolutely great. What’s not to like when Bob Draga, Eddie Erickson, Jason Wanner and Gordon Au get together. The house was packed for this concert; what a great way to get into the swing of things for 2012. We have much more great music, and you do not want to miss Dave Bennett on March 11th. Also, don’t forget to turn you clocks ahead the night before.

BIG NEWS: After many years at the same location in West Sac., the STJS Office is now planning to move! Our new location will be 106 K Street, Suite #1 in Old Sacramento (between Front St. and Firehouse Alley, not far from Firehouse Lot). We are hoping to be fully operational at this location by the end of March. This is a great opportunity for us to relocate right where the Music Festival is taking place, and to be part of the Old Sacramento scene. The merchants in Old Sac are very excited to have us there. It also provides us the opportunity to have other events during the year. Please come visit us at our new location and share our excitement. (See map below.) [Official address is 106 K Street, Suite #1; Sacramento, CA 95814. The new phone number is 916-444-2004.]

The 2012 Sacramento Music Festival is now moving along at a blistering pace. There will be many surprises this year, so you will not want to miss this one. STJS members can still buy All-Events tickets for $95. We have been tracking some of the pre-sales, and there are folks coming from as far away as Australia. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy the festivities.


Tom's message from the February 2012
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

First of all, I would like to thank all the members and volunteers that generously opened their wallets for our end-of-year giving campaign, “39 Going on 40.” To date we raised over $8000. This support really helps the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society achieve the goals of all its programs. With many of the music festivals failing, your donations will help keep ours going. Thank You for all your support.

If you are looking for a really fun day and some great music from next generation bands, then make sure you attend the 7th annual Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival (TJYBF) held at Sacramento State University on Saturday, Feb. 11th, 2012. This festival features some really fine musicians in all age groups. For $10 you can listen to music all day and see some teaching in action, with a fine group of clinicians helping this young talent improve. Advance tickets are $10; $12 at the door. Visit the youth band festival website for much more information.

The Sacramento Music Festival “early bird” ticket sale is over. Everyone that purchased their tickets early, you really got a fantastic deal. There are not many places that you can go to see 4 days of hot music for only $90. This year there will be fantastic music, fantastic food and another great event. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to attend this event. You can get all the latest information at

Feb. 12th Jazz Sunday is one not to be missed. John Allred cancelled in mid-January, so instead we present the fabulous music of four all-star clinicians in town for the TJYBF: Bob DRAGA (cl); Eddie ERICKSON (gtr/bnj); Gordon AU (tpt); and Jason WANNER (p). They always put on a great show!
Now a little bit in the “what we are working on” column. We are working with our friends at Raley Field to do a Jazz type day before the festival. Although this is not completely inked yet, it looks as if we may have a baseball game to attend that will have music. More details will follow as we finalize this strategic partnership.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone the best for 2012. I hope this is an absolutely fantastic year.


Tom's message from the December 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

How quickly this year has sped by. It seems as though it was only yesterday when we were taking down the tents of the 2011 festival. We are in the midst of the holiday season that started on 11/11/11 with Veterans Day. I think that it is fitting to thank all the veterans for their service. Thank you for keeping our country safe.

By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will be just a memory. Hope it was great for everyone and that we all gave thanks for all that we have. My wife says that if you eat in celebration, it’s actually negative calories; I sure hope she’s right.

Don’t forget that Mr. Tom Rigney & Flambeau are performing at the Dante Club on Dec 11th. Last year, the place filled to capacity, so please come early. The doors open at 11:30 am. For this concert we raised the price just slightly. This is still a real value at $10 for members ($15 for non-members).

In the last few years, we have done a fund drive in Dec. This year is no different. You may be getting a letter from the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society asking for a donation. STJS is funded in part through the donations of our membership and others that have enjoyed the music that this organization provides. So I am asking that you open your wallets to the tune of $40. This is significant because we are only a little over a year from delivering 40 years of music to Sacramento. This is a big milestone. So please contribute to this program, or the Boosters or Patrons program, to help us make our 40th year great.

Also in January is the STJS yearly Crab Feed. You won’t want to miss this event as it will feature Dr. Bach & the Jazz Practitioners. I have always enjoyed the endless amounts of crab, salads and great music. I have also been able to procure some great items from the silent auction. This is one way to dispose of those Christmas gifts that are not quite what you wanted. Call the jazz office for any donations to the auction. Mark Saturday, Jan. 28th on your calendar. (See page 4.)
Well that’s a wrap for 2011. I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a great 2012. Have a wonderful holiday season and don’t forget the “negative calories.”


Tom's message from the November 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It has been an interesting month at the STJS Office. Planning for the 2012 Sac. Music Festival is moving along at a unbelievable pace. Vivian, our executive director, has done an excellent job managing our organization and the music festival. Thank you to all of you that filled out the form of your “Top 10 Festival Favorites.” I have read every one of them, and your suggestions for bands and musicians will be considered in making our decisions. We cannot bring all the bands you wish to see every year, but many of your favorites will be there.

We are working with a company called EventBrite for online ticketing as we are now in the 21st century. This company provides the ability to purchase tickets from, then send them direct to your e-mail. You print the tickets at home and take them to one of our six Admission Sales locations to exchange for a badge or wrist band. They also give us the capability to use social media to publicize our event—a great addition to our modernization effort.

You may have also noticed last month that the Early Bird Discount tickets are on sale. The All-Events badge for members is still only $85. You cannot beat seeing four days of great music for this unbelievable price. (But wait there’s more...) Early purchase enters you into a prize drawing to win four days in a luxury suite at the Holiday Inn, plus $100 in festival food and beverage tickets. Last year’s winner, Mary Reilly, wrote: “As the winner of the Early Bird prize, I want to thank you for a fantastic four days at the Holiday Inn. The suite with a great view of the river and tower bridge was magnificent, and it was a great location for enjoying all that great jazz!”

We have also changed the age for Youth badges to be more family friendly. In previous years, a badge was needed for anyone age 7–20 yr. This year, we have revised that age range to 13–21 yr., so anyone age 12 or younger is admitted FREE —yes, I said free. Hopefully this policy will encourage families to come to the festival. Early Bird Youth badges are $45.

The decision to move our warehouse (as a cost-saving measure) gave us the opportunity to do some house cleaning. We were fortunate to come across a great moving company. If you plan to move, consider using A Better Moving Company; they are professional, fast, meticulous, and priced right. I want to personally thank Steve, Jason, James, Jeremy, Jeff, Joshua, Marcus, Haywood, John, Robert, Daniel, Ken, and Mario for all the hard work. We also appreciate all the work that our Warehouse and Construction Crew has done over the years to build out the festival and our other events. We’re always looking for great volunteers if any of you are interested.


Tom's message from the October 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The definition of insanity if doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That has been the legacy of the Sacramento Jazz Festival, now the Sacramento Music Festival. Over the last several years, many jazz festivals in the West have closed their doors because the revenue simply was not there. Our festival has been plagued by lower attendance as well. I am happy to announce that with the new name, there has been a renewal and excitement within the Sacramento Community, which we believe will equate to real dollars in sponsorships and increased attendance. Our recent press release has had positive results if the calls to the office are any indication. It is my hope that the 2012 Festival will have higher attendance and increased revenues. Ultimately, a successful festival will help bring success to STJS with all of its programs.

The fans that attend the Sacramento Music Festival this year will experience much of the old, but also some new and diversified talent. Over the years, this festival has brought new talent for our patrons to enjoy and, perhaps, even help new artists launch their careers. We intend to continue to do that. To give you a little preview of the 2012 Music Festival, we are announcing a preliminary list of invited bands (in alphabetical order):
101st Army Dixieland Band, Brady McKay & the Neurotypicals, High Sierra, Night Blooming Jazzmen, Original Wildcat Jass Band, the Reynolds Brothers, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Uptown Lowdown, and guest artist Bob Draga. Many more to come... and the schedule is subject to change if musicians can’t make it.

I want to thank all of you that supported me in the Race for the Arts. I was able to raise money for the Society thanks to the generous donations of several members. Some have requested that they remain anonymous, so I will not mention their names here, but you know who you are. A big Thank You.

Fundraising is always an important aspect to any non-profit organization. The money that our Sponsors give to us is vital to the health of STJS. Our major sponsor, The Golden One Credit Union, has given us really stellar support over the years, and they are much appreciated. So, if any of you are looking for financial services, please consider The Golden One. Along the line of sponsorships, we are bringing on a sponsorship development person. Please extend a warm welcome to Valerie Weinberg. Valerie has extensive experience in sponsorship development, and I expect we will see additional sponsorships coming to our organization very soon. Thank You, Valerie, for joining our team


Tom's message from the September 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Last month I let everyone know that Greg Willett stepped down as the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s Executive Director. I am delighted to report to you that our Business Manager, Vivian Abraham, has offered to hold that position on an interim basis. Without missing a beat, Vivian is very busy planning our 2012 event. We are starting to book the talent, and making the changes that are necessary for this organization to stay solvent.

Now for the really big news. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Board of Directors, in a historic decision, voted to change the name of the “Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee” to the “Sacramento Music Festival.” This decision was made for several reasons. Currently, the Festival provides many forms of music. At the festival in recent years, we have had blues, R&B, Western swing, zydeco, Latin, as well as traditional jazz. The new name gives us the opportunity to attract an audience that enjoys all types of music but thinks our festival is only traditional jazz. Once at the event, they will have the opportunity to experience Trad, and some—I am sure—will realize that they like this genre of music. The name change will also give us the ability to attract new sponsors and bring new money into our organization. With increased revenue, we can bring in more of the talent that all of you have been asking for. This is all very positive for STJS.

Unfortunately, the Orange Co. Classic Jazz Festival held its final event last month due to rising costs, and declining revenue and sponsorships. It is sad to see yet another trad festival go away, but it’s a reminder of how much is required to present such events: time, energy, money, and hard work by dedicated staff and volunteers. We applaud them for 12 great festivals.

In August, both the adult and youth Trad. Jazz Camps were held at Sly Park. This was a great experience for the next generation of musicians to learn jazz. Many of these musicians will have the opportunity to play at the “Sacramento Music Festival.” I appreciate all the Camp faculty and staff, and the campers for attending this special event, and the camp counselors (former campers) for helping at camp and also performing a set at the Youth Camp Concert on Aug. 13.

There is still time to support this organization with the annual community fundraiser, Race for the Arts. You can support the organization and your favorite walker/runner by making pledges and submitting donations up until Sept 30th. Get more info at <>. If you do not have a favorite walker/runner, you can support me. I took part in this run/walk that took place on Aug 27th.

Tom's message from the August 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The first part of this article is difficult to write. I regret to inform you that Greg Willett, Executive Director of STJS, has submitted his resignation and will have stepped down by the time you read this. Greg has done a fantastic job over the last year of stepping into this role and moving both the Society—and especially the festival—to another level. Greg, in this position, has put in literally hundreds of hours working on building the sponsorship program and keeping the Jazz Society afloat through 2011. I have enjoyed very much working with you, Greg, and I congratulate you on your future endeavors. You have left very big shoes to fill. Thanks for your time with STJS. You will be missed.

It is with much sadness that I inform you of the passing of Joan Needham after her bout with cancer. Joan was a longtime member and volunteer for STJS and the Jazz Festival. Joan, and husband Hal, handled the Jubilee “Special Projects” for many years. Joan took care of anything to do with the Emperors, the Hall of Fame candidates, and the coordination of the parade reviewing stand. She was passionate and a perfectionist. Hal and Joan also assisted in proofing the Festival schedule and made sure all was correct before it was submitted to the printer. Of course, she also was a very active President’s wife. She loved the STJS and was always willing to step up and do any job that needed to be done.

In 1985 the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society launched an endeavor to promote classic American Jazz to young jazz musicians. I am speaking about the STJS Trad. Jazz Camps. In 1985, the camp (located in Sly Park) was only for the young musicians. It was expanded to also include a week for adults. The Camps, adult and youth, started on July 31 of this year and go until August 13. This great event will be followed by the Youth Camp Concert on Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Dante Club. This gives anyone who attends a great perspective on how these young musicians have progressed in their music education.

I want to thank all the members who have stepped up to volunteer for STJS projects. I truly appreciate your help. We certainly need additional volunteers, so if you wish to help out with some of our projects, or just want to give of your time to the organization, please contact me. Below, note that I have set up a special email address for your responses, so please email me at or call the STJS Office.

Tom's message from the July 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The 2011 Jazz Festival & Jubilee is in the books. Who called for the rain on Saturday, anyway? As the clouds started building on Saturday afternoon, I was hoping that we did not get a downpour that would ruin this great event, but the rain did come. Except for some inconvenience, the bands continued to play, and we all endured. The festival continued through the weekend and became quite successful. The final numbers are not in yet, but I will expect that we will have done okay, rain and all.

This year, I received many compliments on the quality of the sound, the selection of talent, and how organized the festival seemed to be. I can take absolutely NO credit for that. There are so many folks to thank that I am sure I will forget some, so I apologize in advance. I want to first and foremost thank Mr. Greg Willett, whose long hours of work really paid off. You did a great job, Greg! Next, I would like to thank our outstanding office staff, consisting of Vivian Abraham and Jennifer Colindres. You certainly achieve the impossible, year after year. The Operations Team of Grif Alm, Dennis Grimes, Bob Harries, Bob Mattingly, Crawford Paton, David Lambros, Kathleen Kelly, and Vivian Abraham really stepped up. Many of them took on new positions this year and executed flawlessly. Nancy Giffin also deserves thanks for her photos, videos, and hard work on the website, e-blasts, newsletter, Facebook and other things that project the STJS image to all of the festivals customers. Thanks to Jim Casseli for working on our “go to market” strategy. Thanks to Scott Kaufman for running another exuberant Swing Dance Contest! And thanks to the 2000 volunteers and managers that spent hundreds of hours planning and executing the tasks of their respective committees. You all are fantastic!

Following the festival every year, we have our annual BOARD ELECTIONS. I appreciate all who took the time to come and vote for their chosen candidates. We had an exceptional pool of applicants, but only a few can come out victorious. Ron Swehla, the incumbent, was elected as Secretary. The newly elected musician members are: incumbent Paula Dula, Jay Paulus, and Gary Reynolds. Non-musician members are incumbent Yvonne Au, and Carol Fusaro. Welcome to all new board members; thank you for volunteering to serve.

For the last few months, we have asked for volunteers to assist with both society and festival-related projects in the office. I am disappointed to say that no one has offered to assist us with these projects. So again we ask for volunteers that are willing to devote a little of their time on the weekends or evenings. We would love to hear from you. Thanks!


Tom's message from the June 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Most likely when you read this, the 2011 festival will be just another great memory. As I am writing this, the festival has not yet occurred, so I am hoping for great weather and the greatest and most successful event we have had in years. There will be more information on how successful we were in future issues, so stay tuned.

At the Jazz Sunday meeting in June, we will be electing some new members to the board of directors. We have the best field of candidates that we have had in years thanks to the efforts of the Election Committee. Whether you win or lose, I applaud all the candidates for taking the initiative to throw your hat in the ring, writing a candidate statement and supporting this fine organization. If you are successful in this endeavor, you will have the distinguished pleasure to serve on some strategic committees and help the organization develop its go-forward plan. Everyone please get out there and vote for the candidate that you feel will best represent the Jazz Society.

STJS Trad. Jazz Camp

Registration is open for both the youth and adult STJS Trad. Jazz Camps. Improve your skills as traditional jazz musicians or take the next step to “pro.” If you were not aware of these programs, please check out <>
Curtis Brengle (from the Side Street Strutters) will be teaching piano at both camps (in place of Bob Phillips), along with Jason Wanner. The only difference between the two faculties is on banjo/guitar: Katie Cavera at Adult Camp; Eddie Erickson at Youth Camp.

Youth Camp only needs 2 banjo/guitarists, and one singer, while Adult Camp has room on every instrument. The faculty is so great—so friendly, so willing to work with people, and so much fun to jam with. For one week in the Sierras—with your music friends AND The Professors—$800 is really a value.

  At the conclusion of both camps, there is a concert. I know you will enjoy seeing how these musicians of all ages have progressed. YOUTH CAMP CONCERT: Aug 13, noon-4pm at the Dante Club. It features the 2011 youth camp bands as well as their faculty. $7 donation requested.
ADULT CAMP CONCERT: Aug 5, 7-10pm at Sly Park.
We have re-instituted the “Jazz in the Park” concert series. Please keep your eye on the website and this newsletter for specific dates and locations. This program was very well received last year. It provides traditional jazz music in the park in many of the different areas of the city—perhaps in a park near you. And you can’t beat the price; it’s “free."


Tom's message from the May 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The 2011 Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee is once again upon us. Can you believe that it’s 38 years since this event started? How time flies when you’re having fun—and fun it will be! The tag line says,“It’s party time!” From the opening parade to the closing ceremonies, the talent that we have for you is nothing but outstanding. Don’t forget about all the great food and drink that will also be available, all with the atmosphere of Old Sacramento with the river boats and antique trains. Bring all your friends and make it a real party.

I personally have been attending the festival for 27 years. During that time, I’ve made some very good friends. As I was born in the Midwest, both my parents have come out for this great event. My wife volunteers; this year you will see her in the Media Trailer. My sister flies out every year to volunteer and experience the awesome music. I have been very fortunate to work as a volunteer with some great, hardworking folks. This event would not have the atmosphere that it does without the volunteers and office staff that bring this event to Sacramento.

We all have good memories from past jazz festivals. I remember when we were located at Cal Expo and the Radisson Hotel, with all the logistical nightmares it created for me as manager of the transportation system. The reward, however, was when everything worked correctly and we were able to get thousands of customers to the parade on time Friday morning. I remember standing in the pouring rain with my staff of volunteers during the years when we endured that. I recollect dealing with some of the minor injuries that come when thousands of people attend our event. I was always amazed that when the contracted buses did have a minor accident, they always collided with a Cadillac, Lincoln or Mercedes! I am sure all of you have really great stories and memories of past Jubilees.

Congratulations to Mr. Tom Rigney for being selected as this year’s emperor. Emperor at the Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee is a special fraternity, and Tom is a great choice. Tom (and his band, Flambeau) has entertained you, the Sacramento Jazz fan, for many years and been very instrumental in the success of the festival. I am sure—this year especially—he will give you a performance to remember. Be sure to take him home with you by purchasing one of his CDs.

It gives me great sadness to write about the passing of Gene Berthelsen. Gene was a past Executive Director of STJS and a personal friend. You will see remembrances of Gene during the festival this year, and I ask you all to raise a glass in celebration of his life. Thank you, Gene, from all of your friends at the Society; you will not be forgotten.


Tom's message from the April 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

As a member of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, .one of your privileges is to elect the officers and board. It is time again to start the process of identifying nominees to the upcoming board positions. You as a member of the Society play a critical role in the direction that is taken in the future. As we prepare to put candidates on the ballot for an election in June, I ask you to find out what the candidates stand for, then get out and vote. If you are interested in seeing what decisions are being made, board meetings are held once a month, usually on the last Monday of the month at 6pm. A full calendar of these meetings is at These meetings are open to the public. Please take a moment this month to make sure your membership is up to date, and vote for the nominee of your choice.

April Jazz Sunday is the last chance to receive your dis-count to the 2011 Sac. Jazz Fest. & Jubilee. These All-Event badges regularly sell for $110, but STJS members pay only $95 until April 10th. Save $15! You don’t want to pass this up. And, of course, we still have opportunities for sponsorships.

Each year STJS provides private music instruction for local elementary, middle and high school students. Jazz Education is a very important part of the mission of the Sacramento Jazz Society in giving Music Lesson Awards. Thanks to the Education Committee, Ken Stephens, Bill Dendle, and Nahum Zdybel for selecting the students that received those awards.

A great big thanks to Kathy Becker. Kathy is affectionately known as the Raffle Lady at the Jazz Sunday concerts where you all generously buy raffle tickets to fund Music Lesson Awards. Kathy has been working wounded the last few months with a broken and recovering collar bone. When you attend Jazz Sunday on April 10th, please be sure to thank Kathy and all the volunteers for their tireless efforts to make these events fun. Without the few hard working folks that put in countless hours, these events would not be possible.

The musicians that STJS has provided to the membership in March and April are outstanding. For STJS to attract talent like Allan Vaché and Dan Barrett to our stage is a credit to this organization. We can thank Chuck & Peggy Butler for sponsoring Allan Vaché’s guest appearance. Please attend our Jazz Sundays and listen to some great, top-notch talent.

STJS Trad. Jazz Camp: Time to sign up for STJS Camp!
Visit the Jazz Camp website for 2011 details:
ADULT Camp runs from July 31–Aug. 5; then
YOUTH Camp runs from Aug. 7–13. <>


Tom's message from the March 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

On February 2nd, Ground Hog Day 2011, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow and did not see his shadow. According to tradition, we’ll have an early spring. This is great news for the Sacramento Jazz Fans because in 2011, we have some stellar talent and some very hot jazz to entertain you.

I heard many positive comments about the Jan. 29 Crab Feed featuring the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band. My thanks go out to Paula Vance and Kathy Becker, who spent countless hours to make this a successful fundraiser for STJS.

The TJYBF (youth festival) was also very successful. It was wonderful to see the talent of these elementary, middle, high school and college performers learning from the best. The clinicians really know how to draw out the best from musicians at all levels, and that is the true meaning of educating. Yvonne Au and all her volunteers did a great job in giving us this event for a 6th year. If you would like to sponsor a young musician or a youth band, please contact Yvonne.

Planning for the 2011 Sac. Jazz Festival continues, and with the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil, the weather will be perfect. The music will be absolutely great as well. There will be more diversity of music than you may have seen in the past, with some new and exciting talent. Visit the website or follow us on Facebook for updates. The office staff is really working hard to provide you with interesting acts, mixing some of your old favorites with new talent not previously seen at this festival. I hope you will enjoy what we have in store for you.

Attention Festival Volunteers: Please complete the Volunteer Information Form on that can be downloaded from in the Volunteer section (lower right). Also please let your manager know if you would like to purchase a volunteer t-shirt, be available for $10. The shirt makes you recognizable as a volunteer and is a great collectable souvenir.

Finally, if you have not signed up for the SacJazz-E-News, please do so by clicking on the link found on the STJS website ( This monthly e-blast allows STJS to provide rich content that cannot be viewed in paper format. For instance: active links that you can click to receive instant access to, say, the Ground Hog Day website, or the website for Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band, or the website of Allan Vaché, our Jazz Sunday guest for March, or a YouTube video of Allan on stage with our own John Cocuzzi, etc....

Visit <>, the STJS Trad. Jazz Camp website for 2011 details: Adult Camp runs from July 31–Aug. 5; Youth Camp runs from Aug. 7–13. Sign up by April 1st.

Tom's message from the February 2011
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It is less than 4 months until the start of the 2011 Festival, ..and what an exciting time! I know most of the volunteers are engaged with their respective committees to make sure that this festival will be successful. As a volunteer myself, I know the amount of work the volunteers put into this event, so I personally want to thank every one of you.

We are asking the volunteers to fill out an updated information form so that we can use to update our data bases. Please provide us with all the necessary information by filling out the form, which you can download from the Festival website at:

The selection of talent is finalized, and you will hear more about that in the coming weeks. John Cocuzzi and the Talent Selection Committee have done an excellent job selecting the finest bands available for our event. I am sure that you will enjoy the talent they have provided. Due to time constraints, John has decided to step down as Artistic Director for the Festival. The society and I would like to thank John for his hard work in this role. John will certainly be missed.

We are still looking for sponsorships for the 2011 Festival. If you are involved with a business that would like to sponsor a venue, a golf cart, a band, or just have their name posted, please contact the office. We will also accept sponsorships from individuals.

Another upcoming event that you won’t want to miss is the 6th annual Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival (TJYBF) on Feb 12 at Sacramento State University. You can enjoy a full day of music by some great “up and coming” musicians — all for the extraordinary price of $10 in advance / $12 at the door. The entertainment starts at 8am and continues until 5:30pm. Encore performances run from 5:30–7pm. Then in the evening, starting at 7pm, you can also appreciate the music of the TJYBF Clinicians Band with 2011 Guest Clinican Bria Skonberg from New York.

The next day, Feb 13, is our monthly Jazz Sunday concert at the Dante Club. Bria Skonberg will again be featured with Bob Draga and Eddie Erickson. A weekend of music is a good way to deal with football season withdrawals. See you all there!!

The board has started planning for the 2012 Festival. In 2012, you can expect some very significant changes to our event. I am pleased with our strategy and hope you will be, as well. You will hear much more about this in the coming months, so stay tuned. This is a great time to be a member of STJS so make sure that your membership is up to date.

Tom's message from the Dec.'10/Jan.'11
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The 2011 Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee is fast approaching. Perhaps you have read about the Early Bird Discount tickets and Prize Drawing here or on the website, received the e-blast or picked up one of the printed flyers at the Sunday concert. In the office, there is an intensified focus on planning the best festival we’ve had in years. We’ve put together some of the best talent available, and I am sure that you will be excited with our selections. [More will be announced soon.]

In case you haven’t heard, the economy is still soft, and unlike the federal government, we cannot print our own money. We are constantly looking at our budget and looking for ways to do things better, but at lower cost. We cannot provide every band that people want to see every year. So I apologize if your favorite band is not included this year. However... if you have some extra money this year, or if your workplace or friends would like to sponsor that special performance, we would certainly like to talk with you. We have sponsorships at all levels from golf carts all through venues, and everything in between (and yes, even the bands).

STJS is kicking off our end-of-year fundraising campaign “Keep Jazz Alive in 2011.” If you want a great way to get a tax deduction, the Jazz Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission of promoting traditional jazz music. Your donation will be put to good use and help keep jazz alive. Mail a check or donate online at <>. Thank you for your charity.

Keep in mind all the fun activities that we have coming up. Enjoy the extra room you will have in your garage if you participate in our E-Waste Recycling Day on Dec 11th. I will see you all at the “Up Close & Personal” with Tom Hook and Bob Draga on Dec 2nd. And don’t forget the Crab Feed coming Jan 29th. Paula Vance always does a great job with this event, and it’s always a good time. You can also dispose of those unwanted Christmas gifts by giving them to her Silent Auction. Musical entertainment at the Jan. 29 Crab Feed includes Greg Willett on piano followed by the RedSkunk Jipzee Swing Band that features four of our Jazz Camp alumni. Speaking of our youth programs, we have the TJYBF coming up on Sat., Feb. 12. There’s a link to the youth band festival from our STJS Home page at if you want all the details. And of course, don’t miss the next Jazz Sunday with TOM RIGNEY & FLAMBEAU at the Dante Club Dec 14th. This will be the event of the year, and give everyone a chance to meet the 2011 Emperor.

In closing, I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and that the Holiday Season treats you well. Thanks for all your support!


Tom's message from the November 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I was in Home Depot this week and surprised to see that the Christmas displays were already in place before the middle of October. So as Roger Krum used to say, it is now 7 months and 4 days until the 2011 Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee. The planning is on track and the talent is being selected to make this better than last year—a tall order.

Most of you know that Greg Willett has taken over the role of Executive Director replacing Jill Harper. Jill has supported STJS for many years and has been instrumental in keeping the organization running and profitable. She will continue to provide her financial expertise to the Society. Thank you again, Jill, for all your hard work.

Greg Willett has been responsible for sponsorships last year and improved that program immensely. He brings a different dimension to the position of executive director (with his background in media sales) and has been tirelessly working to improve both the Society and Festival. Please come by the office and meet with Greg. He is always looking for good volunteers and ideas.

Speaking of the office, we have a new look at the Festival office. We have been busy updating our computers, installing new ones and modernizing. Our server was donated by Mike Avakian from Johnson Controls with Dennis Curry as the facilitator. I would like to thank both of them for this contribution. We also are in the midst of an office painting project. I know you will all miss the Pepto Bismol pink, but I think you will like our new colors as well. Sherwin-Williams has donated all the paint for the project, and I would like to personally thank them for their support. So if you are getting your home painted in the near future, please consider Sherwin Williams as your paint supplier. I would also like to thank our painting crew (Dave & Kathy Becker, Linda Turman, Greg Pulley, and Greg Willett) for all their hard work.

With Christmas decorations in the stores, I am once again reminded that tax time is right around the corner. So if you are looking for ways to reduce your taxes and would like to contribute to the Jazz Society, your dollars will go to a very good cause. As always thank you in advance for your support.

In the coming months, visit the Festival website <> for the latest information on what is happening with your Jazz Festival, and visit <> for information on the Society. While you are on the Festival site, you can use PayPal to purchase your Early Bird Discount tickets online. They make great stocking stuffers or even turkey stuffers.


Tom's message from the October 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

The change of seasons from summer to autumn is upon us and changes are occurring at STJS. If you attended the Desert Cities Jazz Band concert with Debby Boone and Hal Linden, all I can say is WOW! What a great concert and a fun time. Big thanks to Jim Roberson for pulling off this event and to the volunteers who gave their time to make it a success. The River Cats game was also a good, fun time at the old ballpark. Everyone who attended said we should make this an annual event. I couldn’t agree more!!

There are major changes in the Office. First, Bill Evans retired from his employment as warehouse manager effective Sept 1st. Bill spent 32 years working for the Jazz Society and has been an integral part of the festival, Jazz Camps, and the Society’s operations. Please join me in thanking Bill for his service to our organization, and wish him well in the next chapter of his life.

The Jazz Society also accepted the resignation of Jill Harper as Executive Director. Thank you, Jill, for your unfailing service to the organization! Jill has been involved with the Society for many, many years and has put her heart and soul into our organization. Jill will be available to provide assistance as our new director transitions in and she continues to manage and develop grants and programs for the Society.

Greg Willett accepted the position of Executive Director effective Oct 1, 2010, and I am excited to have him in that role. Greg has extensive experience in sales and sponsorships, and brings a new dimension to STJS and the many activities of our society. I know all of you will provide support to Greg and all the activities that he is planning. Please join me in welcoming Greg to his new position.

As I mentioned in last month’s article, we are sprucing up the office and providing upgraded technology. This gives us the capabilities to enhance our volunteer and membership databases as well as find better ways to manage our events. A big thank you to everyone who assisted me in networking the office: David Hickok, Paul Robb, Dave Becker and Mark Naber. In keeping with upgrading the office, we are looking for volunteers to assist us in painting the office as well. Please call the office to sign up, then be sure to bring your brushes, rollers and pans. You can’t beat the companionship we volunteers provide to one another!

The STJS newsletter has been arriving late or not at all for the last two months—a very serious matter related to our mass mailing service, and it will be corrected. See the related article (at left) by Felix Smith. Thank You for your patience.

Finally, you don’t want to miss Jazz Sunday in Oct. featuring RedSkunk Jipzee Swing Band. If you saw them at the Jazz Festival & Jubilee, then you know that they are a “must see.”


Tom's message from the September 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Summer is almost over, and by the time you are reading this, the Desert Cities Jazz Band concert and Sac. Jazz Night at the River Cats will also be over. I thank all of you that came out to support your Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society at both of these events. We are continuing to provide Sacramento with the Jazz in the Park series and have two concerts coming in September. The first one on Sunday, Sept 19th will feature the Vivian Lee Quartet and should be one great time. Then on Sunday Sept 26th, Nagual will provide some great Latin music. More information can be obtained by checking Come out and meet some of the board members and your president. I am always interested in your ideas on improving the Society.

The youth and adult Jazz Camps were a great success. My congratulations go out to all the students that completed that program. I hope that your experience at camp will be a catalyst that drives your music endeavors to the next level.

The board has finalized the appointment of the STJS committees, and they are all busy planning talent and events for the Jazz Sunday concerts and the Festival. Dave Becker has taken over the lead of the Membership Committee from Felix Smith. I would like to thank Felix for his contribution to STJS and look forward to his ideas to improve STJS. Dennis Curry has also taken over the lead role on the Jubilee Management Committee, and I know he will do a great job making the Festival successful. My thanks to all the committees for all your hard work.

The Jazz Society has gone green. We are working with Set It Aside <> to not only reduce the Jazz Society's carbon footprint but also generate some revenue doing it. See another article in this publication for additional information, and remember that you can read the newsletter (and find archives) online at

Our office is moving into the 21st century with the use of upgraded technology. You will notice in the coming months some exciting changes in the office. The use of technology should make us more efficient and will save money in the long run. There is also a rumor that we will be painting the office.

To all the members, volunteers and staff, thank you for supporting the Jazz Society, and for all your hard work.


Tom's message from the August 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the 37th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee was a tremendous success. By every measure you pulled off the impossible. The festival grew at a time when festivals all around the country were failing. A big thanks to the musicians, sponsors, volunteers, members and staff whose hard work made this event a reality. Planning has already started for the 38th Festival and it promises to be even better yet. Our talent committee is busy selecting the absolute best bands we can find, and I am sure that you will be pleased with their choices. Our goal is to make each and every festival unique and fresh, and of course, increase our attendance.

This year, you will see new and exciting benefits being a member of the Jazz Society, and improvements to the ones that you enjoy. Mr Ringwald has brought a stellar lineup for Jazz Sunday, including The Professors in Aug. and many more to follow. I also hope you enjoyed the concerts featuring the Jazz Camp students on July 31st and August 7th.

Don’t forget to come out to the ballpark and support STJS and your Sacramento River Cats and on Thursday, Aug 19 at Raley Field in West Sacramento. I very much value our partnership with the River Cats and thank them for their sponsorship. This will be a very fun event and I hope you can attend. See the Sacramento River Cats vs. Iowa Cubs. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the STJS Office.
It’s not too late to get your tickets for the Northern California appearance of Allen Goodman’s Desert Cities Jazz Band featuring Debby Boone and Hal Linden on August 28. This will be a fundraiser for STJS Jazz Camps. Tickets are on sale now at the jazz office or online. Advance tickets for STJS members are $40 each; tickets at the door will be $50. This is one not to miss, so purchase your tickets today and save $10. Student price is $15, so please Send-a-Student if you can; it's tax deductible.

With the new board you can expect some very exciting changes. We are working hard to improve the Society. Please provide your input by taking the 2010 Sac. Jazz Fest. & Jubilee ONLINE SURVEY. While you are on the Web, visit the STJS Home page where you can read the latest “AATJ” newsletter (in PDF format) and find some previous issues as well. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to sign-up for the E-news. These e-blasts are sent periodically with details of upcoming STJS events, and it’s a great way to get jazz information sent directly to your inbox.

We welcome your input and will strive to make this year the best the Jazz Society has ever had.

STJS President Jim Roberson

STJS President Jim Roberson
Serving June 2008 to June 2010

Jim Roberson's message from the July 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It is official. The 2010 Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee was…iwait for it…FABULOUS! I want to thank all of the volunteers, the staff, the musicians, the board of directors and our fans for making the festival a success.

This is my last message to you as president, and I particularly want to thank Gene Berthelsen and Jill Harper for serving as our executive directors and giving their all for our society during the past two years. I also want to thank past presidents Bob Williams and Vince Bartels for giving me the support I needed when I needed it.

Thanks for allowing me to serve as your president. The most satisfying moment for me was when we asked you to send us $36 to save the jazz society with Campaign 36. You sent in $43,000 that literally saved STJS and helped us make it to the 2009 Festival. Other favorites: two successful festivals… Count BasieMolly RingwaldYouth Camp’s 25th Anniversary… TJYBF (youth festival)… New LowdownRedSkunk Jipzee Swing… the Divas with Paula DulaCrab Feeds… Bob Ringwald’s great programs.

Tom Duff is your newly elected president and he is going to be great. Tom has served STJS for many years on the Jubilee Management Committee and as the go-to-guy for festival transportation and parking. Ron Jones, our new VP is a long time supporter of our youth programs. I am encouraged by the makeup of the new board of directors. Please welcome Tom and his team and give them your support.

Finally, we have turned a corner at STJS and we have done it by believing in what we are doing, working hard and approaching our work with a positive attitude and a lot of enthusiasm.  We do this for fun.  We can do great things when we are positive about what we do. If you believe that our society and our work are important, please show up and be part of it...all year long. And please, make it your job to be a goodwill ambassador for STJS.

Coming up August 28th at the Radisson Hotel Sacramento: the Desert Cities Jazz Band featuring three-time Grammy winner Debby Boone and TV’s Hal Linden. It all goes to support the jazz camps. Tickets are on sale now at and the STJS Office. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Thanks for everything…ALOHA! — Jim Roberson

Jim's message from the June 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Well, the 37th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival and Jubilee has come and gone, and as usual, I am writing about it before it has occurred. Since so many of my favorite bands were there, including some great new bands, I am sure I really enjoyed it. I hope it was your best festival ever and that next year will again be the best ever. If you picked up one of our fliers about the 2011 festival, you know about many of the great bands already lined up for next year. But 2010 is not over by a long shot; we have many great activities planned for the rest of 2010...

Bob Ringwald has done a great job lining up talent for our Jazz Sundays, winding up the year with Tom Rigney & Flambeau in December. July is the Parade of Bands which will be great fun. The Jazz in the Park concerts have already started and you will be able to enjoy these free concerts…two in June and two in September.

We have two big events planned for August. First, we are going out to the ball game with the River Cats on August 19th. [Refer to Jill’s column.] Then, on Sat., August 28, we are putting on a great concert to raise money for our jazz camps, and we really need your financial support. In doing so, you’ll enjoy the first Northern California appearance of the Desert Cities Jazz Band featuring Hal Linden (yes…Barney Miller…that Hal Linden) on clarinet with special guest star: three-time Grammy winner Debby Boone singing a tribute to her late mother-in-law, the great Rosemary Clooney. Everyone in this band is an all-star, and this concert is not to be missed. Tickets go on sale June 17th at the STJS Office and online at, are reasonably priced with a discount for STJS members.

Please don’t forget that Jazz Sunday on June 13th is Election Day. Our nominating committee has put forth a great slate of candidates for your consideration, and every one of these people has been an important contributor to our jazz society. You can vote absentee, and we will appreciate your votes. Be sure your membership is up to date.

Coming up on June 13th…Jazz Sunday…Bria Skonberg! Bria is a favorite at jazz festivals all over the world and teaches at our jazz camps. Don’t miss it! Why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the May 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Holy Cow! The 37th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival and Jubilee is this month, and our staff and volunteers have been working like crazy to make it fabulous. It is time for all of our jazz friends who don’t yet have their tickets to buy their tickets. It is so much nicer when you buy your tickets ahead of the festival (skip the lines), and it really helps our jazz society with the old cash flow. With our great website, it’s so easy to learn all about the festival and buy your tickets right from the website at Or if you prefer, you can call the jazz office and be well taken care of by our thoughtful staff and volunteers: (916) 372-5277, ext. 19. The website shows the music schedule for the weekend, so you can plan ahead. This will be one of our best festivals ever, and you all really need to be there or you will miss all the fun…I am serious!

Tickets are also on sale for our Thursday Night Kickoff Party at Freeway Gardens featuring two bands that are handpicked for the occasion. Buy tickets online, at the Office or at the door. Details are on the Festival website:

Bob Williams wrote eloquently two years ago about all the good things jazz music does for us, including helping us live longer. Last month, Yvonne and I were in Palm Springs visiting musician friends and had the privilege of meeting the great vocalist Herb Jeffries. Herb sang with Earl “Fatha” Hines before he became a movie star and joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra in the 40s and became the band’s best known vocalist. He recorded “Flamingo,” which sold 50 million copies—and that was when 50 million was a lot—and is closely associated with the Duke Ellington hit “Satin Doll.” Herb is 96 years old, sharp as a tack, still performing, and still has that wonderful, deep-singing voice we all remember. More jazz music please!

The dancers are “picking ‘em up and settin’ ‘em down,” and the crowds are showing their pleasure at Jazz Sunday. In March, we finally got the dance floor in the right place to properly accommodate our dancers and our other jazz aficionados, and we received some nice letters telling us how much you like the new setup. Thanks for your patience while we figured out what to do. Credit goes to Charlie Gehlbach, Judy Hendricks and our Music Committee and Sound Crew.

Coming up on May 9th…Jazz Sunday…renowned So. Cal. boogie-woogie pianist Carl Sonny Leyland—really a fun performer! Why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the April 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

We received a letter from Arnelle Sanford who lost her beloved husband, Wayne, last year. They were longtime STJS members and loved our festival. She plans to be at the jazz festival this year and bring her friends. Wayne always told Arnelle that, “JAZZ washes off the dust of every day life.” I like that and thought you would, too.

In 1984, when the STJS Foundation was formed, it seemed like STJS turned over the subject of estate planning to the Foundation and didn’t pay much attention to it anymore. In my opinion, we need to refocus our attention in this area. The STJS Foundation is narrowly focused on youth education (specifically scholarships, music lessons and the jazz camps). The scope of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is much broader, and we need financial help in all areas. We have been running our jazz society on fumes during the six years I have been here, and we need to pay our debts and get on solid ground. Yet we have not been asking our members and friends who are committed to our music and our mission to remember STJS in their estate planning.

So now we are asking. You love our music, and many of you have been involved with STJS for all of the more than 40 years we have been presenting great jazz in Sacramento. You love our mission of educating young people about traditional jazz and swing music. You have shown your love for the music and our jazz society in so many different ways, for many years. We are asking you to remember not only the STJS Foundation in your estate planning, but STJS as well. The music we represent is America’s most significant artistic legacy…please help us preserve this legacy for future generations.

It’s time to buy your tickets for the Festival if you haven’t already. BIG PARTY for the Thursday Night Kickoff Party on May 27th at Freeway Gardens! Gates open at 5pm. We’ll have two bands, starting with the soulful New Orleans rhythms of the California Honeydrops from San Francisco, followed by the Sacramento party band Aftershock. Buy tickets at the office, or you can order tickets by mail: download the order form on the festival website at and mail it with payment to the STJS Office.

Bob Ringwald has joined the board of directors in place of Bill Bua, who resigned from the board and from his positions as Music Director of the Gold Card Room and Gold Card Coordinator. Thanks for your time and service Bill, and best wishes.

Coming up in April…Jazz Sunday with renowned jazz pianist John Sheridan. Huge talent—be there! Why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the March 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

JAZZ ME! This is an exciting time of year. It is a new year and we are very active at STJS. In January, we enjoyed a wonderfully successful Crab Feed thanks to organizer Paula Vance and her crew, and in February, we were treated to a fabulous Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival at Sacramento State followed by a great Jazz Sunday event featuring jazz rascals Bob Draga, Jason Wanner and “Fast Eddie” Erickson. These guys were all involved in the youth festival and do tireless work for jazz education. Congratulations to Yvonne Au and all her musicians and volunteers.

Sad news…we lost two of our Jazz Emperors, Jake Hanna and Tom Saunders. Both of these men devoted many years to our festival. Tom will be remembered for his music and his finely tuned sense of humor. Jake was one of the world’s greatest drummers. Jake and I met when I was 18 years old, and I have written here about what a wonderful heart he had and what he did for young people. Bob, Jason and Eddie played “Amazing Grace” in an unforgettable tribute. God bless Tommy and Jake, and their families.

Better news…thank you all for keeping Roger Krum in your thoughts and prayers. Roger went through a difficult surgery and is involved in a slow recovery. Keep sending out good vibes for Roger and his family.

JAZZ ME! For most of us, it’s all about the music. I recommend a healthy dose of jazz therapy to all of our musician members…show up at Jazz Sunday and blow!

I joined STJS to make friends and play music. I had been to the adult Jazz Camp and when I moved back to California, I knew that this was the place to be to have maximum fun playing music with people I like. I also love to listen to great music, and STJS really fills the bill on that front. JAZZ ME! “A can a week is all I ask,” as they say on TV.

As your president, trying to keep this STJS boat afloat and put on a great festival takes up a lot of time and concentration doing things other than playing and listening to music, so this is a good time to remind myself and all of you, my friends, why we are involved and so committed to STJS. We love the music; we love playing it…we love listening to it…we love dancing to it. Jazz music is a totally joyful experience. A pianist friend of mine once told me, “a life without music is an incomplete life.” So, let’s all make sure we stop, smell the coffee and enjoy the music. JAZZ ME…and help make our lives complete.

Jazz Sunday in March: Frederick Hodges, renowned San Francisco jazz pianist and vocalist…why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the February 2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Happy New Year! The Holidays are over; time to focus on upcoming events for the jazz society. There is a lot of activity during the winter months. Many of you will have already attended events I can only anticipate as I write this column. For example, this coming Sunday’s Rent Party with tons of great entertainment…I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I hope I did. Also coming up (as I write this), the Crab Feed on Jan. 30, the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival on Feb. 13 at Sac State (big jam the night before), and Jazz Sunday on Feb. 14 featuring Bob Draga, Jason Wanner and Eddie Erickson…WOW! Thanks for coming to the Rent Party and Crab Feed, and I will see you at the TJYBF and February Jazz Sunday.

Congratulations to Ron and Patti Jones, Yvonne Au, Bob Draga, Jason Wanner, Shelley Denny, Steve Homan, Sister Swing, our sound crew and all the volunteers for a fabulous December fundraiser at the Sacramento Yacht Club to benefit the Youth Festival. “Up Close & Personal” was a perfect jazz evening and a huge financial success.

Time to buy your tickets for the Jazz Festival, even if you didn’t make it for the Early Bird Special. We need every member and friend of STJS to step up to the plate…early! Our committees and staff have done a wonderful job planning the festival. It is going to be a great one… Molly Ringwald…The Quebe Sisters…Loose Marbles…Emperor Bob Draga…Tom Rigney & Flambeau…Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band…Cornet Chop Suey…Louis Ford & His New Orleans Jazz Flares…Simon Stribling and the New Orleans Ale Stars…Billy Mata and Texas Tradition…High Sierra Jazz Band…Royal Society Jazz Orchestra…Tom Hook…Bria Skonberg and many more of our favorite bands and great all-stars.

Money Stuff—good news and the other kind. There is a lot of good news for our jazz society, but like always, we have some hard facts to step up to as prudent financial managers.
First the good news… the 2009 festival was an artistic and financial success. We made a profit even though our 2009 sponsorships were less than half of the 2008 level. Our revenue was just about on budget, and we cut costs in many areas. Everyone did his or her part to make it a success in this recession and deserves to be congratulated, including Gene Berthelsen and Jill Harper, all of our staff, our festival committees, our musicians, our 2,600 volunteers and our board of directors. Many arts organizations were not so fortunate.

But every silver lining has a cloud. This is a new year, this will be a different festival, and we have many challenges to overcome. The money made during our successful turnaround in 2009 went to pay old bills from 2008, leaving very little cash going forward. Then there is the economy. Despite all the happy faces on TV predicting a pending recovery, we are still in a terrible recession. Millions of people are out of work or receiving reduced pay, and millions of people on fixed incomes—hey, that’s us!—have seen their incomes drop precipitously.

We did our planning for the 2010 festival with great optimism, and we are still optimistic in many ways. After all, the festival represents really good entertainment value. Yet we are realistic in other ways. We revised our 2010 budget and we will be asking the board of directors to approve this budget at the January board meeting. We now know that we are going to be very short on sponsor support in 2010. We understand completely that many of our fine sponsors of years past are supporting people who need shelter, clothing, food and transportation.…but it creates a need for the arts, including STJS, to do things differently. Our attendance may not be what we hoped for, so we are assuming we will have to make up revenue where we can, and cut costs dramatically again. The festival will be about the same size as in the past, with our talent as good as ever. Our cost cutting will involve more the operating and administrative expenses, and focus on the year round activities of STJS.

So, we do need everyone’s support of our festival and other activities, including our youth activities and jazz camps. This is why we are asking you to please buy your festival badges early—we need the money. We will have a fundraising campaign in the next few months, and we really need everyone to respond like they did in 2008 for the $36 campaign that raised $43,000 and helped save our jazz society. This time, we will make it easier: members and friends can put their contributions on credit cards and pay a small amount each month rather than a larger amount up front.

You don’t have to wait for the campaign to begin; we‘d appreciate it if you could write your check now, in any amount, and send it in. We are asking you to help ensure a bright future for STJS and our music education activities.
Plan now on attending Jazz Sunday in February…Draga, Wanner and “Fast Eddie”—why would you want to be anywhere else? And please support the food and beverage services of the Dante Club…these folks help make it all possible.


Jim's message from the Dec.2009/Jan.2010
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

It’s the Holidays! I can’t believe it happened so fast…seems like we just finished with the jazz festival and the jazz camps.

The bands are set for the 2010 festival, and it is going to be another barnburner. Many of our longtime favorites will be there as well as some great newcomers. Molly Ringwald is returning to the festival after a long absence while she went off and wowed everyone in the movies and on television. She has a great band made up of well known Los Angeles recording artists. The Quebe Sisters are young, fabulous singin’ and fiddle-playin’ Western Swing stars from the great state of Texas. Loose Marbles is a young New Orleans street band that is white-hot on the festival circuit right now. The Statesmen of Jazz is a group comprised of world-renowned jazz stars, many of whom will be performing at our festival for the first time. Of course, we will feature our 2010 Emperor Bob Draga, as well as Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, Cornet Chop Suey, and many more of our favorite bands. As always, we will have many great all-stars to entertain our fans.

It’s that time of year when we talk about money. (I know we talk about money all year long, but this is the serious time.) Please buy your festival badges before the end of the year; it really helps our society financially, and you get great prices and a shot at the big grand prize at the Holiday Inn. Also, we need our Boosters to step up to the plate this year. The recession has taken a toll on our booster program, and now that the recession is ending—cross your fingers—we need to get things moving again. Come join us at the Crab Feed on January 31, 2010. Lots of crab to go around, a terrific silent auction and great traditional jazz music to set your toes to tappin’. This event provides needed financial support to the society and a really fun evening for our members. Finally, we need support for the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival in February. You can show your support to the TJYBF by attending the fundraiser concert, hosted by Ron and Patti Jones, on Thursday, December 3 at the Sacramento Yacht Club, and then by attending the festival itself with a bunch of your friends…this is the future folks. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can read more about these opportunities to support OKOM. You can also download the flyers from the STJS website at <>.

Thanks to you all for the recent increase in attendance at Jazz Sunday. We really need for our musicians and fans to continue actively supporting our mission by showing up for Jazz Sunday and having a great time.

I hope that many of you were able to enjoy “The President’s Own” US Marine Band when they appeared at the Memorial Auditorium in October. I know some of you who attended and enjoyed the concert. The Marine Band also performed in Grass Valley and Chico that same week. I was privileged to attend the Grass Valley concert, and it was thrilling beyond all my great expectations. I want to tell you about the most thrilling moment of all, and in the telling, offer a suggestion to the musicians who appear in our festival over the Memorial Day Weekend. As a musician, I have participated many times in the Salute to Service (where the official hymns of each branch of the armed forces are played and veterans of each branch stand to be recognized for their service to our country), but I have never stood up, because I am not a veteran. “The President’s Own” US Marine Band did it differently: Before the Salute to Service, the announcer invited veterans and the family members of veterans to stand during the playing of their particular branch’s hymn. My brother, Wayne, was killed on Iwo Jima in February 1945 while serving with the Fifth Marine Division. In Grass Valley, when the US Marine Band played the Marines’ Hymn as their final offering of the suite, every one of the band members stood up (a thrill to see), and I also stood up to honor my brother in this way for the very first time in my life. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do so. So my suggestion to our musicians who will play the Salute to Service many times next Memorial Day Weekend is to invite the family members of veterans to stand and honor their loved ones who served. I know they will appreciate it.

I want to convey to you all the best holiday wishes from the board of directors and staff of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. We are thankful for each and every one of you for the thousands of things you do all year long to support our society, our young people, and our music.

Plan now on attending Jazz Sunday in December and January…Why would you want to be anywhere else? Happy Holidays


Jim's message from the November 2009
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Summer is officially over — time for all of you traveling cats to come back to the Dante Club! Summer is great, but our attendance always suffers because our young-at-heart members are all over the world digging summer life at its best: festivals, cruises, beaches, world travel…you name it. We really miss you and want you there at Jazz Sunday; it’s not the same without you.

Come and enjoy our fall lineup; it’s going to be a “gasser,” as Satchmo would say. If you missed Oct. 11, vocalist Molly Ryan returned home with husband Dan Levinson, one of jazz music’s great reedmen. On Nov. 8, it’s our own John Cocuzzi on vibes, piano and vocals with his wonderful quartet. On Dec. 13, Scott Anthony is back singin’, pickin’ and grinnin’ with the ever-popular Golden Gate Rhythm Machine.

November will be STJS Thanks-giving Month, as we honor and give thanks to our great volunteers who put together Jazz Sunday each month. Come help us thank them all.

We’re looking forward to a full lineup of musicians in the Gold Card Room. I recently had dinner with a good friend who expressed some concerns about the fact that he and others were not getting enough opportunities to perform at Jazz Sunday. Since I joined the society, the GCR has been a source of frustration for many. We strive to keep the quality of the music high and to give all Gold Card members an opportunity to play; some months it works out better than others. Managing the room is not an easy assignment; therefore, I appreciate the time and commitment made by Edd Burhans (in the past) and Bill Bua (at present) to organize and schedule the sets month after month. However, some members think things could be done better. Your input could help. If you have constructive ideas to make it a more enjoyable experience for musicians as well as audience members in the GCR, please drop me a note at the jazz society office or send me an email at <>. I will share your views with the music committee. Most importantly, please attend and play music with us at this coming Jazz Sunday. Also…Gold Card and other musicians: Please come and enjoy yourself making music and meeting new friends in the Tailgate Room.

To our delight, Tom Duff, Chair of the Jubilee Mgmt. Comm. has joined the board of directors, replacing Don Luthringer who resigned to take care of personal and business matters. Nancy Giffin is back editing and producing the newsletter and maintaining our festival and club websites. We wish Don the very best and welcome Tom and Nancy in their new roles.

Plan now on attending Jazz Sunday in November and December — why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the October 2009
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Thanks to our vice president and artistic director John Cocuzzi for presiding over the last board meeting while Eve and I were on vacation. Several people told me John did a great job of planning and conducting the meeting. John is busy working on music selection, festival musician contracts, the budget, and a dozen other things to make our jazz society better.

More good news…this edition of And All That Jazz was edited by none other that our own Nancy Giffin; you will notice the quality for sure. Nancy has been away from the newsletter for a while, but always did such an outstanding job that she set the standard very high. We all hope to have her back on the newsletter again. When you see Nancy, tell her how much you appreciate her efforts.

Scott Kaufman is now officially at work as our marketing director, and we are planning on major improvements in the public relations and marketing areas. Hopefully we can start our festival attendance growing again.

Speaking of the festival, I can’t say much about talent selection yet, because our plans haven’t been finalized, but I will tell you that Molly Ringwald and her fabulous band are going to headline the festival for two shows on one night, and that news has a lot of us boomers really pumped!

We are now in the final stages of the budget process, thanks to the good work of Lisa Negri-Bartels, Jill Harper and John Cocuzzi, as well as Vivian Abraham, Bill Evans and others. It looks like we will survive 2009 and actually make a nice profit on the year. Thanks again to all who made the 2009 Jazz Fest a success. It looks like we have a nice head start into 2010. (That is not to say everything is hunky dory; we still need to boost the sponsorship contributions, achieve substantial Jubilee presales and booster donations, and have a big turnout for the January fundraiser.)

More money stuff…budget now for the fundraiser and the youth jazz festival. Please remember that the point is to fund the jazz society and its good works. Please don’t be shy about sending us a check if you can afford it. Even though we don’t have a specific campaign going on right now, we still have a long way to go before our society is financially healthy.

Gold Card dudes and dudettes: We really need you at Jazz Sunday. We had an acute shortage of trumpet players in September. Good things happen when you jam.

Sadly, all the news is not good this month. Eddie Metz, Jr., who is just like family to us, lost his father. Ed Metz, Sr. was a wonderful musician who was world famous and passed his musical genes on to his kids. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Eddie and his family. We also lost Eddie Higgins, one of the great jazz pianists on this planet and a perennial all-star at our festival. Eddie has been the pianist recently with Vince Bartels’ fabulous group, the Migrant Jazz Workers. His loss leaves a big hole in the music scene.

Plan now on attending Jazz Sunday in October. Why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the September 2009
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

I want to start out by paying tribute to Gene Berthelsen, our recently retired executive director. Gene hasn’t gone anywhere. He continues to chair the ever important Jubilee Talent Committee and is doing a great job in getting the lineup set for the 2010 festival. Gene has been a valuable volunteer for our jazz society for as long as we have been here. The 2009 festival was a success due in no small part to Gene’s efforts. As I said last month, many people have called the 2009 festival “one of the best ever.” When you next see Gene, thank him for his dedication and service, and wish him the very best. He has my respect and gratitude for a job well done.

I just this moment received an email from Carl Warmdahl letting me know that the August Jazz Sunday had the best attendance of the year and that the bar did very well. Cheers!!! And a huge thanks to members, musicians, volunteers and everyone else who helped make the August Jazz Sunday a success.

We have many changes at STJS with a ton of accompanying positive energy to tell you about.

Jill Harper has stepped in as our interim executive director. Jill is a founding member of STJS and has served as President, Executive Director and everything else over the past forty years. Jill’s great work on the budget helped move the jazz society forward last year. She knows the numbers and is uniquely suited to take over the operating management of STJS until we set forth a permanent solution for the society.

We have asked Scott Kaufman to serve as Marketing Director, a new position, and he has agreed. Scott has been a valuable board member for several years and maintains our Jubilee website. He is the owner of Midtown Stomp and is very involved in the swing dance world. Scott also chairs our new club marketing committee, which is moving forward on promoting all of our club activities such as Jazz Sunday, the Jazz Camps, Concerts in the Park, the Crab Feed and other events. He has great people on his committee and great ideas for promoting the festival and STJS.

John Cocuzzi, our vice president, has agreed to serve in the (as yet unofficial) position of Artistic Director. He will pick up the duties related to artist relations, including contracts. John is an internationally respected jazz artist and brings a wealth of national and international jazz festival experience to our society. He currently serves on the Jubilee Talent Committee and the Jubilee Management Committee, and knows just about everyone in the business.

Tom Duff is the new chair of the Jubilee Management Committee. Tom has been a dedicated volunteer for more than 25 years. Tom has managed our transportation activities for many years and is responsible for the festival buses being reliable. He is an employee of H-P and has been instrumental in the donation of several computers to STJS over the years. He is currently working closely with the Mayor’s Office in connection with the City’s support of the arts, including our festival.

Linda Cousins, who has done such a great job of managing our bars and food vendors, has stepped down as chairperson, but continues on the management committee. Linda really answered the call at the 2009 Jubilee and produced more income for the event with fewer bars than the previous year.

Dennis Curry, our long time sound guru and newly inducted Hall of Fame Volunteer, continues to serve on our management committee. Dennis arranged sponsorship for four local blues bands at the festival this year and organized a special all-day blues event at Turntable Junction that provided support for the Homeless Connect organization. Mayor Kevin Johnson attended that event, made encouraging comments about our organization, and pledged to support our jazz festival.

Finally, we have engaged Greg Willett to handle Sponsor Relations for the club. Greg has been associated with the club and the festival for many years, and is a member of the Public Relations Committee. His background is in television marketing, and he brings a wealth of experience and capability to our society. This is a very important position. Our sponsorship revenues dropped significantly with the onset of the recession, and we must get these revenues back up to be successful over the long-term.

The STJS Office and the Dante Club have been vibrating with positive energy. August Jazz Sunday had a great turnout. For the past forty years, we have been the “can-do” jazz society; we have survived all those years and still offer a fresh, vibrant jazz festival that is world renowned. And we still serve our members well. Now we need to make the big turn and bring up our festival attendance, our membership and our Jazz Sunday attendance.

Speaking of positive energy, the jazz camps for our young musicians and our older young musicians are over for another year, and what a success the camps were. Jill Harper, my wife Yvonne and I made it up to the dress rehearsal for the youth camp concert (grandkids in tow), and we were blown away by the talent and the performances. My wife and I attended the Adult Jazz Camp Concert last Saturday night, and what a wonderful evening that was. In case you don’t know, tickets are sold for the adult camp concert, and all of the proceeds go to support Sly Park. We are grateful to the people who make camp happen every year, including the wonderful jazz faculty, all the volunteers, Camp Director Bill Dendle and Facilities Manager Bill Evans, and the STJS Foundation, which provides scholarships and financial support.


Jim's message from the August 2009
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Congratulations to Bob and Adele Ringwald who just became grandparents to new twins.  Congrats also to Molly and Panio since they are the main cast members here.  In addition to her acting duties, Molly is singing a lot lately and has her own band in the Southland.  She was featured at several Jubilees over the years and is much loved by our members and fans.

The July Jazz Sunday Parade of Bands was great fun.  I was fortunate to play drums with Charlies’ Devils (yes…two of them…Charlies’zzzz?), co-led by Charlie Gelbach and Charlie Hull in the first set in the Gold Card Room.  Sugar Willie stood up and sang Ace in the Hole and John Wilder put on a banjo extravaganza with the Alabama Jubilee.  Jay Paulus and Scotty Harper rounded out the group.

Other groups in the gold card room included The Vivian Lee Sextet (Vivian was fabulous as usual), the Jay Paulus Society Band (a fairly new band that swings like crazy), the Porcupine Ragtime Ensemble and Bua’s Boys (and Girls) featuring everybody’s favorite pussycat, Bill Bua, along with Bob Ringwald, Alan Ginter and Barry Eldridge backing four of our fine Gold Card singers, Wally Hawkins, Harry Duvall (of Four Lads fame), Christine Rowe and Paula Dula.

Sister Swing was very swinging on the main stage…great band including Otis Mourning, Steve Wall, Mickey Bennett and Ron Jones.  Other groups on the main stage included the Rio Americano HS Trad Band, The Beth Duncan Quintet with Festival All Star Steve Homan on guitar, Renard’s Renegades featuring most of the bad boys in the Jazz Society (Reynard Perry, Bob Ringwald, Dutch Deutsch, Gary Reynolds, Tom Lopes, Ralph Thompson and Joey “bat-a-boom” Ventittelli).  The Au Brothers, Brandon and Justin, finished the day on the main stage, featuring, as always, a great group of young musicians including Pete Aagran, Nahum Zdybel, Matt Robinson, Dinos San Pedro and Polly Edgerton.

Here is a problem I never thought I would be writing about…we are not drinking enough!  Last year we started paying rent to the Dante Club.  In the past, the bar revenues supported the activity for the Dante Club and we didn’t have to pay rent.  Now, with attendance down and the economy in the dumper, the bar revenues have really dropped off for the Dante Club.  We have already lost the food service because we did not patronize the buffet enough.  We have to do a better job of feeding the kitty or I am afraid that next year the rent is going to go up a lot.  Please don’t tell the betta half that I told you to drink more.  However, if you have a few extra bucks, spending it at the bar of the Dante Club will help our jazz society.  Please don’t bring your own from home.  The Dante Club supports us and we need to support them back.

Did I mention our attendance has been dropping?  All of you who aren’t coming to Jazz Sunday need to remember how much fun it is and come join us again.  Nobody likes the cost, but it is about the cost of a movie and you get a full day’s worth of great jazz music.  We wish we could do it for free, but we can’t.  So come on out and support great jazz…we will leave a light on for you.  We also need the Gold Card musicians out in force to support our music at Second Sunday Jazz.  Making music with your friends is great fun…why aren’t you here?

Jazz Camp is getting ready to start, and we are grateful to the people who make it happen, including Camp Director Bill Dendle and Facilities Manager Bill Evans.  If you haven’t been there, it is a well oiled machine.  The Professors (faculty) are’s a who’s who of traditional jazz and swing professionals.  If you get a chance, please turn out for the youth camp concert at the Dante Club in August, or visit Sly Park for the adult concert…you can breathe some clean air and hear some great jazz. 

All the busy beavers are already getting ready for the 37th annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.  Planning is underway by several key committees.  If you were wondering if we could ever match the Basie Concert, hold onto your hats.  Gene Berthelsen is negotiating the talent for the Thursday night concert, and it is going to be great. 

Plan now on attending the 37th Jazz Festival…Why would you want to be anywhere else?


Jim's message from the July 2009
"And All That Jazz" (STJS monthly newsletter)

Good one!
Congratulations to our musicians, volunteers and staff for a successful Jubilee/JazzFest. Many comments have been received that this was one of the very best jazz festivals ever and that it reminded folks of the old days. Spirits seemed very high and the venues were pretty full all of the time. It is too early to talk about numbers, but it appears our revenues were just a hair below budget and the 2008 level, and, considering the lousy state of the economy, we are pleased with that. We cut our costs significantly, and that should serve us well as we wrap up the numbers and prepare for the future. Many festivals are being cancelled this year, or are folding their tents, so this successful festival was no small achievement by all the people involved.

The Count Basie Orchestra concert was a wall-to-wall sellout and the band was wonderful. The concert was broadcast live by Capital Public Radio and streamed live on their website. I want to give credit to Vince Bartels for the original idea of presenting the Basie concert and to Jill Harper and the talent selection committee for the ideas of putting it on Thursday night and giving really good prices to young musicians, members, volunteers and Jubilee musicians. We had a boatload of young musicians at the concert, and that is part of our mission.

Upward and onward…as we are trying to wrap up the details of the 2009 festival, we are already formulating ideas for next year. Last Saturday we held a board retreat attended for part of the day by staff and volunteers, and many good ideas came out of this get-together. All of you are invited to let us know how to improve the festival and the jazz society. Please write to us or catch board members, staff and volunteers at Jazz Sunday, and give us your thoughts as to how we can make things better.

As I watched Jake Hanna at the JazzFest, I enjoyed going over in my mind what a wonderful generous person Jake is. Here is a true story that I often tell people but have never written about. In the spring of 1963, I was a senior at Sparks High School near Reno. Jake was with the Woody Herman Orchestra appearing at Harrah’s Club in Reno, and I was downtown every night digging Jake and the band. I started having coffee with Jake and enjoying his willingness to spend time talking with a young drummer. One night I mentioned how cool it would be to have the Woody Herman Orchestra play for my high school graduation party at the Hidden Valley Country Club (how stupid is that?). Believe it or not, Jake made it happen. Jake talked to Woody, who talked to Bill Harrah, and Harrah’s Club put the band on a bus and sent them over to play two sets at my graduation party…for free. Bill Harrah was always trying to do things for young people in Reno. Well…that evening is still talked about by my classmates 40 years later. Thirty years later in Hilton Head Island South Carolina, I asked Jake if he remembered the event. He said, “I remember we did something for the kids”. That’s Jake.

I’ll see you at next year’s festival…our 37th…it will be the best one ever

Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Jim's message from the
June 2009 "And All That Jazz"

Here we GO!
It is May 19th…I am playing drums tomorrow with Dr. Bach at a promotional concert downtown…the Basie concert is in two days…and the Sacramento JazzFest/Jazz Jubilee…starts in three days.  By the time you read this, we will know how it all turned out. But right now I have my fingers crossed and am hoping and praying for the best.  I want…no rain…no swine flu scare…a break in the recession…and boatloads of music and party lovers.  

Our volunteers are so upbeat and full of energy that we cannot do anything but succeed…I have never seen so many optimistic and energetic people in one place as I saw at the Jubilee managers’ meeting a couple of weeks ago. Congrats to Gene and Vivian and all our volunteer leaders. There are so many volunteers that work so hard to pull this festival off.  I wrote last month about what a great job the talent selection committee did for this festival.  Artistically, this is one of the best Jubilees ever. 

The Basie concert is about 70% sold as I write this and we hope the last two days orders and the door sales will fill the hall.  Our Hall of Fame volunteers deserve a full house at this event in their honor. There will be a lot (bunch??? herd???) of young musicians at the concert and that is a bulls eye with respect to our mission. I know from personal experience that these young people will never ever forget the concert where they were privileged to hear the legendary Count Basie Orchestra

The Jubilee pre-sales don’t tell us a lot.  We are behind last year in the main pre-sales category, but ahead in group sales.  We have some new groups this year, like the City and County employees, the Rotary Clubs and the Mid-town Stomp members and friends.  We really need a great daily turnout this year. All the meteorologists (weather people) say we are going to have fabulous weather…that is one key to our success. 

Thanks to everyone for everything!!
Remember to vote in the June election.
I hope you had the time of your life at the 2009 JazzFest.
Here’s to next year’s festival…our 37th…it will be the best one ever.

Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Jim's message from the
May 2009 "And All That Jazz"

Here we are about to present our 36th annual Jubilee. I can’t help but think of last summer when things looked mighty grim financially. We asked you all to help out and you did...and we got through the dog days. But not without the help of our staff who made personal sacrifices so that we could keep on keeping on. We are not out of the woods will take a really successful Jazz Festival to make that happen...but good things keep happening because of all of the super people who make up our organization and their resourcefulness.

One final pitch before the festival...please plan to attend and urge your friends to come along. Also, please join us at the Count Basie concert and honor our Hall of Fame volunteers. These folk have served us all well for so many years and they deserve our tribute...and what could be better than an evening of music and dancing with your long-time friends?

It is going to be a wonderful festival, with lots of something for everyone. We are presenting the best Trad and Swing bands in the country for those who really dig it, plus great Blues...Zydeco...Mainstream jazz...Latin jazz...Western Swing...even Gospel, Gypsy, patriotic music and choral music. We have a boatload of jazz legends in our group of featured performers. The dancers are going to swing their tails off and the big band fans will hear the very best with the Count Basie Orchestra. We are even having two evenings of dancing to a terrific rock band for our younger fans. I promise you that we will give you the best four days of music you could imagine. We have our fabulous Jubilee Talent Committee to thank for all this. Please take time to thank the members of that committee for their excellent work. They are Jill Harper, Vivien Lee, Vivian Abraham, Scott Kaufman, Ray Copeland, Vince Bartels, John Cocuzzi, Bob Ringwald, Bob Williams and Gene Berthelsen.

Remember to vote in the June election. Please...if you would like to serve on one of our committees, let me or our staff or another board member know. We can’t read minds and it is not practical for us to phone 2,600 members to ask each one which committees they would like to serve on, if any. Step right up and get in the middle of things. We need your enthusiastic help.

See you at the 36th Annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee...Jazz Fest...Jazz Festival! Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Jim's message from the
April 2009 "And All That Jazz"

It’s not your father’s Jazz Jubilee…really!

Each year, we have been making the festival more and more relevant to a broad spectrum of music fans. This year we are presenting the greatest change ever. Many of you have noticed that we have augmented our festival’s name to include “Sacramento Jazz Festival” in the title, along with retaining “Jubilee” to continue the link to our traditional jazz roots.

By now you know we are presenting the world famous Count Basie Orchestra on Thursday night, May 21, before the Festival officially opens. This is the event at which we honor our Hall of Fame Volunteers. This legendary musical organization is the most important jazz group we have ever presented at the Festival, and you really don’t want to miss it. We have made special pricing available to our members and volunteers and to young music students in Northern California.

We have more blues bands than ever before and some really special blues events. We are featuring the best among the people on the Sacramento Blues scene, including Mick Martin’s Blues Rockers, Jimmy Pailer, Rene Solis, Linda Bracamonte, Aaron King, and many more.

We have a record number of Zydeco bands lined up this year led by perennial favorite Tom Rigney and Flambeau, and also featuring the Zydeco Flames, Gator Beat, Bayou Boys, Mumbo Gumbo and the Blues Box Bayou Band.

For the first time and for our younger Rock fans of all ages, we are presenting Aftershock in a late night concert and dance at the Firehouse Lot. This is really not your father’s Jubilee!

For our Traditional Jazz and Swing fans, we have lined up some of the best bands in the country including Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, Allen Vache’s Benny Goodman Tribute, Cornet Chop Suey, Big Tiny Little, Blue Street Jazz Band, Fulton Street Jazz Band, Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, Sister Swing, Billy Mata and Texas Tradition, Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, BED, Igor’s Jazz Cowboys and many other favorites.

Finally, as always, we are featuring our fabulous All Stars, including Rebecca Kilgore, Brady McKay, Terrie Richards Alden (vocals), Warren Vache, Bria Skonberg (trumpet), Harry Allen (tenor sax), Bill Allred, John Allred, Dan Barrett, Bob Havens, Russ Phillips, (trombone), John Cocuzzi (vibes), Howard Alden, Steve Homan (guitar), Eddie Higgins, Johnny Varro (piano), Joel Forbes, Jennifer Leitham, Richard Simon (bass), Vince Bartels, Jake Hanna, Eddie Metz, Jr. (drums), Bill Dendle, Eddie Erickson (banjo), Bob Draga and Alan Vache (clarinet). What a lineup!

This is probably my final pitch for money…perhaps…no promises…before the Jubilee. Please buy your Jubilee badges and Count Basie tickets right now. Go to the phone and do it. With the economy in such terrible shape, our loyal sponsors are still supporting us, but have cut back their levels of support out of necessity. We need every single person who loves good music to attend our festival this year. The economy will come back and we want to be here presenting great music to our fans as we have done for the past 35 years. With the fabulous lineup of music we have in store, why would you want to be anywhere else on Memorial Day weekend? The price is right and the weather is going to be beautiful this year.

Second Sunday is April 5…another early one because we don’t do Jazz Sunday on Easter Sunday…and our guest artist is Los Angeles pianist Robbie Rhodes…our kind of music. Come see your friends and have a dance or two... see you there.


Jim's message from the
March 2009 "And All That Jazz"

For those of you who did not receive the newsletter well in advance of Second Sunday Jazz in February, we sincerely apologize. Second Sunday was February 8th, which is as early as Second Sunday can be... so the deadlines were tight to begin with. Certain information can’t be obtained until after the previous First Sunday Jazz. There were problems in the jazz office and at the printer that delayed the mailing just enough to cause a delivery problem. Tina Lee has moved deadlines for articles up so that we can be assured of timely delivery in the future.

We have two changes on the board of Directors.  John Cocuzzi is our new Vice President, replacing Molly Greene who has resigned to pay more attention to work and studies.  Thanks to Molly for her years of dedicated service to the Society... Molly will continue her work with our youth bands.  Shelly Burns has joined the board to fill John’s position as a musician board member.

We have enjoyed a nice run of successful events over the past month.

The Rent Party was great, as I mentioned in my last column, and that event really helped us financially.

Then came the Crab Feed, and that event was beautifully done by Paula Vance and her dedicated crew of volunteers. Catfish and the Crawdaddies did a terrific job and kept the crowd dancing, and the event made money for our jazz society. That is not a small accomplishment in these times. Our crowd was much smaller than in the previous two years, but the event was so well managed that it was a financial success... and it was a barrel of fun. Thanks to everyone who contributed treasures for the auction.

Then, one week later, came the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival... best ever... most bands ever... unbelievable group of clinicians... and fabulous performances by youth bands and alumni of youth bands. Yvonne Au and all her many volunteers deserve our thanks for the contribution they make in helping us fulfill our mission of promoting traditional jazz music and educating musicians and music lovers of all ages. Thanks and congratulations also to the adults who mentor our fine young musicians.

Finally, last Sunday, came Second Sunday Jazz, and our featured performers were Youth Festival clinicians Westy Westenhofer, Bob Draga and Fast Eddie Erickson. Everyone was well entertained by these musical lunatics who will now be incarcerated until Jubilee and our summer jazz camps, when they will be temporarily released to grace our jazz programs once again.

Every time I show up for one of our events...and I make most of them... I see the same faces. These faces are attached to bodies that are working like crazy, setting up for the event, working through the event and tearing down and putting away after the event

They get there really early and go home really late. These folks are so dedicated and they really play a major role in everything we do to fulfill our mission. They are the members of our sound crew, and they are so professional they blow my mind. I even see them at jazz festivals other than our own, helping make those jazz events successful.

Many moons ago, when our society decided to invest in our own sound equipment and use in-house technicians, Bill Bachman asked Dolores Smith to put a sound crew together. Dolores, Rich Himebauch and Norm Echols were part of that original crew and are still on the job. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the sound crew, so please take time say thanks next time you see them. Here they are... Jim Carmen, Barb Cole, Luis Colorado, Norm Echols, Judy Hendricks, Richard Himebauch, Bob Himebauch, Ross Himebauch, Mark Kramer, Frank Melendes, Gene Mondro, Rich Olsen, Crawford Paton, Dixie Phifer, Olivia Sanchez, Darleen Shepler, Dolores Smith, Dan Tompkins and Gib Wright. Some of these folks are musicians who take time away from the sound equipment to play music at Second Sunday... multi-taskers!

Second Sunday is March 8... another early one... and our guest artist is New Orleans clarinetist Tim Laughlin. You won’t want to miss it. See you there.

Jim's message from the
February 2009 "And All That Jazz"

A million thanks from our jazz society!!! Our members and friends came through again. December was a good month for Jubilee badge sales and Count Basie concert ticket sales. In fact, ticket sales for tables at the Basie concert are going so well that we are adding more tables than originally planned so we can accommodate those who prefer table seating. If you would like to reserve a table, please call the STJS office and speak with Vivian, but do it soon so you won’t be left out. The December TV appearance of the legendary Count Basie Orchestra with Tony Bennett at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular created even more interest in our May 21st concert.

Lots to talk about. Our own Vivian Abraham has been named an honorary Guardian Angel, complete with a cool beret. Vivian was instrumental in getting the Guardian Angels involved in our festival activities. How ‘bout them apples...congratulations Vivian.

Just got home from the rent party...huge success as usual, thanks to all the great bands who contributed their music and all the fans who showed up and enjoyed the day. Lot’s of young musicians, and that was fun. Good really helps our finances, which is the whole point of a rent party. Big thanks to everyone who made this day a winner, and especially to Bob Ringwald who arranges for all our great Jazz Sunday music month-in-and-month-out. The contributing big person bands were Black Tuesday, Dr. Bach, Catsnjammer, Cell Block 7, Creole Jazz Kings, Mardi Gras, Fulton Street, Avalon, Raspberry Jam Band and the Speakeazy Jazz Orchestra...all great and they all did it for free to help the jazz society. The great youth bands were TNT, Syncopating Sea-Monkeys, Razin’ the Bar, and the Joseph Kerr Middle School Jazz Band.

By the time you read this in the newsletter, the 2009 crab feed will be another great moment in history. We skip the January newsletter, so the full page ad in the December newsletter was our last chance to get you all worked up about this event. For those who attended, thank you for supporting the jazz society through this fun event. Special thanks to Catfish and the Crawdaddies for the music...and for Paula and all her fabulous volunteers...great job...again.

And last but not least...please get up off that couch or chair and get yourself to the Trad Jazz Youth Band Festival at Sacramento State on Saturday February 7 from 8AM to 5PM, and the all star concert and awards ceremony at 7PM. It is a wonderful event that is so important for our educational mission. And talk about all-stars...The clinicians are Bob Draga...Eddie Erickson...Westy Westinhofer... Ron Jones...Mike Vax...Melissa Collard...Bill Dendle...Jason Wanner...David Robinson...Lenny Pollacchi... Mike McMullen and Doug Pauly. It is the best $10 you will ever spend. Don’t forget the jam session with the young musicians and the all-stars on Friday night, February 6... see the TJYBF website for details. Thanks to all the volunteers, and particularly Yvonne Au for the great job she does bringing it all together.

In February...Bob Draga, Fast Eddie Erickson and Westy Westinhofer at Jazz Sunday... see you all there!

Jim's message from the
December 2008/January 2009 "And All That Jazz"

The new Tony Bennett album with the Count Basie Orchestra has been released and it is terrific. It’s called "A Swingin’ Christmas" and it will light up your Holidays. Amazon has it for a really good price. Our Jubilee kickoff concert on May 21, 2009 features the Basie Band and is one concert you won’t want to miss.

I have been thinking about the subject of friendship lately.

When Eve and I returned to California five years ago, one of the very first things we did was to get involved with the jazz society. My sister and brother-in-law are long time STJS volunteers and knew the ropes, so it was easy. We arrived in California in November, went to the December STJS meeting, where Jack Scott, my friend from band camp, crossed his name off the list in the Tailgate Room so that I could sit in (now there is a friend) and I auditioned for and received my gold card the following February. Why were we so anxious to join the jazz society? First, I had made friends at Adult Jazz Camp and knew these were people I wanted to associate with. Also, everywhere Eve and I have been, musicians and music people became our friends, and we still cherish those friendships. I knew that the jazz society would be the place to make friends and have barrels of fun.

There is just something about music people. Dr. Sam Atkinson was an old friend of mine in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. You could find Sam and his wife Marge at every jam session on the island. He was in his 80’s and still played fine tenor sax. He was a retired dermatologist and had practiced medicine most of his life in New York City, a circumstance that led him to become friends with many jazz legends, including Mary Lou Williams, who used to play piano for his cocktail parties. A few weeks before he died, I was visiting Sam in the hospital, and he was discoursing on his philosophy of life. He told me that when he met Marge sixty or so years earlier, he told her "if you’re going to hang out with me, you better get used to these jazz clubs". He also told me something that I know he didn’t really mean down deep (he had too many friends for that)…he said "you know the only people I ever liked were musicians". I think Sam liked lots of people, but he liked music people best.

The thing I love most about Jazz Sunday is seeing old friends and new friends and watching those friends hook up with their other old friends and new friends.

Here I am writing about money again. You, our members and friends, brought us through some very dark days and here we are preparing for the 2009 Jazz Jubilee. Gene Berthelsen, his fine staff and our great volunteers are doing a fabulous job and Jubilee 2009 will be one of the best ever. However, we are getting off to a slower start than last year with respect to our admission badge pre-sales and Booster contributions. We need you fine folks to purchase your badges and send in your Booster contributions now rather than later. There are plenty of reasons to do this…the tickets are much cheaper (last year’s prices) if purchased before December 31, 2008 plus there is the chance to win the big Jubilee weekend stay at the Holiday Inn. Most importantly, it will help our jazz society tremendously by boosting our operating cash and giving us somewhat of a read on what to expect in the way of badge and ticket sales. This is not the time to be wishy–washy about our jazz festival. We all need to commit to attend the Jubilee in 2009 so that we can preserve this great event. We hope to see you there for all of our events including the Count Basie concert on Thursday, May 21, 2009.

One other thing…I heard on CNN that listening to music you enjoy expands your blood vessels and is good for your heart…honest…from Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s lips. So come on down to the Dante Club, see your old friends and expand those blood vessels.

See you at Jazz Sunday!

Jim's message from the
November 2008 "And All That Jazz"

This not–so–modern drummer was reading Modern Drummer magazine a couple of years ago and came across an interview with Jake Hanna, one of my very favorite drummers and, of course, one of our STJS Jazz Emperors. The interviewer asked Jake "who should a young person, who wants to learn to play swing music, listen to?" "Count Basie" was Jake’s answer. The interviewer asked "who else?" Jake’s answer? "Count Basie!!"

When I was in high school, playing in a dance band and starting to listen to jazz music, the band that completely floored me was the Count Basie Orchestra. I had a 45 RPM Roulette label record of the Basie Band playing tunes I can’t remember now, and I just about wore it out. The drummer on that record was simply stupefying… I never knew who it was, but it was probably Jo Jones or Sonny Payne. I couldn’t get enough of that great music and was lucky enough to play some Basie tunes in the University of Nevada Jazz Band for a while before leaving school and going on the road.

Count Basie formed his band in 1936. The band grew out of the great Benny Moten Band. In the late 50’s and early 60’s the band became the thoroughly modern big band that it is today. First there was the "April in Paris" album…and who doesn’t have that tune in their head every time they think big band? Then the great album "This Time by Basie" on Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise, and then "First Time – the Count Meets the Duke" with both the Basie Band and the Great Duke Ellington Orchestra playing together. Neil Hefti, who just passed in October of this year, was one of the Basie Band’s fabulous arrangers in the fifties and sixties, along with Ernie Wilkins and Quincy Jones.

Do you remember that great scene in Blazing Saddles when Count Basie is leading his band in the middle of the desert playing April in Paris? Have you enjoyed the many albums the band made with Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Diane Schuur, Manhattan Transfer and other great singers?

The Count Basie Orchestra received 17 Grammies and won every major jazz poll over the years, including the Downbeat Readers’ Poll 12 times. They played royal command performances, presidential inaugurations, and many other special appearances. The band was featured with Frank Sinatra on the sound track for the Movie "Wall Street". Count Basie passed away in 1984, but the band roars on and just completed a new album with Tony Bennett, soon to be released.

So why am I telling you all this? I made you wait until the very end.


On Thursday evening, May 21, at the Radisson, the Count Basie Band headlines our kickoff concert and plays for both the concert crowd and the swing dancers. You can’t miss this unforgettable evening! This is where we will honor our Hall of Fame volunteers and we will have great discounted prices for members, volunteers, Jubilee badge holders, Jubilee musicians and students. The Count Basie Orchestra is based in New York and hasn’t played Sacramento in recent years, so this is a rare opportunity to experience the ultimate in big band jazz.

Have a great month, and come join the fun on Jazz Sunday at the Dante Club. We always have great guest artists, lively concerts/jam sessions and good vittles for a nice price.

Jim's message from the
OCTOBER 2008 "And All That Jazz"

I want to again express my gratitude, and that of the board and our staff, to all of you who have participated in our Campaign 36 fundraiser and sent in your $36 or other contribution. As of this writing, we have received more than $38,000 from our members and friends, and that money has been a blessing to our Society. It has been great to see our jazz warriors rise up and roar in unison with their checkbooks to support our mission. Thank you all! I would love to say “mission accomplished,” but we are not out of the woods yet, so if you have not made your contribution, please send it in now. I would also like to urge all of our Boosters to send your contributions in early this year. We need the money now more than later. But…enough about money!

Planning for the 2009 Jubilee is in full stride. Nearly all of the bands are set, and it is going to be a hot, swinging, jumpin’, bluesy, country, Cajun and rockin’ (yes…I said “rockin’”) four-day party. We will have the best jazz bands in the country to make us all crazy for the music, plus more Zydeco and blues bands than ever. Our young fans are going to rock the nights away, and we have a fabulous lineup of all-stars coming to the party. So, be sure to book your tickets early and take advantage of the early-bird discounts, and get in the hunt for the fabulous early-bird grand prize. All the details will be sent out shortly.

Last month, I wrote to you about our young campers and counselors and instructors. Summer is over, and many of them are back in school and/or out performing at jazz festivals. We can never get enough of their energy, their positive outlook and their fabulous music. But…enough about young people!

I am equally impressed and encouraged by our older young people…maybe even more so. Our older fans—dancers and musicians—have me convinced that jazz music is the fountain of youth. If you have been around this society for all of its forty years, perhaps you are not fooled by the seventy- and eighty-years-plus crowd that has me convinced they are all much younger. I am continually amazed when I learn the ages of some of the people I am making music with, or those fans listening and/or cutting a rug. Bob Williams wrote recently that “music makes you live longer,” and I absolutely believe it. When it comes to jazz lovers, age really is just a number.

On a chilly night last fall, rehearsal was over at 9:00pm for our local big band, and I was standing in the parking lot with our 94-year-old baritone sax player, Don Bryant, along with his wife, and a young trombone player. We were waiting for the trombone player’s dad to arrive, because the young man was not yet old enough to drive. I thought at that time about the amazing age span in our band, and how Don Bryant, at 94, is really someone to behold. He plays the biggest horn in the band and plays it well. He is a terrific arranger, and he and his wife almost never miss a rehearsal or performance of the big band or our local concert band. He would rather be out playing jazz music on a Wednesday night than doing anything else. Whether we are young or not-quite-so young, jazz music is something we seem to be able to agree on.

Have a great month, and come join the fun for kids of all ages on "Jazz Sunday" at the Dante Club.


Jim's message from the
SEPTEMBER 2008 "And All That Jazz"

My first month as your president has come to an end, and it has been a busy one. We have been meeting with downtown business people, organizing committees, working on budgets, planning venues and bands for the next Jubilee, and visiting the jazz camp at Sly Park. We have also been working with STJS staff and volunteers, trying to figure out how to keep our head above water. I say "we" because I have a lot of help.

This is a team effort, and our directors and volunteers, as well as our fine staff, are all burning the midnight oil to make us more successful. Jill Harper and Gene Berthelsen have been particularly helpful in the strategic planning area. The Jubilee Management Committee and Talent Selection Committee are already "hard at it" planning next year’s Jubilee. And what can I say about Felix Smith and Len Strickland: Felix just had surgery and is at home recovering. He has already taken the time to write and let us know that he is onboard to chair the STJS Membership Committee, with which he has done such a fabulous job in the past. Len recently underwent a heart transplant but has agreed to continue to serve our society as a board member and member of the Jubilee Planning Committee. Get well soon, gents!

Our fundraising campaign has started, and the first checks started rolling in this week. Thanks for your generosity and for caring about the jazz society. If you haven’t mailed your check yet, please do it. We don’t ask very often, but we really need your help right now, and any contribution you can afford will help ensure that we put on a great Jubilee in 2009.

Our youth Jazz Camp is finished for another year, and adult Jazz Camp is underway as I am writing this message. Jill Harper and I visited the youth camp last week to visit with our managers, instructors, counselors and the student campers. What an evening! The Professors are a major musical force, and they were swinging their tails off, as usual. The commitment of these world class professional musicians to our students, year-after-year, is really special.

A highlight of the evening was the performance by the counselors’ band. These young ladies and gentlemen are all fine musicians and great role models. As great as the counselors played, their dancing (accompanied by Pete Agraan’s drum breaks) was truly unforgettable—and I mean that in a good way. The icing on the cake was listening to the student bands. It is so much fun when you can hear them early in the week and then again at the end of the week—you'll be astonished at their musical progress. This time, we only heard them once (near the end of the week), and we were impressed. Immortality was achieved when one band played a fun tune with lyrics based on the name of our one-and-only guitar wizard counselor, Nahum Zdybel.

Have a great month, and don’t miss Jazz Sunday, whatever you do.

Jim's message from the
AUGUST 2008 "And All That Jazz"

Let me start my term as president by thanking Bob Williams for all of his good work as president over the past two years. He has graciously agreed to continue his work on behalf of the Society, just as our other past presidents have. Like all of our volunteers, these folks make our world go ‘round. It seems that everywhere I go, I run into Jubilee volunteers, including at my high school reunion in Sparks, Nevada two weeks ago. Turns out a friend I haven’t seen for many years is a Jubilee volunteer, along with her husband. The enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers is awe inspiring, and we are all grateful for them.

Bob’s last column in AATJ described who we are and what our music is about as beautifully as I have ever read. Here is a repeat of just one quote: "This music is happy and good…it is art…it gives us a chance to laugh and forget our problems for a little while, and lastly… it helps us make friends and live longer.” My first thought was that I wish we could bottle it and sell it. Then I remembered that we do bottle it and sell it at Jubilee each year and at the Dante Club every month. All of you who love traditional jazz music know the truth of what Bob wrote and know the value of preserving and perpetuating this great American art form.

The 2008 Jubilee was an artistic success, thanks to Gene Berthelsen and our staff, our sponsors, and the more than 2,500 volunteers who came together to put on the show. The increased focus on the blues and swing bands went over well, and like always, our musicians and volunteers were fabulous, and the public loved the Jubilee.

Unfortunately, it rained at Jubilee on Saturday morning, and when I looked out the window and saw the rain coming down, my heart sank. Many people make the decision to attend the Jubilee by looking out the window on Saturday morning, and we saw a big impact from that little sprinkle. We try to mitigate against such things by pre-selling badges, but the rain hurt us, and the Jubilee was not as successful financially as we had hoped. So, we need your help as we prepare for a successful 2009 Jubilee.

What does it all mean? Well, first of all, we are alive and swinging our tails off every month at the Dante Club. We will put on the Jubilee next year, and it will be great. We will do a few things differently, and I believe it will also be a financial success. But the next several months will be difficult from a cash flow standpoint. We are going to cut back to the bone on the cost side. You are going to see some fundraising activity on our part, and I hope you will joyously participate. It has been medically proven that one can smile and write a check at the same time. So I urge you all to find a way to financially support our society over the next several months. If you can write a check to the Friends of STJS for a few bucks or a hundred bucks or a few hundred bucks, it will be a worthy investment and will be appreciated (and tax deductible). If you can’t write an extra check, please come to the Dante Club and show your support by enjoying the music. Our musicians love to play to an appreciative audience more than anything.



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