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STJS Home » News » Executive Director's Message

Executive Director's
Message

 

Tom Duff, STJS Executive Director

STJS Executive Director
Tom Duff

Also see PRESIDENT's Message.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from April 2016 "And All That Jazz"

Planning continues for the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival, and if you have not purchased your tickets yet, the prices will start to rise very soon. We have planned what we believe is truly a phenomenal event. There is music for all tastes from Traditional Jazz, Blues, Zydeco, Country, Rock, Trop Rock, and much more. The Music will get you there but we will also have a great car show with some handpicked classic cars, including muscle cars and hot rods from bygone eras. We also have, for free: the four youth band stages, the CA Repercussions performing on the street, and the Sacramento Banjo Band in the trains and in the Railroad Museum. You will be admitted free to the CA State Railroad Museum with your paid Festival admission.

On May 3rd, the Sacramento Trad. Jazz Society is participating in the “Big Day of Giving.” Please help keep the Jazz Society alive with your tax deductible donation. So far this year, we have not received much in the way of donations, so I know that you are waiting for this day to give with your heart. There have been several articles written about the value of charitable giving and quality of life. It just makes you feel better. Alternately, you could just buy your Executive Director a beer at the Music Festival.

The “And All that Jazz” publication will not be the same with the resignation of Nancy Giffin. She has been producing the newsletter, sending out e-blasts and managing the STJS.org website for more years than I remember. Nancy is leaving to pursue her new job. Nancy, you will be missed, and I certainly wish you the best in your endeavors. Thank You for all the years that you spent creating our brand.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from March 2016 "And All That Jazz"

We are pressing along planning the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival. Much of our talent has been booked with more to come. We currently have contracts with:

Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Lisa Haley and the Zydekats, Zydeco Flames, High Street Jazz Band, Peter Petty, Crescent Katz, Midnight Rose Jazz Band, Stephanie Trick and Paolo Double Trio with Danny Coots and Marty Eggers, Mumbo Gumbo, On Air, Todd Morgan and the Emblems, Beth Duncan Quintet, Fulton Street Jazz Band, Joy and Madness, Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, as well as Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings. As one of our headliners, we will have jazz legend Pablo Cruise! We are working on many more as well, and you will see those on the website:
www.sacmusicfest.com

Now for the bad news: I was notified yesterday that the site known as “River Front Refuge” will not be available this year. The City of Sacramento will be starting renovation work on the bike path and boardwalk in Old Sacramento and will be using this area for equipment staging. I am in the process of looking for another location and have some other locations in mind. Rest assured, we will have an additional location for our music.

We are going to participate in the St. Patricks Day Parade in Old Sacramento again this year. The parade is March 12th at 1pm. This event is always fun, so come out and support STJS — or march with us if you feel like it.

This year, we will be participating in a Barnes and Noble book fair. If you purchase a book during the dates of March 9th though March 12th, part of the proceeds will go to STJS. On March 9th, our own TNT band will be performing 6–8 pm (with breaks) at the Barnes and Noble in Roseville.

Coming again this year is our participation in the “Big Day of Giving” (a.k.a. Big DoG). Now in our third year, we will have some lofty goals, so please participate if at all possible. Last year, the board was not involved until the very last minute, but they will be involved much earlier this year. I have plans to devote a large part of the next board meeting to “Big Day of Giving.” If you have strong feelings about their involvement, please email board@sacjazz.com and ask them to become involved in this very important fundraiser. The new Big DoG website is coming very soon, and I will send out the link to our page in a future communication.

If you did not attend the STJS Crab & Pasta Feed on Jan. 23rd, you missed an awesome event. Kathy Becker did a phenomenal job in the planning (as she does every year). This year was tough for all crab feeds with the recent scare, but everyone that attended came away with no side effects, and had plenty to eat and drink.

In closing, I’d like to thank the great volunteers. Without you, we could not do any of our events. Thank You very much!

 

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from February 2016 "And All That Jazz"

We are pressing along planning the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival. Much of our talent has been booked with more to come. We currently have contracts with: Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Lisa Haley and the Zydekats, Zydeco Flames, High Street Jazz Band, Peter Petty, Crescent Katz, Midnight Rose Jazz Band, Stephanie Trick and Paolo Double Trio with Danny Coots and Marty Eggers, Mumbo Gumbo, On Air, Todd Morgan and the Emblems, Beth Duncan Quintet, Fulton Street Jazz Band, Joy and Madness, Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings, and with Pablo Cruise as one of our headliners. We are working on many more as well, and you will see those on the website: www.sacmusicfest.com

Now for the bad news. I was notified yesterday that the site known as “River Front Refuge” will not be available this year. The City of Sacramento will be starting renovation work on the bike path and boardwalk in Old Sacramento and will be using this area for equipment staging. I am in the process of looking for another location and have some other locations in mind. Rest assured, we will have an additional location for our music.

We are going to participate in the St Patricks Day Parade in Old Sacramento again this year. The parade is March 12th at 1pm. This event is always fun, so come out and support STJS -- or march with us if you feel like it.

This year, we will be participating in a “Barnes and Noble” book fair. If you purchase a book during the dates of March 9th though March 12th, part of the proceeds will go to STJS. On March 9th, our own TNT band will be performing from 7 to 8:30 pm at the “Barnes and Noble” in Roseville.

Coming again this year is our participation in the “Big Day of Giving.” Now in our third year, we will have some lofty goals, so please participate if at all possible. Last year, the board was not involved until the very last minute, but they will be involved much earlier this year. I have plans to devote a large part of the next board meeting to “Big Day of Giving.” If you have strong feelings about their involvement, please email board@sacjazz.com and ask them to become involved in this very important fundraiser. The new big day of giving website is coming very soon, and I will send it out in a future communication.

If you did not attend the STJS Crab & Pasta Feed on Jan. 23rd, you missed an awesome event. Kathy Becker did a phenomenal job in the planning (as she does every year). This year was tough for all crab feeds with the recent scare, but everyone that attended came away with no side effects, and had plenty to eat and drink.

So in closing, I would like to thank the great volunteers. Without you, we could not do any of our events. Thank You!

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from Dec.'15/Jan.'16 "And All That Jazz"

There was an article in the Sacramento Bee November 24th with the headline, “You can tell a lot about a community’s strength and unity by how much money and time its residents are willing to give to worthy causes.” It continues to say that Sacramento ranks 33rd out of 51 of the nation’s largest metro areas. At STJS however, we are very proud of our volunteers that contribute over 28,000 hours making our festival and society successful.

In last month’s article, I asked for band sponsorships, due by Jan 1st. I received several inquiries and some commitments. Thanks for all who committed to sponsoring bands, and I hope there will be many, many more — PLEASE. I thank the band sponsors; without your support, we could not bring the great talent to Sacramento.

As I mentioned last month, the Jazz Office is moving. Our new address is 1030 N. D Street (Sacramento 95811). This location is right around the corner from our current location, and we hope to be in the new space by Dec 15th. Thanks to the many of you that assisted with this move, in particular: Dave Becker, Joe Cruz, John Tillett, and Christy Pierson. These folks were able to get this move done with minimum disruption and minimal cost.

If you find that the good Uncle Sam is taking too much of your income or investments, please think of the Sacramento Jazz Society. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so you do get a tax deduction.

Have a great Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the November 2015 "And All That Jazz"

As we enter the holiday season, it is a good time to reflect on good things in our lives, such as family and friends. So with that, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. As I am sure you are aware, calories consumed in celebration are negative calories. What a great concept. Hopefully this will be the best Thanksgiving ever.

It looks inevitable that we will be moving our office and warehouse this month as well. Our current facility has been sold, or so I am told, but this gives us the opportunity to create a facility that has more of the features that we need. There will be more on this as it happens.

Now to the festival. Planning is progressing on the 2016 festival, and we are getting ready to start booking the talent. If you have the desire to sponsor a band this year, we would love to hear from you. In order to keep our costs down and bring the best talent to Sacramento, we need any sponsorship decisions made by January 1st. You can contact me at tom@sacjazz.com or Dave at dave@sacjazz.com to discuss options. Thank You for considering sponsoring a band.

If you do not wish to sponsor a band, then may I suggest that you look to the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society to reduce your tax burden. Charitable giving is still one of the few deductions that Americans have. The Jazz Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit and could use your stimulus package.

On behalf of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, I would like to wish you an awesome Thanksgiving, even with the rain. I really hope that it rains.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the October 2015 "And All That Jazz"

How did it get to be October already? This year seems to be flying by, and very soon we will be into the holiday season. This means of course that we will need to start our end of year giving campaign. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is a 501(c)(3) organization, and as such, your donation it tax deductible. So, please consider this organization as you prepare for tax season. It is only through your donations that we exist. Thank you in advance for helping.

In the next few months, the Sacramento Jazz Society will be holding elections for board positions and changes to the by-laws. I encourage everyone to get out and vote for your candidates that will best serve the needs of the Society. I have included an article, from a non-profit foundation, describing what makes a good board member:

First of all, you must select people who share your sense of mission. If they do not care deeply about the very purpose of the organization, their value is minimal.  Secondly, they must possess a certain level of business or organizational competency.  It is not necessary for them to have prior experience as business leaders, per se, but they should understand principles of good business practices.  They should be long-game strategic thinkers.  They should be willing to give of their time and money to see the organization’s mission accomplished.  They should always understand that their role is governance, not management.  Governance establishes mission and programs, while management actively works those programs under accountability to governance.  And finally, they MUST be people of integrity. 

I don’t have to elaborate on that last point, do I? Please let us know if you have any candidates in mind.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the September 2015 "And All That Jazz"

In August, we continue the planning ..for the 2016 Sacramento Music Festival. We are making sure that everyone knows that there will, in fact, be a Festival in 2016, and that we are already selling tickets. This is the earliest that the website has ever been up and running to sell pre-sales tickets, and we have already sold a significant amount. Visit sacmusicfest.com

We have applied to some grants and are looking for sponsorships for next year’s festival. If you know of any individual or business that would like to “see their name in lights,” we would like to hear from you. All non-profits run on sponsorships and donation, and we are no different. Without these types of activities, no non-profit is sustainable.

The “Race for the Arts” occurred on Saturday, Aug. 22nd at William Land Park. I ran to the occasion, and STJS had a booth at the event, headed up by your president, Dave Becker, and wife Kathy Becker. The run generated nearly $500. for the organization.

Hopefully, September will bring some rain and ease the drought a bit, but have a great month.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the August 2015 "And All That Jazz"

August is Hot in Sacramento! Hope ..everyone is surviving the heat, lack of water, and fires. I know in Davis, with the fire at Lake Berryessa, the air is difficult to breathe.

Ken McMurray is busy planning the 3rd annual Hot Jazz Jubilee in his new location.* I wish Ken a very successful festival. The lineup looks great and I am sure everyone that attends will have a great time. (*DoubleTree by Hilton, 2001 Point West Way, Sac. 95815)

In case you have not noticed, the Sacramento Music Festival website is already up and running for 2016. Visit the website at www.sacmusicfest.com This is a first for us, and now you can purchase discounted tickets for the 2016 festival. A big thanks to Lyle Van Horn for making this happen. Last year, we had some issues getting the website updated in a timely fashion, and I am pleased that this year we will not have that issue.

The Music Festival has approximately 1700 volunteers that work the event, but we are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of projects. If you are looking for a place to volunteer, please consider the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. If you have specific interests, let us know and we would love to talk with you. Terri Van Horn is our volunteer coordinator, but you can also contact me, and we will put you to work. Volunteering is very rewarding and can certainly enhance your quality of life.

Rumor has it that I will be participating in the “Race for the Arts” this year. This annual event occurs on Saturday, August 22nd at William Land Park in Sacramento. Now in its 17th year, this event benefits arts organization all over Sacramento, and I will be running for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. If you wish to sponsor me, forms will be available at the Elks and the Jazz Office or by contacting me at tom@sacjazz.com

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the July 2015 "And All That Jazz"

Tom took a well-earned vacation this month!

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the June 2015 "And All That Jazz"

The 2015 Sacramento Music Festival is done, and I would say that it was a success. I think that the quality of music that we brought in was quite good, and everyone I talked to was having a good time. The venues were mostly filled with some exceptions. The Tower of Power concert was AWESOME, and we were almost filled to capacity. Malo was also a huge success, as was the all-star band.

Thanks to the management team of Dave Becker (your president) and Dennis Grimes. I also want to thank the talent selection folks of Todd Bibby, Julie Deter, Kat Coffey and Dave Becker. These folks put in many hours to select the best talent we could find, and stay within the budget allocated. I should also include in this list Janet Young, as she was responsible for getting the International All-Stars band to Sacramento, and the management and logistics required. Also, Janet did more than anyone else to market the festival by providing flyers at other festivals and jazz cruises.

A big thanks goes out to the new managers for: Turntable (Laurel and Larry Sanders), Supply (Bill and Mary Edna Menezes) River Front Refuge (Marsha Lee), Car Show (Stacy Cook), Concessions (Van Gordon), and the Pony Express children’s stage (Kathy Wainscott), and all the other managers of the 56 committees that make the festival run smoothly. These are the real heroes of the festival, and all put in many hours to make sure we all experienced these performances.

Thank You for letting me keep the Festival alive in 2015 and keeping STJS solvent.

[Editor’s Note: And Thank YOU, TOM, for taking on this challenge and the countless hours it took to present the event. Thanks to your wife, Gwen, too!]

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the May 2015 "And All That Jazz"

The 42nd Sacramento Music Festival is just about here. Things are going well and we have much interest in the talent that we are providing, and that interest is in the form of ticket sales. It is “all hands on deck” at this point to get the last minute details finished. If you have not already, you will be seeing ads in the paper, on radio and TV. I would be interested to hear from you about the media that you have heard, and what avenue you received it from. My email is tom@sacjazz.com or you can call the office: 444-2004. I feel very confident that the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival will be a tremendous success.

We are also approaching the Big Day of Giving in Sacramento. I am excitied that, first of all, we are participating, and secondly, that I expect generous donations. The “BIG DoG” lets all non-profits in the Sacramento Area profile themselves and solicit donations from the general public. I hope that we do well as this is our first year.
Thank You to all the volunteers for the considerable efforts to make the Festival a success. Many of you have worked long hours and utilized personal resources so the Festival may continue. Thanks is not enough, but it’s all we can give for now.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the April 2015 "And All That Jazz"

I am extremely excited about the 2015 Sac. Music Festival. Our Talent Selection Committee has done a phenomenal job putting together some of the best talent available while staying at a cost that we can afford. We certainly have not compromised on quality. Todd Bibby, Julie Deter, Kat Coffey and Dave Becker have really pulled out the impossible in my view. This festival will have music for everyone, with the International All-Stars (thanks to Janet Young), Stephanie Trick & Paulo Alderighi Double Trio (thanks to Ingrid Wolbart), Sister Swing (thanks to Mark and Meredith Henderson).

If you enjoy any other genre of music, there will be something for you. One of our headliners is Tower of Power, and by the way tickets are selling will be a sellout. Malo will also be performing at Firehouse Lot, and his music should appeal to a much broader demographic. If you like country music, then this is your festival with Gloriana, Deke Dickerson, Chris Gardner and others. If you like blues and rock, certainly there are many bands that will appeal to you. And of course, let’s not forget our favorite in zydeco, Tom Rigney and Flambeau. Take some time to enjoy the music of some of the new bands like On Air and Red’s Blues. I am hopeful we have music for every taste.

Now let’s talk about money. Last year, some different numbers surfaced as to how we did at the last years festival. We track our budget by the year but break it down by activity, such as Jazz Sunday and the Music Festival. In 2014, the Music Festival was seriously in the red. At that time, we decided to make some changes to reduce costs and also ask for donations from the members. You came through and we ended the year slightly in the black. So where are we now? Revenue is starting to flow, and from last year, we are over 30% ahead of last year in dollars collected from ticket sales. It’s early yet, but a positive is always good.

We will be participating in the “Big Day of Giving” (a.k.a. BIG DoG). During that time, many of the non-profits create online profiles, and ask for donations. I am hoping we get some traction from this with the local companies and donors. More to follow. Meanwhile, learn more about it here: https://bigdayofgiving.org 

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the March 2015 "And All That Jazz"

Planning for the 2015 Music Festival is now in high gear. The talent has been selected and updated on the website. Soon you will start getting information about the headlines. A big Thanks to Todd Bibby, Kat Coffee, Julie Deter and Dave Becker for the hours they put in selecting excellent talent. Some of the bands you would like to see are not here this year; I am sorry, but we have had hundreds of requests to play from some excellent talent and cannot select everyone. I am amazed at the quality of talent that we are bringing to the 2015 festival.

If you live in Sacramento, you may know that Sacramento has a “Big Day of Giving” event in May, and the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society will be part of it this year. Most of the major philanthropic organizations subscribe to this event and peruse the website with their dollars. This could perhaps help us get some notoriety and dollars to boot.

I have to say something about the volunteers in this article. Last week, I had a meeting with the managers of the Festival departments, and I must say, I have not worked with a more professional and committed group of folks ever. These are the men and women that make the festival function and keep people coming back. This year, we have made some significant changes, and they all just take it in stride and keep performing at the top of their game. I again say thank you to the volunteers for your dedication and hard work.

It is very important this year that you support us by bringing your friends and families to the Sac. Music Festival. If we can get your very critical support, then we will be able to be a successful festival. We have flyers in the office if you wish to bring them to your neighborhoods. Thank you so much for listening.

 

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the February 2015 "And All That Jazz"

First a big, big, BIG thank you! The donations to keep the festival alive and sponsor bands has been overwhelming. They said it could not be done, but you erased an $80,000 projected deficit by year end to about $3,000 in the black, and kept the organization alive and kicking. We are still looking for business sponsorships. We can customize a sponsorship for you that will bring great value and a very positive ROI.

As many of you are aware, the STJS Office moved from Old Sacramento to our new location, office / warehouse at 301 North 10th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. [Same phone number: 916-444-2004.] Although not ideal, the move was necessary to keep the organization solvent. Starting Feb. 1, we will be keeping the office open Monday through Thursday, 10am–3pm. We have some great volunteers that are willing to be there to answer your inquiries by phone or in person. My thanks to the volunteers willing to be there. They will also be able to sell tickets for the 2015 Sac. Music Festival. [Or visit www.sacmusicfest.com to purchase online.]

Tickets will also go on sale at our monthly Jazz Sunday concerts at Elks #6. Starting in February, visit the Raffle Table and get your discounted tickets now. We also have specials on group tickets for 10 or more. Please contact the office for more information.

Congratulations on the new board members and the ones that got re-elected. Thank You to the members that have served and decided not to run. Being on the Board requires a time commitment and many emails, meetings and dedication. Thanks for all the hard work.

Each month in 2015, I would like to feature one volunteer that “goes over and above.” This month, I will feature Joe Cruz. Joe has been a valuable asset to the organization for many years. Joe started as a festival volunteer at the Turntable Junction site and then was asked a few years ago to take over the Construction Crew. He has done a fabulous job building a great crew that makes the festival function. Joe also is involved in other festivals, and I personally saw him at the Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley. Joe, though retired, runs a thriving electrical contracting business. He is also a musician, drummer, and has built computers. Joe is newly elected to your board and will be a valuable asset to our organization.  

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the Dec.'14/Jan.'15 "And All That Jazz"

I want to extend a sincere Happy Holidays to everyone reading this. Where has the year gone? It certainly has been a whirlwind. I wish everyone the best in health and happiness for the remainder of this year, and a great 2015.

There are two great events coming up that I know everyone will enjoy. First Tom Rigney at the Elks on Sunday, Dec. 14th. Tom always puts on a great show, and I am sure the place will be packed. This is great revenue for STJS, so attend if you can. It’s also STJS Election Day, so come out to place your vote for members of the STJS Board of Directors.

The next event is our 9th annual Crab & Pasta Feed on Sat., January 31st. Kathy Becker has for several years put in lots of time and effort to make this event a success. I am sure that this event will be no exception. Bring your check books and look for treasures at the silent action as well.

The crab feed will signify the end of the time period when we can receive band sponsorships for the 2015 Sac. Music Fest. We need to set a deadline so that we can make sure all the talent has a place to play. So, if you would like to sponsor a band, please let us know.

Sponsorships have been a real focus of mine this year. Dave Becker, Dennis Grimes and I have been meeting with many local merchants and organizations to raise money. We are not just relying to the membership; we have talked with the Old Sacramento Merchants Association—and many of the merchants in Old Sacramento—with pretty decent success. Many have asked to place advertisements in our program. The Sac. Convention and Visitors Bureau has met with us several times to find a way to help us make the 2015 festival a success. Even Macy’s showed interest in our event. We have also spoken with all the folks that own festival venues, to make sure we have the same venues as last year. Everyone wants us to have a successful festival and is willing to help us accomplish that.

We are in the process of applying for several grants, both from the city and from private companies. This is work in progress and—hopefully—there will be more on that in the coming months.

We have also partnered with the Commemorative Air Force. So, you might ask, what do the Jazz Society and the Commemorative Air Force have in common? This non-profit also does events in the local area, and it so happens that they have an event right before the Music Festival. This gives us a great opportunity to promote the festival at their event and let them promote their organization at our event. We are working out the details, but it will be a win/win for both of us.
I guess I am a little long-winded this month! To conclude, I want to wish all of you a very wonderful Christmas and a great new Year.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the Nov. 2014 "And All That Jazz"

The last month has been a whirlwind. We are actively planning the 2015 Sacramento Music Festival and moving very fast doing it. There have been a few days that start at 6am and don’t end until after 10 in the evening. We are making progress to make this a great 2015 festival. We have had some sponsorships come in and promises of many more. If you are planning on sponsoring a band, venue or the entire festival, please get those decisions made and notify the office by Dec 31st. Although, quite frankly, if you wish to sponsor the festival at $150,000, I can give you a few more days. Speaking of the Office… We have moved. Due to cost constraints, we have moved our entire operation to the STJS Warehouse. The new address is 301 N. 10th Street; Sacramento, CA 95811. We have moved the phones and internet to the new office and look forward to meeting many of you there. We have already had one Volunteer Meeting there, and it has worked well. It is a little crowded, but once we get paired down a bit, I think we will be OK. We had some stellar help from Sarah Anderson and Joe Enochs as well as Dave and Kathy Becker, Kathy Grimes, Mark and Meredith Henderson, and Nancy Giffin (this publication’s editor). The Society certainly appreciates their assistance. See the article from Dave Becker regarding the move for a complete list of our helpers. These are only the names of folks that I saw assisting. (No disrespect to all that helped and are not mentioned here.) November is the month of thanksgiving with an emphasis on giving. In that light, I am sponsoring a Musical Instrument Collection Drive at our new digs, the warehouse. If you have any unloved and unwanted musical instruments, now is the time to do a little house cleaning. These instruments will be donated to local charities and the underprivileged who cannot afford to purchase equipment. The Jazz Society will not profit from this drive, but as one of the largest music non-profits in the area, I believe it is our obligation to help the community as we have in the past. The dates and times for instrument donations are: Friday, Nov. 21st from 5pm–7pm; Saturday, Dec 6th from 10am–2 pm; and Tuesday, Dec. 16th from 5pm–7pm. If you attend Jazz Sunday on Nov 9th, you may see some new faces in the crowd. We have done some advertising through Groupon, the online merchant. They have sent out a deal to over 500,000 of their local subscribers. If you have a chance to meet and talk with the new people, please extend a welcome. These are potential members, and we want them to really have a great time. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the Oct. 2014 "And All That Jazz"

I am certainly humbled by the response from members and volunteers for financial support. To all who contributed, a very sincere Thank You. Because of your contributions, the Board has decided to produce the 2015 Music Festival. We will continue to watch every dime so that your donation will not be in vain. Planning has now begun in earnest for the 2015 Festival with a focus on becoming profitable. Along those lines, we will be moving the STJS Office in the next few months, from Old Sac to our warehouse location in Sacramento. This will reduce our expenses while keeping the assets we really need. This will be some hard work, so anyone that wishes to contribute their time, please contact our office at 444-2004. If you are considering being a Band Sponsor for 2015, please contact our office and let us know which band you wish to sponsor. We will have a cutoff date this year; get your requests in early, so we can get the talent you desire. We certainly had good participation from the members and volunteers to keep STJS afloat, however, we still need participation from businesses and the community. So I am putting out a request, through this article, for any business owners out there who would like your name associated with a Sacramento icon. Great Sponsorships are available, and the price and exposure will certainly be customized to meet your needs. Thanks again to the members and volunteers that have contributed to make the 2015 Festival a reality. If you have not made a contribution, please consider our request for donations as we are a tax deductible organization and still need your help !!

STJS OFFICE MOVE Since we will be moving the STJS Office to the STJS Warehouse, our final Board of Directors meeting at the CURRENT OFFICE on K Street will be October 20, 2014 at 6 pm.  FUTURE meetings will be held at the STJS Office/Warehouse: 301 North Tenth Street Sacramento, CA 95811

 

STJS Exec. Director Tom Duff
from the Sept. 2014 "And All That Jazz"

As you know from the president’s article and the media, the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is having significant money problems.  While not officially the Executive Director until Oct. 1st, I am writing this article so that we can get the most current information out to the members of the society.
Currently, the office will only be open sporadically.  If you need to speak with someone, please leave a message as we have been monitoring those daily.  Dave Becker is now doing our accounting and, I must say, doing a fantastic job.  We are taking a close look at expenses to see what can be cut and what we can keep. 

Thank You to all of you who sponsored the “Race for the Arts.”  I completed the run in 46 minutes and 6 seconds.  Again, thanks to Kathy and Dave Becker for staffing the booth at the event, and to Jay Paulus for providing the music. 

 


 

 

Vivian Abraham

STJS Executive Director
Vivian Abraham

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the August 2014 "And All That Jazz"

    Vivian did not write an article for the August "AATJ."

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the July 2014 "And All That Jazz"

    BIG news to report this month, at least for me it is! Earlier this year, the decision was made for me to step down as the Executive Director but stay on and continue to coordinate the talent for next year’s Festival. I will also assist our new: Executive Director, Tom Duff. As a past president and longtime festival volunteer, Tom is an excellent choice to lead our organization into the future. It pleases me that I will be able to share my 31 years of experience with him. Understanding the past and our mission can help Tom continue to build that bridge into the future. The changeover is to occur October 1st of this year, so you will hear from me a few more times.
   Our Festival is our organization’s major fundraiser that has become a tradition in Sacramento (and throughout the world for that matter). I believe the changes we have made over the last couple of years have proved to be successful and have also proved we are moving in the right direction if we are to keep our event alive and thriving. Sadly, so many other festivals have not survived.
    Tom’s relationship with our volunteers is positive and strong. He has worked right alongside of them “in the trenches,” which will serve him well. Serving as Executive Director is no walk in the park. It can be a very difficult job at times, but I have no doubt he will excel.
    What do you all think of the move to Elks Lodge #6 for our Jazz Sundays? I don’t know how many of you can remember a few years back when we were there. “The Joint was Jumping” every second Sunday of the month; I remember it well. I keep saying it will just be a matter of time before we get back there again. Those were some fun days! Maybe, just maybe, some of our Gold Card Musicians that we haven’t seen for awhile will come back? I sure hope so; those really were some fun days! Hope to see you soon!
    ‘Til next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the June 2014 "And All That Jazz"

Were you there to help us usher in #41? Yes, this was the forty-first time the Memorial Day Weekend was filled with music in the air—music everywhere (well almost). I know before you even remind me, we were not at Cal Expo or some of the North Area hotels, and this year (most unfortunately), we were not in the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom. (Their decision not ours.) But you know what? The thousands that were there “had a blast,” and I’m quoting because that is what I heard all weekend and am still hearing in notes and e-mails I have received in the last few days.

I will be honest with you, I have heard from a few that have asked why we would schedule a large group in our smaller venues. The reason: we did not have much of a choice. Losing the Sheraton Ballroom, a 400-seat venue (800 in years past), caused somewhat of a domino effect with the schedule. I must tell you, however, that all of the band members of the larger groups handled playing in smaller venues like the professionals that they are.

We are very proud of the lineup this year. Bands that had not been here in years joined us, as did many of your favorites and mine. Our headliners, like Trombone Shorty (shown in photo here) were a huge hit. Turntable on the Green was filled or near filled to capacity on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We have worked hard to attract a younger demographic, and we have done that.

I just have to tell each and every one of you how proud I am of you. Change is not easy for many of us, especially for those of us that were here in the early days when our Jubilee had a different “face.” Our membership bought their early discounted tickets as they always have, and on Sunday at the Holiday Inn Ballroom, I saw many of the same people I have seen year after year for the 32 years I have been involved with our event; they were “having a blast.”

Our other venues, like the Golden Eagle Room, the Firehouse Courtyard, etc., were also full all weekend. Without getting all mushy, I want to thank you for continuing to support our great event and for understanding why and how we are moving our great event into the future. You and I may not be here to witness it, but I know that all of us have played a major role in keeping our event alive. If the fates allow, our Festival will still be going strong for many years to come, like 20 years I hope.

Numbers! Everyone always wants to know the numbers. It has always amused me that the local paper, and even some of our own people, seem to have the numbers before we in the office have completed our reconciliation process. A few days before our event, the Sac Bee reported our sales were up 20%. Yes, our ONLINE sales were up 20% over last year, which was great, but it was our ONLINE sales only. The final numbers are usually not ready until 10 days or so after our event. We have many “point of sales” to reconcile, and the process is time consuming (as accuracy is of key importance).

Speaking of change... Jazz Sunday concerts at the Elks Lodge on Riverside Blvd.! (6446 Riverside Blvd., Sac. CA 95831.) Yes, our June concert will be held at the Elks #6 for the first time in many years. Personally, I am very pleased about the move. Think back a few years, if you would, at how much we all enjoyed those days. I know we were all a lot younger, but many wonderful times were had by all.
  I don’t like ending on a sad note, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of Tom Arnold, Bob Himebauch (one of my very favorite people), and Peggy Butler, who right up until the time when she could not, was always ready to help wherever and whenever she was needed. She dearly loved all of our organization’s trad functions. Within just a week’s time (surrounding the Festival), we lost these three wonderful people, but I know for sure that “we’ll meet again some sunny day.” ‘Til next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the May 2014 "And All That Jazz"

Here we are. We have reached that magic month: the month when our organization’s major—did I say major?—fundraiser happens every year. Incredibly, this year will be the 41st time our event will happen.

I would invite you to join me on my merry-go-round, but I can’t seem to find the “decrease speed” button. I know I groan and grumble a lot to those around me this time of year, but you know, after all these years, I have come to realize that even those groans and grumbles are a part of the overall exciting process—and exciting it is, without a doubt.

Years ago, someone who was deeply involved in the production of our event said, “When I look down the street and hear the first beat of music that kicks off our parade, my chest swells and I get a lump in my throat and think to myself, we did it again.” I can’t think of a more perfect way to describe that moment for that handful of us that will never lose our passion for what we do.

Only the Fates know how much longer I will continue to do what I do, but I do know that with the exception of my family, doing what I have done for over 30 years now (for our organization and for our Festival) has enriched my life more than mere words can say.

I will look forward to seeing you all at our Festival. ‘Til next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the April 2014 "And All That Jazz"

   I seem to ask every month, where does the time go? But seriously, here we are in April, and with my head spinning I will ask again: Where does the time go? As I am writing this it seems incredible that we have just a little over two months to get our 41st Festival off the ground. I know I say this every year but this year we really are busy, I mean really busy for this time of the year!
   Jennifer and I are very fortunate to have the help of our loyal office volunteers: Nancy Williams, Sue Hackett, Kathleen Kelly, Vanna Turner, and Kai Boone (who recently joined us to cover the phones). I must not forget to mention Kathy Becker who it seems is everywhere and anywhere she is needed.
   Then there is the one and only Ron Jones (who is onboard again) to help Jennifer and Nancy W. with the very complicated task of creating our Festival’s schedule. Why so complicated you ask? They must schedule approximately 900 plus musicians to play over 300 sets in our 15 or so venues for the 42 or so hours of entertainment our Festival offers. Kind of makes you tired just to think about it doesn’t it? There is really an art to completing the process. It entails hours and hours of work that goes on behind the curtain so that our Festival fans have the best possible musical experience that can be had, and better than anywhere else. Let’s not forget to give Bob Ringwald a big hand also for the remarkable job he has done booking the Trad, Swing and Jazz bands that will be here. I would also like to take a tiny little bow if I may.
   Now it’s time to share a very special story with you. About 2 weeks ago, I had a voice mail message from Bruce Mund inquiring about sponsoring a band. It took a few attempts to reach Bruce, but when I finally did, the story began to unfold. He told me he heard that we would be unable to hire the High Sierra Jazz Band this year because of our budget restrictions. He asked how much it would cost to sponsor the band (would it be more than $5,000)? I told him I would get him the exact amount and let him know right away. It turned out that the actual cost would be more than $5,000. He sounded so disappointed when he told me he could do no more than $5,000.
  Our conversation followed me home that day and into the evening. The next morning, I immediately contacted our Board Finance Committee to ask for the extra funds we needed to add to Bruce’s offer. When they said yes, I called Bruce back to give him the news. It warmed my heart to hear the excitement in his voice as he stated he would mail me his check right away, but he had a small favor to ask. Could I hold off letting anyone know that High Sierra would be here, because it was a surprise he had planned for his wife, Merle. (Romance is not dead is it, Bruce?) It was such a small favor to ask compared to what he was doing that I said yes, of course. Then if occurred to me that we could not hold off until the Festival. There were deadlines to be met to get High Sierra contracted and their bios and pictures in our Program. I talked to Bruce again and explained about the deadline situation. He thought about what I was saying, and after a few seconds of thinking out loud, he said, “Yes, go ahead, it’s OK.” I really wish there would have been a way for us to help him carry out his surprise. Bruce: I know without a doubt that the wonderful intent that was in your heart will mean as much to your wife as your surprise would have meant. Thank you, Bruce, for your generosity and for the thrill your act of love has given all of us romantics...
   I’m not sure exactly when the news hit, but it seemed almost instantaneous. High Sierra Jazz Band: I’m not sure if you realize what an incredible group of fans you have—fans that I am sure are very grateful to Bruce and, of course, thrilled as we all are that you will be here to help us ring in year number 41!
Bruce now joins the ranks of Janet Young, Ingrid Wobart and Frank Lindskoog as our Festival’s VIP’s and major donors. Collectively, they have donated over $40,000 over the last two years. I think we need to establish a “Wall of Fame” in our office to recognize the contributions these lovers of our Festival have made, don’t you? Let’s work on it, shall we? There would also be a place for Mark & Meredith Henderson, Rich O’Day, Jim Roberson, and Rae Ann Berry, L. K. (Smokey) Murphy, The Mary J. Richardson Trust, Vanna Turner, Don Luthringer, Barbara & Jay Paulus... and that’s only looking at the last couple of years. Please forgive me for the other names I am sure I am forgetting.  
   We lost another dear friend of STJS and longtime Gold Card Member, Larry Salerno, in March. Condolences to his family from all of us.
   My article this month seems to go on and on, but it’s important for me to mention that I keep hearing about the drop in attendance at our Jazz Sundays. I hear about it frequently from Gold Card musicians and lately from concerned members. You all know by now that the only reason I do not attend is for sure “selfish,” but I need that one day for much needed “R & R.” Maybe it’s time for me to change my M.O. and try to attend at least a few times a year. I care deeply about STJS and all of its functions. True, our Festival takes priority mainly because it is our organization’s major fund raiser and requires so much of those involved with its production.
   What has changed? We all looked forward with great anticipation to Jazz Sundays just a few years ago. We had packed houses. We loved the guest artists that were booked, but more so, we loved the opportunity to get together once a month. The Gold Card musicians loved that they could sign up to play and did play. What has changed? I would really love to have an answer. I know Charlie Gehlbach and the STJS Music Committee addressed the issue last year, but I keep hearing “nothing has changed.” What does that mean? I am listening; please let me know what has happened, and maybe—just maybe—we can find the answer together.
   ‘Til then....

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Mar. 2014 "And All That Jazz"

   February! I always bid adieu to this mysterious and almost mythical month with mixed emotions. It has always been the most eventful month in the year for me, and if you have a February birthday, I know that you know what I mean. It can even be spooky at times.

There is a definite hum or buzz in the office these days. We seem to be a lot busier a lot earlier than usual at this time of year. We were pleased with ourselves in December when we closed the office for our Holiday break. We just knew when we returned from the break that we would be ahead of the game. Well, you know what is said about best laid plans... January flew by in a whirl, February is a short month, so here we are again, up against deadlines and more deadlines to get everything wrapped up for the printing of our official Festival Program.

I am happy to say that our Early Bird Discount and a special pricing promotion are generating early sales. People are visiting our website and liking what they see as far as our lineup. I think it’s the most diverse lineup we’ve ever had, and we are about to announce headliners for Saturday and Sunday nights. The very talented and charismatic Trombone Shorty will be our Friday night headliner. We also have the Texas Tornados signed. If you remember Freddie Fender, you’ll love this Tex-Mex band—definitely a band you can dance to! They are great! There will of course be a tremendous lineup of Trad, Swing, etc. bands and entertainers for you to enjoy.

I want to take this opportunity to address a situation that really bothers me. Just in the last month several people have mentioned that my absence at the Jazz Sundays is being noticed. My excuse may seem lame, but it is the only one I have: With my harried work schedule and the need for me to work from home most weekends, I must selfishly take Sunday to rest and re-group. I think it’s important for me to note here that for the 14 years I was on our Board as Secretary, Treasurer, and one year as President, I can count on one hand the months I was not there. I know many of you remember those days.

So, dear members and friends, it’s not that I do not want to be there, it’s a matter of my self-preservation for the future. That dynamo, Kathy Becker, as well as “The Cricket” [who is NOT the editor] keep me up to date, so I feel like I have been there. Of course, I hope you all remember that my office door is always open, and I always like hearing your voice on the other end of the phone line. 

We all knew Linda LaFranchi had been very ill and we all knew it was just a matter of time, but when I received the call that she had passed, I was overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of sadness. Then the strangest thing happened; I could not get a few song lyrics out of my mind. The words were, “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” (From The Sound of Music.) If you had the good fortune to know Linda well and work closely with her, you will understand that the refrain from the song is in my head even this morning. We will all have nice things to say about Linda, we always do. I know many of you had a much closer relationship with Linda than I had, but in the years of working closely with her on Jubilee matters, I came to respect and admire her passion and dedication to all of the different factions within our Society that she loved so dearly and that she approached with a zeal like no one else I know. We often laughed at how hyper she was (and I often compared her affectionately to a bowl of jello), but that was Linda—the Moonbeam. She will be missed and is truly gone way too soon. So long for now, Linda, but we will meet again some sunny day. A celebration of her life will be at the Dante Club on Saturday, March 8th from 1-4.

To quote a friend, Hamish McGregor, “Look after yourselves.”  ‘Til next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Feb. 2014 "And All That Jazz"

   First, I would like to wish you all a Very Happy and Healthy New Year!
  What a year 2013 was! Talk about ups and downs! Without a doubt, the biggest downer for me was the loss of so many dear friends. I miss them, especially during the Holidays when they seem to pop in and out of my mind. However, I’m happy to say that my memories of them made me smile.
  A definite “up” for me was the success of our 40th annual Sacramento Music Festival. From a financial standpoint, we have a ways to go. Although we did see a small profit for the first time in several years, it was just a snapshot into the future of what is possible.
  I know many of you were (and still are) unhappy with the changes we made in our musical lineup, but numbers tell the story. I am talking about revenue numbers and attendance numbers, and these numbers proved we have begun to move in the right direction if we are to keep our Festival going — thriving — and perhaps most important of all, providing a forum that will allow us to present the genres of music that honor our jazz roots.
  Surprises galore are in store for you with the lineup for this year’s Festival. I should explain that, in an effort to streamline our talent selection process (mainly due to limited staff and staff hours), and because it is at the discretion of the Director of our organization, we (or I) altered the process for this year. I asked Bob Ringwald to take on the responsibilities of booking all of the Traditional, Swing, etc. bands (50% of our line up). Thankfully for me and for all of us, he accepted, and all I can say about the job he has done is, “WOW!”
   Many of your favorites will be returning, AND (get ready): Back this year will be the Midiri Brothers, Grand Dominion, Side Street Strutters, Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums, Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band, just to mention a few. Then there’s the Dixie Company Jazz Band from Poland, the Hot Club of Cowtown from Austin, TX, Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns from New Orleans — and that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are just too many to mention here, but I think you get the picture.
   Last year, Rae Ann Berry of SF recommended Vaud and the Villains. Oh my, just wait. They will blow you away! We’re grateful that Rae Ann will help sponsor them this year. We can all thank Janet Young and Ingrid Wobart for their generosity again this year: Janet has sponsored the Side Street Strutters, and Ingrid has sponsored Stephanie Trick and Danny Coots. The Kathy Morrow Quartet has a group of very loyal fans that have made sure they will be back. Jim Roberson is a sponsor both Kathy Morrow and the Au Brothers.
   Bob has booked 50% of our schedule. More kudos to you, Bob! The other 50% of the lineup will include our headliners. To date, TROMBONE SHORTY is booked and confirmed. I have again this year been working with Mindy Giles of Swell Productions, and Jerry Perry — local promoters who very successfully booked our headliners last year.
  I’ve had the pleasure of booking many local blues and rock bands. A member of our Festival Operations Team, Todd Bibby, has taken the lead in booking Wonderbread 5, Bump City, Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and a few other surprises. I guess you can tell by now that I am just a little excited about our lineup. I have a long list of other bands that I will tell you about as the months go by. Of course, they will also be posted on our website.
   **NOTE re. SHERATON: Important change for you to be aware of this year is that we will NOT have a venue in the Sheraton Grand Hotel.** (Unavailable this year.) We WILL of course still have shuttles to get you from Old Town to the Hyatt and visa-versa. The Holiday Inn and the Embassy Suites WILL continue to be favorite venues.
  Take care of yourselves. We are not getting any younger (speaking of myself, of course). 

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Dec.'13/Jan.'14 "And All That Jazz"

   I can’t remember how many times this year I have asked, “Where does the time go?” Here it is, the end of another year. My gosh, it seems like we just put away the decorations. The dust hasn’t even had time to settle on the boxes!
  For me, personally, it has been a year of highs and lows. Our 40th annual Sac. Music Festival saw an increase in attendance for the first time in several years — a definite sign that we are moving in the right direction, and a definite high for me.
  Yes, the highs were high, but the lows seem to cast a shadow. We lost several dear friends. I still grieve the loss of my dear friend, Hal Needham. One of our longtime Volunteer Managers, Linda LaFranchi is gravely ill and it’s hard for me to imagine our next Festival without her enthusiastic, energetic and always — always — pleasant demeanor popping into my office.
  We have had other very dear losses, of course, but Hal and Linda have been too special to me to miss this opportunity to say so. We all know that with the aging process comes sickness and the inevitable, but darn it, it’s tough isn’t it?
  I am not trying, really, to have this piece be one of gloom and doom (especially at this festive time of year), but I do have another low to discuss with you. That low is the drop in attendance at our monthly Sunday concerts at the Dante Club. What is going on? The economy? Price of gas? Hold on, I know many of you may say. “She should talk, she is never there,” and you are absolutely correct. I selfishly hold on to my day of rest; I must. That does not mean, however, that I do not care. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a second Sunday without a gathering of Gold Card Musicians arranging to play our favorite tunes for us. Then there is the camaraderie of the membership and old friends getting together. 
Thankfully, there was a large crowd for Mike Vax in November, which is encouraging. I know our Music Committee is addressing this issue, but maybe (just maybe) they could use your help. Send them your feedback, your ideas about what can be done to put the “spark” back into Jazz Sunday. Your ideas, comments, suggestions and even criticisms would be welcomed. We don’t want to lose this jewel, do we? That could happen if our admissions do not generate the revenue needed pay the expenses of the day such as rent, guest artist fee/travel/lodging, etc. Think about it, will you? Then send us a note.
  I am also going to make my “pitch” for our 41st annual Sac. Music Festival, May 23–26, 2014. Early Bird Discount tickets are now on sale. (See ad on page 4.) Don’t see your favorite bands listed yet? Please realize we will not be able to bring back some of your favorite bands without your help. Year-end tax deductions may be on your mind these days — $50, $100, $500, $1,000 are examples of what you may want to consider. Sponsor your favorite musician, your favorite band or something somewhere in the middle. All kinds of possibilities! Give us a call. Jennifer and I would be very happy to talk with you.
  Wishing you all of the warmth, magic and joy of the Season.
Till then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Nov. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    With Ghosts and Goblins behind us for another year, it’s time to look forward to Turkey Dinners and the Holidays! Where, I ask you, does the time go? I can’t speak for you, but I don’t seem to be getting any older — I am about ready to fall out of my chair as I say this (thanks to some recent dental issues); I feel about 95 today!
   It used to be that we had a little bit of down time after our Festival in May, but somewhere along the way, that has changed. We now seem to go from one crunching issue to another. Right now, the crunching issue is getting the bands booked for next year’s Festival. Why so early, you ask? There is so much more entailed than just issuing invitations to the bands. First and foremost is the completion of our budget, which happens normally in October. At that time, we learn what has been budgeted for Talent for the coming year.
Now is when the headaches (and heartaches) begin. There are so many bands worthy of an invite that we do not have the funds to book. Telling a band leader that they will not be here next year is my least  favorite  thing to do.
If you have learned recently that your favorite band will not be here next year, this may be a good time to offer help in sponsoring that band. It really is a perfect time of year to consider this as your sponsorship of a band would be tax deductible.
  Our target date to have the lineup in place for the following year is the end of December. At this time, the booking of travel, lodging, collection of pictures and bios for our program, and all other band-related business takes off and we start to give the scheduling process a lot of attention. That is another story all together — a major project to be sure.
  There are a hundred other Festival-related chores being addressed during the same time period, and the meetings begin — dozens of them — with suppliers, festival managers, potential sponsors, and on and on.
  The day-to-day business of the STJS rolls on. Kathy and Dave Becker are busy planning for our Crab & Pasta Feed in January, along with monitoring the needs of our members and, of course, looking ahead to the next Jazz Sunday, and doing all that they do on that day: the Admissions Table, the Musicians/Volunteers Sign-in Table, the Raffle Table, etc., etc., etc.
  I wanted to mention how encouraging it is to see some of our members attending our monthly board meeting on a regular basis. All are welcome. The meeting is usually on the Monday evening immediately following Jazz Sunday, but this month, the meeting will be moved to the third Monday, Nov. 18, because Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.
  Dental issues, ouch, gotta go! ‘Til next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Oct. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    A very Happy Fall to everyone. It certainly is my favorite season. September was an eventful month. Most notable to mention is the huge success of Ken McMurray’s HOT JAZZ JUBILEE during Labor Day Weekend. Over the years, many folks have wished for an event like the Hot Jazz Jubilee. Ken did more than wish; he made it happen. No one knows better than I how many challenges he faced—the sleepless nights spent worrying, the very long days, the sacrifices and the total commitment he made to produce a successful event. Ken: Accept all of the praise and kudos that come your way; you have earned all of it. Hats off to you.
   One of the things that was quite tell-ing about the Hot Jazz Jubilee attendees was how much they loved the hotel venues—perfect settings for many of the bands that performed. We know from experience with our fans that many really do prefer the air conditioned comfort of a hotel venue and, of course, the indoor plumbing.
   That being said, we will concentrate heavily on our four hotel venues when next year’s Sac. Music Festival schedule is prepared. In Old Sacramento, we will focus more on the the newer genres we plan to continue to bring in. Of course, we will promote and utilize our new headliner venue, Turntable on the Green. We want to repeat the 2013 success of Sunday night, and fill the venue to capacity on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights next year.
   This may be a good time to mention that we can always use your help to par-tially offset the cost of bringing in some of your favorite bands. The support we have received from Frank Lindskoog, Janet Young, Ingrid Wolbart, Mark & Meredith Henderson, Judy Santrizos, and Yvonne Au (to mention a few) provided us the vital boost in funding we needed to bring in your favorites last year (such as Cornet Chop Suey, High Street, High Sierra, Stephanie Trick/Danny Coots, The Au Brothers, etc.) I apologize in advance if I have neglected to mention anyone.
   As early as it is, Rae Ann Berry has already come forward with her com-mittment to help partially offset the appearance of an incredibly talented group of young musicians. They are VaudaAnd the Villains. You are in for a real treat with this 19-piece ensemble of musicians and dancers. They are a high energy group that will blow your hair back with their stage presence and audience appeal. They are just one example of the kind of lineup we will present next year. So, get involved. Call me, let me know if you want to help sponsor or partially sponsor a band. (Remember that your donations are tax deductible.)
   September was a busy month in our office. For the 2014 Sac. Music Festival, we kicked off our Early Bird Discount offer a week or so later than we had hoped, but by the time you receive this newletter, the discounted admissions offer will be well on its way. A promotional piece should also already have reached you, and our website updates will begin. Some of your favorite bands will return, and you will see we have a few surprises for you. Keep in mind the booking process goes on until early December—or later is some cases. The promotional piece we send out is an early preview (or sneak-peek if you will) of what next year’s schedule will look like.
   Hal (and Joan) Needham’s Celebration of Life event in September was wonderful. “Our” musicians and so many of the Needham’s friends came together for a very special tribute to our dear friends. I know, I just know they were there with us in spirit. Til’ next time.

NOTE — I have a late notice to share with our members. On September 29, 2013, STJS President Tom Duff resigned his position, effective immediately. Tom was perhaps the most effective, active and hands-on President to ever serve our Society. We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Sept. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

   A friendly reminder from our Editor greeted me this AM as I opened my e-mail letting several of us know that it was that time again to submit our columns for the upcoming month. All I could think of to say was, “Somebody has to slow this merry-go-round down a little.” Is it just me or does it feel to everyone that time is spinning way too fast?
   September has arrived! By the time you read this, Labor Day will have been here and gone. For some, Labor Day signals the end of the summer season. Ken McMurray’s inaugural Hot Jazz Jubilee will be one for the record books, and Ken will be basking in the success of the event. I am, of course, looking into my crystal ball as I write this in August. That being said, I know I am pretty much right on. A fantastic line-up of bands in a beautiful setting with fans whose love of Jazz and Swing have kept the genres alive — how could the event be anything but successful.
   I hope you all took a moment to thank Ken. He took an idea, pursued it and ran with it. No one knows better than I the perserverance, dedication and just plain hard work it takes to put on an event such as the one you just enjoyed. Kudos, Ken. You sure have my respect.
   Speaking of hard workers, longtime member and volunteer Frank Herand passed away on May 28, 2013. He was STJS Historian for several years.
   We are still enjoying our summer schedule of office hours, but the 4 days a week that we are there are very busy. Much happens this time of year as the plans for next year’s 41st annual Sacramento Music Festival begin to be set in motion. A big advantage this year is the very timely passing of our 2014 Budget. Our Finance/Executive Committee did an excellent job on preparing the budget they submitted to the Board for approval. It was a conservative budget but one that will allow us to move forward with the production of another successful event.
   Enjoy the upcoming autumn months, everyone. I know it is my very favorite season. Till next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the August 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    July of 2013 will certainly be one of the saddest months in quite a while for me because I lost one of my dearest friends, Hal Needham. I had the honor and priviledge of serving on our STJS Board of Directors with Hal for several years. He not only served the term he was elected to serve, Hal again stepped up to the plate to serve our Society when his successor's job required him to leave the area. In fact, I cannot remember a time when Hal ever refused to do anything he could for the good of the Society. He and his beloved wife, Joan, also were very involved with Jazz Camp, and with many Jubilee functions; I have so many wonderful memories of their contributions and the good times we had working together.

We have lost so many of our acquaintances and friends lately —which I guess we learn to accept as we age—but when the loss is so sudden and unexpected, it leaves one reeling. Hal had been working with me on a project in the office, hanging all of the Jubilee Hall of Fame pictures on one entire wall. We had many laughs early on when he would hang 10 pictures, only to return a day or so later and 6 had fallen off the wall. He finally did find the solution, and had only this year's pictures left to hang. I will so miss him popping his head into my office door with that wonderful smile to announce he was back to finish the job. Yes, dear friend, you will be missed by every one of us who have known you to be the kindest and gentlest person we have been blessed to know.

[See page 11 for info regarding a "Celebration of Life" for Hal in Sept.]

NOTE: The Needham Family requests (in lieu of flowers, cards, etc.), that donations be made in Hal's name to the STJS Youth Trad. Jazz Camp through the STJS Foundation.

I have been somewhat under the weather—where in the heck did this expression come from anyway?—so I do not have a comprehensive report of how our Festival did for you. I can tell you that the Festival was very successful, and of course, you know as members you are always welcome (cont. from page 2) to learn in detail how we did financially, etc. We always welcome your call or a visit to our office.

In closing, I do not want to forget to address the irrate messages I received about my mistake in stating that perhaps we had the largest crowd ever at our new Turntable on the Green venue on Sunday night of our Festival. Of course, 3rd & Jazz was our largest venue many years ago, so excuse my lapse in memory. I guess my excitement about having 3100 people in the?new venue (a first in many years) got the best of me. I am glad to learn, however, that a few of you do read what I write.

Till next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the July 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    Do you ever feel like you can relate to the hampster on the wheel? I sure do! It seems like yesterday that submitted my June column to Nancy Giffin, our very talented editor, but here it is time to send off my July piece.

    Although you’re reading this in July, I am still trying to get through June. We are still working on wrapping up this year’s Festival. It usually takes us a little over a month before all of the bills are paid, and any and all loose ends are tied up. I’m happy to say the loose ends are much fewer this year.

    I told you in June that we had a great Festival, and we did. I am still getting many positive phone calls and e-mails from people letting me know that they really enjoyed themselves and loved all of the “new” that we showcased. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the steps we took in a new direction were the steps we needed to take to keep our Festival alive.

    Look forward to more detailed report about our Festival next month.
‘Til then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the June 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    Where do I begin? I guess I should begin by asking where were you May 23 to May 27 this year? If you were attending the 40th annual Sacramento Music Festival, you can probably already guess what I am about to say. WOW, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

I know – believe me – I do know how difficult change can be for us. Yes, us. I am pretty sure that I am in the same age group as most of you reading this. Many of you let me know – prior to our event, during our event and with the e-mails that awaited me when I returned to my office on the Wednesday following our event – that you were either disappointed, angry, shocked, sad, or all of the above. I attempted to respond to some of your messages, but as always, I seem to run out of time. In our office, the 2 or 3 week period after the Festival is almost as frantic as the 2 or 3 week prior to the Festival.

Whether you are longtime members or new members, you are members of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS). Your membership helps support all of our programs. The Festival is our major fundraiser and contributes about 95% of annual revenues that we must have to continue to be a fiscally sound organization. Take pride in the fact that our Society, now in existence since 1968, has survived when so many others have not.

I am biased, of course, but I know it is our Festival that identifies us. If we are to keep our event alive, and ensure that it is known as Sacramento’s premier event for years to come, we had to take a hard look at why attendance had been dropping over the last 10 years. Well, I don’t think I have to say much more than "REALITY!" We had to face the fact that we had to present a much younger and wider selection of music if we were to reach a wider audience.

Well folks, the proof was in the pudding as "they" say. On Sunday, May 26, at our new Turntable on the Green venue, the Fire Department closed the gates because there were 3100 fans, 100 over capacity for the Los Lobos appearance. I may be mistaken but I think this broke all attendance records for 1 venue ever. All of our other venues also did quite well.

Our loud-and-clear message this year was all about CHANGE! Our early numbers are telling us we suceeded. We did turn the ship around but we cannot take our hands off the wheel. 2014 has to be bigger and better. Exciting plans are already in the works.

I thank those of you who took the time to contact me with your concerns and know that your concerns will be heard and addressed. We will continue to make sure that the comfortable and easily accessible venues have the best of line-ups of bands for you to enjoy. Perhaps we did not relay that message clear enough. If Old Sacramento is not your cup of tea, the Holiday Inn, the Hyatt Hotel and the Sheraton are all wonderful venues.

There are so many volunteers and supporters that are on my mind and in a special place in my heart that I want to thank but I think you all know who you are and I hope you all know that you truly are the wind beneath my wings.
   ‘Til then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the May 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    It is May and IT is here! IT of course is our BIG CELEBRATION of our 40th presentation of Sacramento’s premier event, the Sacramento Music Festival!

  By the time you read this, our intense media push will have started. I am pretty sure some of you are shaking your heads and wondering what is happening to our event. Who are these “headliners” that are getting so much attention?

You’re right, we have booked acts this year that we would have never considered a few years ago. Why, you ask. Both Tom Duff, (STJS President) and I have mentioned in our monthly columns several times in the last few months that our financial situation was tenuous. We ended up with a loss again in 2012.

Our Board struggled to prepare one of the most prudent budgets ever. It was clear that if the Festival in 2013 didn’t suceeed...????

  So, yes, we turned everthing upside-down and decided to go for it. And guess what? Presales are breaking records. Really! We think this will be THE year.

  I am very happy to say that, even with the major changes in our lineup, the percentage of Trad, Swing and Jazz still rules.
Many of us have worked and will continue to work very hard—right up to May 24th—to bring you this very special 40th Celebration. (Our construction people actually work all weekend.) I hope to hear good things from you after the Festival. Have fun, enjoy.
   ‘Til then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Apr. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    So much to say, so little time! You know what they say about alligators, and I certainly can agree. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that must come together at the right time if we are to produce our Festival on Memorial Day Weekend. Since the first of the year, the two top priorities have been band selection and putting together the official printed Festival Program. We are just about ready to send the final program draft to the printer — and must if we are to have the Programs ready before the target date we always shoot for: May 10th of each year. Funny little story to add here: without fail every year, in the first week of January, we get several phone calls to see if the Program is ready. What??!!

You may have noticed we have been getting quite a bit of attention from the media (and the general public in general) about the new direction we have taken this year. I know — believe me, I do know — that many of you are unhappy about this new direction. It became very clear after experiencing a disappointing year in 2012 that we had to try to modernize our event or we would see our Festival go the way of so many other festivals that have not changed their M.O. and, unfortunately, have locked their doors. I would love to go on and on about why we are doing what we are doing, but time just will not permit it.

I want to encourage you to check our website if you have that capability. www.SacMusicFest.com If not, look forward to the Program coming in May. I think you will be pleased with the line up of our “Traditional” bands. [See page 15 of April "AATJ" for a partial list of bands.]
More next month. ‘Til then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Mar. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    So much to do, so little time. That reality is waiting for Jennifer and I every morning when we unlock the office door and turn on the lights. Does it get spooky and overwhelming at times? You’re darn right it does!

It was late last year, actually, when our Board had to take a hard look at where we were financially. We were facing another year-end “in the red.” Was it time to “pull the plug” on our Festival? Some board members thought it was. Many meetings and discussions later, it was decided to go forward with the Festival this year, mainly because it is our 40th historic year.

Move forward we would, but with the most fiscally conservative budget ever been put forth. Many Festival expenses were reduced, including the talent budget, which was reduced by almost 25%. (Spooky.) Paid staff was to consist of two: Jennifer and myself. (Spooky.)

No sense sugar coating it... it has been a challenge, BUT 99.9% of the bands are booked; the contracts, travel arrangements, etc. are almost done; and the scheduling has begun (an incredibly difficult undertaking). Nancy Williams, our dedicated and super-sharp volunteer, has truly been a godsend. Sue, Vanna and Joanne have been great at answering our phone calls and running interception at the front desk. Last year, Ron Jones jumped in late in the scheduling process and realized how very important this function is in ensuring that the lineup of bands and their performance times and venues are correct so that the weekend of entertainment goes off without a hitch. He has bravely volunteered to work on the schedule again this year.

Who, you may be wondering, has kept the day-to-day accounting and all of the general administrative duties current? And who has been lining up the trailers, vehicles, security, festival operations and, of course, port-a-potties, and the other hundreds of pieces of the puzzle that must come together and fit to put the festival together? If you guessed Jennifer and I, you’re right. (Spooky, huh.)

Why, you may ask, would these two take on such an insane undertaking? Jennifer Cloindres has been involved with our Festival since she was a child. Every year, you would find her at Cal Expo helping Jean and Lee Slayton coordinate the Festival RV village. When Cal Expo was no more, she helped her mother, Daelean Colindres, in her Ticket Auditors operation. Three or four years ago, we made the very fortunate decision to hire her to work in the office where she has become virutually irreplaceable.

As for myself, 31 years of working in almost every capacity for the organization and for Festival operations, I think speaks loud and clear as to why I am here.

Insane undertaking? Maybe, but I know without a doubt that you will not find any other two individuals that are as committed as we are to do all that we can to make this year’s Festival a huge success so that we can go on to our 41st, 42nd and beyond.

All that being said, look for many changes this year. Stay tuned! Till next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Feb. 2013 "And All That Jazz"

    A very Happy New Year to you all. Here we are in February already; from now until May, its CRAZY TIME.
    I am happy to say that 99% of the bands for the Festival have been contacted and most have their contracts. The talent budget for 2013 was about 25% less than it was for 2012, however ?without exception?the band leaders and mangers have been wonderfully understanding. Then there is the generous financial help we have received from Janet Young, Ingrid Wolbart, Anonymous, and other smaller but very helpful band sponsorships.
    Our website is being updated almost daily with information on which bands will be here, but keep in mind there will be some very exciting late add-ons. It will, in fact, be one of the best line-ups we have had in years. Hey, its our 40th and we are planning a real CELEBRATION. [Please note that Nancy Giffin is not doing the Festival website, so please direct comments/edits to the Office.]
    You may have already noticed that many new band names are showing up on our website. You will also see many of your favorites will be here. It is important to me that you, our members know we are not abandoning our roots. We are striving to put our Festival back on the map. In order to do that, we must broaden our reach musically to attract a wider demographic. So many of the long-running festivals we enjoyed for years have closed their doors. They tired of fighting the declining attendance and the loss of revenues they had to have from year to year. I don’t want to see that happen to our Festival, and I’m sure you don’t either.
    We will do our best to get the word out about how this year’s Festival will look and feel a little different. Our Official Program will have clear and concise information as to where to go to hear the band you want to hear and how to get there. SHUTTLES will again be FREE to our Festival attendees.
    We will do our best to get our schedule posted as early as we can so you can plan your weekend, and I will remind you once again there are some surprises in store for you.
    I could not end my message this month without mentioning the passing of one of my very favorite people, Marie Dickson. She left us on December 13th last year. Life happens, and sadly I had not seen her for quite some time. The memories I have of her and the good times we had at the Elks Lodge when we held our Sunday concerts there will stay with me always, and I really do believe that we will meet again some sunny day.
    I’m late, I’m late, gotta go! Till next time.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Dec.'12 / Jan.'13 "And All That Jazz"

    December can indeed be that most wonderful time of the year. For us older folk (speaking for myself only, of course), it can be a melencholy time. Christmas carols and songs can cause you to choke up without warning, and pleasant memories seem much more pleasant and much more vivid. I love this time of year, even if it’s busy and hectic.
   Busy and hectic—and sometimes even frantic—certainly describes the pace here in our office. We are “down to it” with our talent selections for next year. With the exception of our local bands, at least 95% of the bands we hope to bring in have been contacted. It is shaping up to be a dynamite year with a dynamite lineup. Everyone knows we have had a few lean years (attendance wise), but I am very optimistic about next year. Not only is it our incredible 40th year, we will be presenting a lineup like we have never seen before. Many surprises are in the works.
   I had previously mentioned that Cornet Chop Suey would be here because of Frank Lindskoog’s generosity. I am happy to let you know that because of Janet Young’s generosity, High Street from Boise, Idaho will be here—all 10 of them—and we will be able to book High Sierra for sure. Our budget really had me wondering if we would be able to extend the invitation to them for next year. Thank you again, Janet. AND, again because of Frank and Janet’s help, Fat Sam’s from Scotland will be here—yes, Fat Sam’s. I would be remiss if I did not mention that we have had at least $700.00 donated to help offset the cost of the Night Blooming Jazzmen. Chet’s fans love him.
   We kicked off our Early Bird special a few weeks ago, offering a considerable discount to our members and the public, and the chance to win a 4-day stay at the Holiday Inn near Old Sacramento. I’m sorry to say we have not had much response, and usually by this time, many of you have already purchased your tickets. Could the reason be that the change in how you receive your monthly newsletter has created some confusion? I certainly hope that is not the case. I would like to ask that if you are having a problem, you let us know. We are in our office Monday thru Thursday from 9AM to 4:30PM. Every member’s feedback is important.
I often hear from (cont. from pg. 2) various sources that many of our members feel left out of the loop and don’t always know what is going on within the organization. I am always sorry to hear of this. Your membership entitles you to be in the know all of the time. I think a concerted effort should be made to correct this situation. We just need more willing people to step forward to help the few that do so much, and we all know who the few are. Write to volunteer@sacjazz.org if you can help somehow.
   I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and that the new year brings you good health and happiness.
   A final little thought for you: wouldn’t it be wonderful if the warm, loving and peaceful feeling we have for each other at this time of the year could continue on thoughout the year.   Think about it, and imagine.
  ‘Til then.
Mark your calendars!
Sacramento Music Festival
May 24–27, 2013
Memorial Day Weekend.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the November 2012 "And All That Jazz"

   Melancholy—a beautiful word that almost always can express how one feels. My mood today however goes beyond melancholy. Within the last few days, three—yes three—longtime acquaintances have passed away: Jim Roach, Warren Holloway and Bill Bachmann. Each contributed so much to our Society and to our Jubilee, and they did so with a passion that will be remembered for a long time. You will be missed—Jim with your stories, Warren for your professionalism and your smile, and Bill, your wicked wit was like no other, and you blew a mean trumpet. So long for now guys, but as the song says, “I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”
   Here are a few updates for you: information about our Early Bird Discount sales are posted online, our Talent Selection Committee has been meeting every two weeks to try to select a great lineup for next year’s Festival—our big 40th anniversary! I have many verbal commitments and contracts that will be going out in the very near future, but for now, I can tell you that Cornet Chop Suey will be here (for sure) thanks to the generosity of our dear friend, loyal supporter and Gold Card Member Frank Lindskoog. We could not have had the pleasure of bringing the band without Frank’s support. Thank you, Frank!
   Many of your other favorites will also be here, as well as surprise after surprise. It is, after all folks, our 40th! Another little tidbit for you: Hamish and the Fat Sam’s band will be visiting in California during our Festival next year, and they just might decide to drop in—exciting, huh?
   It continues to buzz here in the office. Everyday seems to get a little wilder. I have to keep reminding Jennifer to change her hat (a little inside joke), for you see, we both wear many, many “hats.” It seems we looked around one day and found ourselves, just her and I, doing what at least six people did just a year or so ago. Hey, not  complaining, just sharing.   
    The change in the delivery method of our newsletter seems to have been accomplished rather well. Kathy Becker may disagree, but as we all know, will do so without losing that wonderful smile. I know that she did encounter a few hiccups.
    It is no secret that we have experienced financial challenges over the last few years, and if we do not turn this trend around, some very tough decisions will have to be made. Look deep into your heart (and your wallets) as the end of the year approaches, and consider making a tax deductible donation to help us keep our wonderful organization going. Our major fundraiser, the Festival, needs your help. We have been receiving some donations for the Night Blooming Jazzmen, and of course Frank’s generous donation, but we do need more help.
    Our Board worked very hard to develop next year’s budget and made some very difficult decisions. Our overall talent budget for next year had to be reduced by about 23%, as well as other line items. Bad news, I know, but take heart. Many of the band leaders I have talked to and explained our budget situation to have almost immediately come back to me with the offer to work with me. It has been very gratifying. It is in fact a bare bones budget, but one that needed to be developed and approved by the board. They are to be commended for their efforts. More to follow, gotta go!
   Till then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the October 2012 "And All That Jazz"

   Were did the summer go!
   Hats off to Ken McMurray for coordinating the incredibly successful Tom Rigney concert fundraiser for STJS (Fri., Sept. 28). Flambeau played to a full house and, as always, were real crowd pleasers.
   October is the month when many important decisions are made. Our board almost always approves our budget for the next year. [Update: budget approved.] Our Talent Selection Committee is working hard to select the bands that will be performing next year. They have been meeting every two weeks for the last couple of months and take their job very seriously. The dedicated members of this committee are: Bob Ringwald, Ron Jones, Jay Paulus, Paula Dula, Ken McMurray, Greg Sabin, Jerry Perry, Brian McKenna and Mindy Giles. Paul Edgerton attented several meetings and provided very useful input until he ran into a scheduling conflict and had to step aside.
   October is also when we produce our Promotional Piece to let you all know what bands will be coming next year to help us celebrate our 40th annual Sacramento Music Festival. We’re getting close to when we kick-off our Early Bird Discounted tickets. Much more to come; stay tuned.
   Till then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the September 2012 "And All That Jazz"

   I am pretty sure I can relate to how a few of you may be feeling as you learn you are reading this column on paper for perhaps what will be the last time. Next month’s issue of AATJ will be posted online at the STJS website. If you are sitting there with a lump in your throat, it’s ok; so am I. However, I think we all know that it’s time to move forward or get left behind.
   Almost all who know me know that I was dragged kicking and screaming into the high tech world we all live in today but take heart friends, its not as scary a world as I thought it was (although I secretly think my computer here at the office is possessed). Trust me, if I learned enough about how to navigate around this “gosh-darned-new-fangled” way to communicate, then anyone can.
   Most of you will love the convenience of reading your AATJ in a digital format, but if you are not one of the many, we have not forgotten you. No computer access? Let us know so we may print out a copy of our online newsletter for you. Call the office to leave a message for Dave & Kathy Becker, and include your name and phone number.
An e-mail notice will be sent when the next AATJ is posted online, so be sure we have your e-mail address. Check with Kathy & Dave Becker by sending them an e-mail at:
membership@sacjazz.com
   I do not have much to report on the Festival planning front, other than the Talent Selection Committee has had two meetings, and members of the committee are in the process of reviewing CDs and bios from new bands. Of course, they are keeping in mind all of our favorites.
   Our goal is to put out a promo piece by mid-September, and we hope to have many great surprises for you. After all, it is our big 40th-year celebration!!!
More to report next time. Til then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the August 2012 "And All That Jazz"

   It’s hard to believe (and almost scary) that we are already into the 8th month of 2012. Usually by the third week in June, the pace slows a little for us here in the office; not this year! Phone calls, letters and e-mails arrive daily from different sources interested in what we are planning for our BIG 40th. I find it gratifying that our organization’s big annual event and major fundraiser, our Music Festival, can still generate so much interest from so many.
   It’s no secret that we have had some financially challenging times over the last 10 years or so. I’m not sure we would be ushering in our 40th had we not been able to reach out to our members, our sponsors, our City and so many other loyal supporters of our premier event; they have always answered our call.
   Sadly, many Festivals and other entertainment-driven organizations have not survived the challenges they faced: the stagnant economy, an increase in competition, an aging fan base, etc. I think we have all wondered, at one time or another, why then have we survived. In my opinion, biased at it may be, we are a unique group of individuals that do not hesitate to put their heart and soul into all of our organization’s programs.
   Then we have our 2000 or so volunteers that perform a remarkable feat every year as they come together to basically construct our Festival from the ground up. They move equipment around, prepare the venues for the bands and the fans, account for revenues, troubleshoot and on and on. We absolutely could not do it without them.
   Wait a minute you say, you haven’t really given a reason as to how and why we have survived and are looking at our 40th year. You know what the song says: “You gotta have heart, lots and lots of heart”—that’s it! Yes, it certainly is a major factor, but we must also have good business sense and know when it’s time to face reality.
   All of the factors mentioned above, that caused the demise of so many, have not gone away. We must be very vigilant over the next few years. I have always strongly encouraged members to attend board meetings; get involved. Ask questions as to how the budget comes together, how we pick bands, etc.
   You will remember last month I asked you for the first time to consider getting a group together and sponsor a band—your favorite band. We want to invite Cornet Chop Suey, Billy Mata, Allotria, Titan Hot 7 Jazz Band (to name a few), but we cannot do it without you.
   We need your help if we are to have the biggest celebration ever for our 40th. Stay tuned; we are thinking of kicking off a raffle for a VIP Package for next year’s Festival.
   See ya!

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the July 2012 "And All That Jazz"

  Well friends, our 39th Festival is a memory now, and I hope you took home many pleasant ones (memories that is).

  My message to you last month, as you know, was based on hypotheticals. Now, it’s back to reality. I know you’re all anxious to know how our Festival did this year, but as I am submitting this article to you on the 12th of June, the final numbers are not yet available. There are many other highlights, however, that I can share with you.

  There were still a few grumbles about our name change, but overall, the comments that were heard and that I heard personally were very positive. We had tremendous media coverage all weekend, and in many cases, their focus was on our name change and the fact that we were presenting a more musically diverse festival. 

  We tried new things this year; some worked, some did not: Moving our Opening Day Parade to Saturday absolutely did not work; opening some venues later in the day did not work; trying to change and improve the parking situation in Old Sacramento during the Festival absolutely did not work!

  The Crawdad’s River Cantina Free Stage was a hit. Several good country bands performed there, as did a  70s & 80s-style band, and were well received. The stage closed early, and the MC did a great job of talking about our different venues and what bands would be performing there. Interesting to note here is that some media took a particular interest in this stage, commenting that it was something new, and they really liked the idea.

  Many of us over the weekend made mention of the fact that next year will be our big 40th annual Festival. It is only June, and we are already receiving calls of interest in what we are doing next year.

No time now to go into all of that, but I can tell you it will be a celebration to top all others. As you think about next year, perhaps think of a favorite band that was not here this year (or has not been here for several years) but has been an important contributor to the success of our event; it is not too early to start talking to other members and friends about getting involved in an effort to help sponsor that favorite of yours.

  (Cont.) We were able to bring the lovely and talented Kathy Morrow this year because a small group of her loyal fans raised $3,250 to cover her expenses. If you had a chance to see her this year, it is easy to understand why her fans are so dedicated.

  Allotria, Igor, Zydeco Flames, Gator Beat, Natural Gas, High Street, Blue Street and so many more. How wonderful it would be to bring them all back to help us celebrate our big 40th. Think about it, won’t you? If your cup of tea tastes more like a Trombone Shorty or the Dirty Dozen from New Orleans, that’s okay, too.

  At least once a year I like to encourage members to get more involved. Attend monthly board meetings to see the people you elected in action. We always need good people to serve on various committees. When you attend board meetings, you learn about the functions of our many committees, you have the opportunity to learn more about our organization’s By-Laws and who does what (and why).

STJS ELECTION RESULTS: All incumbents were re-elected: Pres. Tom Duff, VP Ron Jones, Treas. Lisa Negri-Bartels, plus board members Dave Becker, Dennis Grimes, Scott Kaufman, and Kristy Reed. Returning to the Board after several years away: Paul Edgerton. Congratulations, and thank you for giving of your time and energy to STJS!

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the June 2012 "And All That Jazz"

Was it our greatest Festival ever? I certainly hope to be able to tell you that in July. You need to know I am writing this a few days prior to our Festival. (It has to do with the magic involved in producing this newsletter for you.)

So let’s pretend it’s July. Our Festival was indeed one of our best ever! The weather was perfect, not a sign of wind or rain, and the crowds were phenomenal. The parade on Saturday was a big hit, as was the Jubilee Heritage Area at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. The closing ceremony there (where we named the 2013 Emperor) was just wonderful. Dick Johnson accepted his great honor with his customary class and sense of humor.

The Next Generation Bands were incredible this year. They really do seem to get better every year. Their closing ceremony at Riverfront Refuge was a hugh success. Our Jazz Education Committee is doing such good work, and hats off to Kristy Reed for meticulously coordinating the entire Next Generation Band’s Festival schedule.

The “younger” and “newer” bands we recruited this year were also a huge success. They attracted fans that have never attended our Festival. We saw many young families. This tells us our targeted marketing is working—a positive sign that we are going in the right direction, a direction we must pursue if we are to keep our Festival alive.

All that being said, I know the very first thing I will be asked, the first time I see you is, “Did we make any money?” Well folks, we are still counting and paying bills; remember it’s only/////:)
Til then’

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the May 2012 "And All That Jazz"

If you really listen, you will almost be able to hear Charlie (Dr. Bach) blow his first note at the Golden Eagle Room in Old Sacramento. Yes, May 25th is that close to happening!
 
We have made some changes this year you need to know about. Dr. Bach and the Jazz Practitioners (Gldn. Eagle Room), and Vivian Lee (FH Ctyd.) will be the only two performances at 1PM on Friday; the Hyatt Ballroom, the Sheraton Ballroom and several of the Old Sacramento venues will kick off at 2:30PM. Then at 4PM, its full schedule ahead.
 
Also new this year: the Parade will take place on SATURDAY, May 26th at 10AM. Popular demand dictated this change. At 11:30AM immediately after the Parade, all venues will open and you should get ready to party!
 
The Official Music Festival Program will be out the first week in May and should allow you to plan your weekend of fun. We have tried to include as much information as possible to help you get around easily this year.
 
Its our 39th year folks, there is much to celebrate! I hope to see you there, in fact I know I will see you there.
 
Busy time of year, gotta go!

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Apr. 2012 "And All That Jazz"

We did it! We have come home to Old Sacramento where our offices were located in the very early days.

At about 9am on Monday, March 5th, Dave and Kathy Becker, Bob Harries and Crawford Paton looked around and came to the conclusion that they were it. If the move was to take place, is was up to the 4  of them. They began loading up the large Enterprise box truck—a truck I must tell you that Dave and Kathy rented on their own, for which they absolutely refused to accept reimbursement, proving once again their unwavering dedication to the Society. [Dave & Kathy sell Raffle tickets at Jazz Sunday.]

I am not exaggerating when I say the 4 of them accomplished a herculean task. They moved all furniture and files into 3 offices and our conference room. Come to think of it, herculean doesn’t begin to cover it. Personally, I know I will never be able to adequately express my appreciation to them for their selfless contributions.

And then there is Tom Duff, our STJS president. He worked day and night, and on the weekend, to make sure all of our equipment would be hooked up properly and ready to go. He is still cleaning up some minor details.

You may or may not know that, many years ago, we created a Hall of Fame to honor volunteers that have contributed significantly to the success of our organization, and primarily to the ongoing success of our annual Festival (Jubilee). Bob Harries is already a Hall of Famer, and I am so pleased to announce that Tom Duff, Crawford Paton, Dave and Kathy Becker, Marsha Lee and Bob Mattingly are to be inducted this year. These 7 individuals are the classic example of what our Hall of Fame is all about. We also honor someone from the business community that supports our event; this year, that important partner is Lloyd Harvego, owner of the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento as well as other Old Sacramento properties.

As mentioned earlier, we have moved our office. Our new address in Old Sacramento is 106 K Street, Suite #1, Sacramento, CA 95814. Our new phone number is 916-444-2004. We still have many kinks to work out, but we will be setttled soon. We have to be. Memorial Day Weekend and our Festival is rapidly approaching!

My does time fly. It is that time of year again when the STJS Election Committee is appointed and goes to work to recruit members to run for a seat on the Board of Directors of our organization. Our President, Tom Duff has asked me (as a past President) to chair the committee. The other members of the committee as of this writing are, Bob Williams (Past President), Judy Hendricks, Mary Stewart and Kathy Becker.
Having served on our Board of Directors for 14 years, I can tell you it was truly an honor and for me, a very rewarding experience. We would like to hear from you no later than April 15, 2012 if you are interested in running for a seat on our Board of Directors. The slate is introduced to the membership in May during our second Sunday concert at the Dante Club.

Till then. One more time! let’s hear it for Dave and Kathy Becker, Bob Harries, Crawford Paton and Tom Duff!

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Mar. 2012 "And All That Jazz"

So much to say, so little time to say it! It must be getting closer to our Festival time! I will, however take time to thank each and every one of you who have contributed to our “39 Going on 40” fund drive. You guys are amazing! As of this writing, you have contributed a little over $13,000—a tremendous help at a time when sponsors are cutting back on their advertising dollars. Although our presales started off kind of sluggish, they have picked up considerably—a good sign for sure.

  I had every intention of submitting an abbreviated column this month, but I just have to share the heartwarming start of one of my days this  week: I had just arrived in my office when a good friend and longtime loyal Society supporter, Fidel Acuña, appeared at my door. He had recently called me to let me know that Brad Hansen, friend of our Society for as long as I can remember, had passed away. Fidel was Brad’s very close friend, and to thank Fidel for his friendship, it was so like Brad to acknowledge their friendship by leaving Fidel a note and a small bequest. Fidel knew exactly what he had to do. Dutch Deutsch’s Gramercy 6 band was Brad’s all time favorite band. Knowing that sponsoring Dutch’s band would most certainly put a smile on Brad’s face, Fidel passed on the bequest. So, in Brad’s memory, his name will be listed as a proud sponsor of his favorite band.

  We will miss you, Brad, and I’m sure we will meet again some sunny day..

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Feb. 2012 "And All That Jazz"

It seems as if 2011 flew by at the speed of light and here we are, already a month into 2012. Are you ready? I know our office is sure buzzing with activity. It will be “Showtime” before we know it.

Oh, and its Leap Year, a kind of “Alice in Wonderland” kind of year; at least they always have been for me and no, I will not say how many of those years I have had.

When you have a few minutes, check the online site About.Com Urban Legends. You will find several amusing tales about the origins of Leap Year.

I mentioned earlier that our office was buzzing with activity. I’m happy to say the phones are ringing and our online sales are doing well. Our Festival managers are dropping by and getting ready to gear up and prepare their crews.

Our Talent Coordinator, John Cocuzzi, has been hard at work fielding inquiries from so many bands that really want to participate in our event. He is booking bands—a very involved process—and all the while keeping an eagle-eye on the budget he has been given to work with. Kudos, John for handling a tough job. Just added to the festival lineup: Dave Bennett & the Memphis Boys, including Hal Smith on drums.
Last—but certainly not least—is something I must share with you. In early December this past year, we mailed a letter to our members and volunteers asking them to join our fund drive that we are calling “39 Going on 40” (39 years of festivals, going for our 40th year in 2013). It was a sincere call for a little financial support. The response has been incredibily positive.

I wish I could thank each of you personally, and in some cases I have. To everyone else, you have my most heartfelt and sincere “thank you.”

We will definitely acknowledge your participation in our official Festival Program.

I want everyone to know how fortunate we are to have your ongoing loyalty and support. I know you all feel the same sense of pride I do. We are all a part of history really. Our event has survived bad weather, poor economies, Kings play-off games, and so many other issues that would have sunk other events. Think about it: we are preparing to produce and present our 39th annual Festival, a true Sacramento tradition. How do we do it people ask? My answer is always the same; we are a dedicated group that takes great pride in what we do and how we do it!

I would be remiss if I did not mention the successes of our Youth Programs. Our Youth Band Festival under the direction of Yvonne Au gains noteriaty each year and our Jazz Education Committee under the direction of Patti Jones, has set the highest of goals for themselves, goals they will achieve.

Take care and I will see you soon. Please pay no mind if my columns are a little abbreviated the next few months. Just remember buzzing.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Dec. 2011 "And All That Jazz"

Does it seem like the entire year of 2011 lasted only two weeks? It sure seems like that to me. Lots of memories, most of them good.

This time of year is traditionally a time to be thankful for the blessings in our lives and—for me—a time to be especially thankful for the support and encouragement I have received from so many of you. It would require pages and pages to name everyone, but you know who you are, and I certainly do. I want to give a special nod to the following friends because they have given so much of their time to help out here in our understaffed office: Nancy Williams, Sue Hackett, Kathy Grimes, Joanne Gannon and Janie Graves. THEN Kathy & Dave Becker, who are always “there” for anyone who needs them. THEN mine and everyone’s favorite Board President, Tom Duff (warehouse locator extraordinaire and all around good guy). John, Jennifer and I truly appreciate you all.

You will be happy to hear that pre-sales for next year’s Festival are doing well. That is always a very good sign. We have received several phone calls from excited fans of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. Yes, they will be here next year. Check our website when you have a chance. You will be pleasantly surprised with the line up so far. There is more to come.

BAND SPONSORS: For those who have asked about sponsoring a band: Yes, you absolutely can. I am always amazed at the number of people who are surprised to learn that we pay all expenses for all of the bands: travel, housing and, of course, gig pay. Entertainment expense is a huge number in our budget. We have been somewhat lax in offering members and fans that sponsorship opportunity. Fans have paid $1500 to sponsor and help offset the cost of their favorite band, and it really did help. Think about it: Are you in a position to help offset the cost of your favorite band? Your name will appear in the festival’s printed program along with your chosen band’s bio and picture. Just so you know, some of the other festivals only bring in bands that are 100% sponsored by their fans.

Please keep us in mind as you look for year-end tax deductions. Your donation to any of our organization’s programs is 100% tax deductible. I want to wish you a wonderful Holiday season filled with all of the magic this season brings.

Till then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Nov. 2011 "And All That Jazz"

It just struck me that we are entering into the season of “Peace on Earth, and Good Will...” and a warm-and-fuzzy time in general. I was prepared to jump on my soap box to preach facts to the rumor mongers who are dispensing inaccurate information—AGAIN—but I decided in light of the upcoming season, I would simply request that they either get their facts straight before speaking, or please cool it and zip it. Thank you.

Now to clarify...
Fellow members: No, the City of Sacramento has not taken over our major fundraiser, the Sacramento Music Festival. We do have a valuable relationship with many divisions of the City. Since day one, they have been—and will continue to be—our strong supporters and partners.

To further clarify...

While the festival offers a variety of music styles (primarily jazz), STJS as an organization is committed to its mission of promoting and preserving traditional jazz through: 1) Trad. Jazz Camps in the summer; 2) the Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival in Feb.; 3) TNT—The New Traditionalists, our STJS-sponsored youth band; 4) annual Music Lesson Awards to pay for traditional jazz education by private instructors; 5) traditional jazz mentoring (for musicians of all ages) in the Tailgate Room at the monthly Jazz Sunday events; and 6) presentation of outstanding guest artists, plus numerous traditional jazz and swing bands in 3 different rooms, from noon to 5pm, at the monthly Jazz Sunday events. Our recent guest, Doug Finke, spoke to our Main Stage audience with high praise for STJS and the great thing we have going here for jazz.

I am always encouraging our members to attend our monthly board meetings. Even if you were to attend only a few meetings per year, it is an excellent way to participate, stay informed, and learn about all STJS activities firsthand—from jazz education to festival planning.

Our office is a hub of activity these days. All of the pre-planning for our major event occurs during the last quarter of each year, on into the spring. In the midst of all the activity, we managed to move out of our old warehouse and into a smaller, much more economical location. We usually do not give mention to businesses unless they are sponsors or partners, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the tremendous job that A Better Moving Co. did for us. It was a HUGE project, and they handled it in a very professional and organized manner. Their employees were incredibly efficient and pleasant to work with. Kudos also to Tom Duff, Dennis Grimes and Ron Swehla. Even Jennifer, our bookkeeper, helped out. It really was a gigantic endeavor, and I love how some of our people just get it done. Tom Duff deserves a special “hats off” and appreciation for a job well done. Thank you!

Many meetings have been scheduled and are coming up soon, so I hope to have much to report to you next month. We have some great surprises in store for trad jazz fans this year, so call the office now for your Early Bird Discount tickets and be automatically entered into our prize drawing to win 4 days in a luxury suite at the Holiday Inn during the festival.
Till then.

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Oct. 2011 "And All That Jazz"

September has come and gone in a whirlwind of activity. Meetings, meetings, and more meetings has been the norm.
I am pretty sure that you have all heard by now that we have changed the name of our major fundraising event, the Sacramento Music Festival. I am also pretty sure you have all heard some of the same comments I have heard. There have been many negative comments, but I am happy to say there have been many more positive comments. The one constant question is, “Why?” The answer to why is that it is time for our name to reflect how the event has evolved over the years into a festival featuring many more musical styles than just jazz. We actually have been a Music Festival for many years but have failed in our efforts to get this word out. We are making a sincere effort to broaden the appeal of the four-day event by shifting some of the focus to other popular forms of American music such as blues, rock ‘n’ roll, Country, rhythm & blues and zydeco.

  It is so important that you, our loyal members, know that the sounds of our wonderful traditional jazz will not go away. In the near future, you will be receiving our first mailing of a 2012 promotional piece, and I am sure you will be delighted with the trad bands you will be enjoying next year—and yes, we have invited Uptown Lowdown, RSJO, Night Blooming Jazzmen, among others you’ve requested.

  We gained several additions to our “team” in September. Bob Williams is the new TNT Director, John Cocuzzi is on board as Talent Coordinator for the Sacramento Music Festival, and Valerie Weinberg will be working on marketing and sponsorship development.

  We have some very busy months ahead of us, but I feel very confident that with our new team in place, and with the continuing support of our Board, we are ready to move forward and produce a record-setting Festival next year. It will be our 39th year, and already there is much excitment whenever we think ahead to 2013 and our big 40th!!
Till next time.

Mark your calendars:
May 25–28, 2012 — Memorial Day Weekend

 

STJS Exec. Director Vivian Abraham
from the Sept. 2011 "And All That Jazz"

“The only constant is change,” professed a wise Greek Philosopher eons ago. How right on he was! When I started to write this note to you, I was reminded again how fortunate I have been to work for and with all of our previous Dirctors: Bill Borcher, Roger Krum, Jill Harper, Gene Berthelsen and Greg Willett, every one of them unique and inspirational. They wore many “hats,” as have I over the last 28 or so years. No one knows better than I how dedicated they were to our remarkable organization.

It is because of their dedication and tireless efforts that our Society has flourished for 43 years, creating very successful youth programs, providing a forum for our local musicians to share their talents with us, and of course, producing one of Sacramento’s premier events, the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee, for 38 consecutive and successful years.

Our Board has appointed me to continue the tradition as Executive Director on an interim basis (or perhaps even longer—we shall see what the fates have in store). Most of you know that I am not stepping into the BIG SHOES as a novice. I served on the Board of Directors for fourteen years: as Secretary, Treasurer and President, respectively. I have also had the privilege of working in several Festival volunteer management positions, and garnered an extensive knowledge of how our major event (the Jazz Festival & Jubilee) is produced.

I welcome your comments and encourage you all to attend our Board meetings to see our governing body at work. I work for the Board, and you have elected the Board to represent the membership and each one of you personally. Get involved; it’s fun and rewarding. We are always looking for good candidates to serve on committees or help with our fundraising efforts, or run for a seat on the Board, etc.

A strong and committed membership is key to the continued success of any organization, and we have been so fortunate to have so many longtime members and supporters; other Arts organizations in our area have not been as fortunate. One of my goals is to reach out to our 2000 or so Festival volunteers who are not members, and strongly encourage them to become members. At one time, our membership was almost 5000 strong. We need to get back to those days.

There are some very exciting plans in the works for upcoming fundraisers, etc. I will look forward to bringing you the latest news every month. Strong and committed is good; well informeed is essential. Till next time then.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Festival:
May 25–28, 2012
Memorial Day Weekend
Read Aug. 23 Press Release

 


 

Greg Willett

STJS Executive Director

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the August 2011 "And All That Jazz"

Some words are more difficult to write than others, and this month’s column is one of those more difficult situations. It is with mixed emotions that I inform you of my decision to step aside as Executive Director of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. Without question, this has been one of the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding years of my professional life. It has been a great honor to hold the title of Executive Director of this wonderful organization. I’ve had the opportunity to work with wonderfully committed and talented people, all united with a common goal and passion. It is purely for personal reasons that I must make this choice. I have every confidence that STJS will continue to be a powerful and successful organization in the community. I look forward to continuing my affiliation with STJS in a volunteer position.

I strongly believe in the mission of STJS. We must continue in our efforts to educate our community about the power and beauty of this music we call jazz. We must always be moving forward with our Jazz Festival & Jubilee. We must keep the music alive for future generations, and it’s through vehicles like the Jazz Festival & Jubilee, and Jazz Sundays, that we’ll be able to do so.

I’m so appreciative of the great people that make up this organization. As a native Sacramentan, I’ve watched the organization go through many changes; despite the successes, setbacks, and challenges, STJS thrives. One need only look to the new generation of great jazz musicians and fans to know that STJS makes a difference in the community. I’ve been around long enough to have watched young children take up an instrument and later go on to become professional musicians and educators. To me, it’s proof that what we do matters. The next time you see and hear great young musicians, take pride, and know that STJS will continue to make a needed difference in our community.
As most folks know, arts-related non-profits throughout the country face several challenges in today’s economy. STJS is no different. As I leave my position, I simply request that each member of the organization ask themselves, “What more can I do?” Every small monetary contribution helps. Every extra hour of volunteer time furthers the mission of the organization. Every new person you introduce to STJS strengthens our community.

Thanks to everyone who makes the commitment. It’s a labor of love, to be sure, but well worth the effort so that Jazz music lives on. And thanks to everyone for the support you’ve given me. Please accept my best wishes for continued success.

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the July 2011 "And All That Jazz"

This year’s Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee is now behind us. It’s time for reflection, wrap-ups, and (while thoughts are still fresh in our mind) putting pen to paper about what we can do to make things even better in 2012. We welcome input from everyone. As you can imagine, I’ve heard from many event attendees about what they enjoyed, and what suggestions they might have for improvement. Please know that every suggestion is important, and while planning for future events, we’ll consider all input. Feel free to e-mail us directly at info@sacjazz.com, drop a note to the office, or give us a call. Several suggestions have already come to the office. Thank you to the folks who have already offered their great ideas.

From the Opening Parade to the Closing Ceremony, it’s very clear that this great event belongs to the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. In the opening moments of the parade, we had a chance to wave goodbye to our dear friend, musician and former Executive Director, Gene Berthelsen. At closing, we had an opportunity to recognize our own Bob Ringwald as Emperor for the 2012 event. It’s only been through the tireless efforts of folks like these that we still have the event. It never ceases to amaze me that every year over 2000 people—some coming from across the country—volunteer their time and energy to make the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee happen. A small staff works on the event for the better part of a year, but it could not happen without the support and efforts of every single volunteer. Thanks to everyone! Let’s pause and appreciate a job well done, for we start work on the 2012 event almost immediately.

Speaking of on-going efforts, be sure to visit our websites often. Both sacjazz.com and sacjazz.org offer amazing amounts of club and Festival information. Take a look at the STJS site (sacjazz.org) where you’ll find an updated schedule of our Jazz in the Park free concert series. We’ve once again teamed up with the City of Sacramento to bring great music to several local parks. This year features a wide selection of musical offerings, and you’ll find location and band details listed on-line. If you don’t have access to a computer, a quick call to the office will get you the info you need.

While we reflect on our recent Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee, and make plans for the the success of the 2012 edition, let’s all remember that there’s several things that happen in between. STJS Trad. Jazz Camp starts next month. Jazz Sunday offers great music every month. A new version of TNT convenes early in the school year. Then there’s the Crab Feed, the Trad. Jazz Youth Band Festival, ongoing fundraising... The list goes on and on. Each takes strong commitment and support. Call the office today (916.372.5277), and let us know how you can help make the organization stronger. Thank you!

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the June 2011 "And All That Jazz"

Here it is, just a few short weeks away from the 38th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee. I’ve been blessed by the opportunity to work with so many fantastically dedicated and talented folks this year. They deserve the credit for what will surely be a memorable event. All that’s left are the details. As you can well imagine, there’s plenty of those!

I specifically want to thank my amazing staff here in the office. I’ve mentioned the volunteers that work in the office in past columns. This month, I want to highlight the dedication and endless hard work of our business manager, Vivian Abraham, and our bookkeeper, Jennifer Colindres. Simply stated, there would be no Festival & Jubilee without their contributions. I could write an entire column about each of their contributions and not cover most of what they do. Suffice it to say, in large part, it’s because of Vivian and Jennifer we’re having this annual party! When you see them, be sure to let them know you appreciate their hard work.

It’s been an exciting run for me as Executive Director. As you know, there’s more to this position than just the Festival & Jubilee. As an example, I’m right in the middle of booking some groups for our annual “Jazz in the Park” free-concert series. We’d love to see some of you there. Look for a complete schedule in next month’s newsletter, or better still, look on-line at www.sacjazz.org where we’ll post as soon as we can. Speaking of the websites and newsletter/e-news, I’m sure you’ll agree that they look great. Special thanks to Nancy Giffin for all of the work in making sure everything we need is there!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the businesses in the community that help support the Jazz Festival & Jubilee. You can look for yourself at www.sacjazz.com which businesses are contributing to the success of the event. Just in case you don’t have access to the website: special thanks to Set It Aside recycling, the Golden 1 Credit Union (our major sponsor), ACE Hardware, Skip’s Music, Del Webb Homes, the Music Exchange, the CA Lottery, the CA Railroad Museum (a part of CA State Parks), Drexel University, and of course, Coors (DBI Beverage). Among others, these are the businesses that truly deserve our thanks and appreciation.

I have a request, and I believe this is the second time I’m making it. I’m still looking for volunteers to help out with a fundraising opportunity where STJS has joined forces with Set It Aside recycling. If you can donate a few hours of time, once or twice a month (typically on weekend afternoons), please call the office at 916.372.5277 and let me know. Thanks to the folks who have already volunteered their valuable time. I’m looking forward to seeing some new faces. Remember, a few hours of your time can really impact the financial well-being of the organization. Thanks in advance. I look forward to your call when I’ll explain how simple and easy your responsibility will be. Let’s all have a great time at the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee!

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the May 2011 "And All That Jazz"

One month away! Can you believe how quickly Memorial Day Weekend is approaching? Everyone at the STJS Office—staff members and volunteers alike—are excited about our upcoming 38th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee. This year looks to be another great festival with music that appeals to one and all. Of course, we’re featuring some of the best traditional jazz artists on the planet. In addition, you’ll see and hear some of your favorite local talents, not only from the jazz world, but from the related worlds of zydeco, blues, western swing, straight-ahead jazz, even a bit of rock & roll. Our event surely offers something for everyone. I trust all members have their tickets in hand. I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Please join me in thanking some of the key sponsors for the 2011 Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee. I mentioned in an earlier column some of the important returning Sponsors. Let me remind you that we need to support our Sponsors so that they can continue to offer their support for the Festival & Jubilee. We’re proud to have Golden 1 Credit Union back as the Major Sponsor. This year, we have some new businesses that have stepped-up to help us, despite a challenging economy. Thanks to Alaska Airlines, Set It Aside, Drexel University, Coors, the California State Railroad Museum, Ace Hardware, and (for donating the use of three spectacular Yamaha Grand Pianos) the Music Exchange. Special thanks also go to our newest Sponsor: Del Webb and Pulte Homes. If you see someone with a “Sponsor” badge at this year’s Jazz Festival & Jubilee, be sure to give them a quick “thank you.”

As you can imagine, almost all our focus is on the upcoming Festival & Jubilee, but let’s not lose focus on another important mission of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society: to promote jazz music. With that in mind, why not introduce some new people to the Jazz Society? Invite them along for some great music at Jazz Sunday. Or ask them to pack their lawn chairs and picnics to come out and hear a variety of bands sponsored by STJS at our summer “Jazz in the Park” concert series (co-sponsored by the City of Sacramento). There are lots of young people in our community who haven’t yet been exposed to jazz. Let’s make it a point to introduce those folks to something special. Start with Miss Margie & the Hot Five on May 15 at Cabrillo Park (1825 67th Ave., Sac.) from 6–8pm.

Remember that your membership is important. If it’s out of date, or you want to introduce some new folks to membership, please call the office and ask for Membership Chairs Dave and Kathy Becker (seen regularly at the monthly Raffle Table). Membership is both an honor and a privilege. Not only can it be fun, it ultimately helps build a better, stronger community.

Gene Berthelsen

SUDDEN SAD NEWS AT PRESS TIME:

By now, you’ve heard the news of the passing of former Executive Director Gene Berthelsen. Gene’s gentle spirit and kindhearted approach to life should serve as a lesson for us all. No one will forget his passion and skill as a musician, nor his ability to make us all smile. We remember, fondly, the sweet sounds coming from his horn, and the jokes he would tell. It’s never easy to say “goodbye.” We do so today with tears in our eyes, and joy in our hearts for having known such a fine person. Thank you, Gene! You will remain an inspiration to everyone. [See special tribute in the next “AATJ” issue.]

Read Gene's Messages from 2008–2009

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the April 2011 "And All That Jazz"

As you all know, the 38th annual Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee is but a few short months away. We have a few less folks in the office this year, and everyone is quite busy making sure this year’s event will be a success. Bands are contracted. Sites are reserved. Sponsors are on board. Tickets are selling. Although it’s oftentimes a bit crazed around here, the excitement of bringing together a world class event keeps us all motivated and excited.

Speaking of excitement, be sure to get your Jazz Festival & Jubilee tickets as soon as you can. Remember that the STJS Members’ Discount ends April 10th, 2011 (Jazz Sunday). It’s your last chance to take advantage of the Members’ Discount of $95. While you’re at it, buy a few for your family and friends to join you. You’ll give a memorable gift and create some wonderful memories together. Note for all you collectors: We’re bringing back the large metal buttons for All-Events badges! This year’s button will be bright and colorful.

I mentioned Sponsors a bit earlier. I’d like to recognize some of the important Festival and Jubilee Sponsors and request that if you’re in need of a service any of them provide, please help support the efforts of STJS by supporting them. Golden 1, as in years past, is back as our Major Sponsor. Drexel University is back as sponsor of the second annual Drexel University Jazz Master Class Series. Look for four exciting lectures scheduled during the Festival & Jubilee in this exciting series: Frederick Hodges will lead an engaging lecture and presentation of the art of piano accompaniment to silent films (to be held at the California State Railroad Museum theater); Steve Homan will speak about the history of Jazz Guitar; Mick Martin will talk about the relationship of Jazz and Blues music; and Mike McMullen will comment on the resurgence of the clarinet in jazz today. All lectures, other than Frederick’s presentation at the Railroad Museum, will take place on the Drexel campus next to the Tower Bridge in Old Sac. Look to the website or event program for details.

Special thanks to the Music Exchange for their generous donation of three grand pianos during the event. Also, Ace Hardware is back for their second year as a sponsor. Of course, we’re so appreciative of the good folks at Set It Aside Recycling, Alaska Airlines, the CA Lottery, DBI Beverage and the CA State Railroad Museum. Be good to all of them—they’re so important to the success of the Jazz Festival & Jubilee.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village.” It’s so true in putting together an event such as our Jazz Festival & Jubi-lee. It takes a village of committed, dedicated volunteers like yourselves to make this event a success. Thanks to one and all. We’ll see you Memorial Day Weekend!

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the March 2011 "And All That Jazz"

This past weekend, I had the honor of attending the 6th annual Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival. This is what it’s all about, folks: amazing music played by the jazz musicians of tomorrow—and they hold their own even as youth musicians! Special thanks to Festival Director Steve Roach, and Festival Coordinator Yvonne Au for making this event truly special. STJS strives to educate the community about traditional jazz, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the Youth Band Festival. We heard some truly special musicians, but also enjoyed the feedback and evaluations by the clinicians (locally and nationally recognized jazz stars). If you missed it, plan on getting an early ticket for 2012. Also, special thanks to the tireless volunteers that helped make the event a success.

How about that Crab Feed? Once again, Paula Vance (with huge help from Kathy Becker and a team of committed volunteers) put together a wonderful event that ultimately benefits the causes of STJS. It’s always wonderful to get together to eat a big meal, enjoy a drink or two, and of course, listen to great music. The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band rocked the house and had folks tapping their toes or dancing the night away. Be sure to catch one of their sets at the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee.

Speaking of the Sac. Jazz Festival & Jubilee, plans are coming along. Look for the second year of partnering with the Northern California Ace Dealers (your local ACE Hardware Store). We’re working with the folks from Alaska Airlines, too. Check out Alaska Airline’s super cheap rates from Sacramento to Hawaii—but not before you get your Festival & Jubilee tickets!

Be sure to patronize the businesses that help the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee carry on: (to name a few) The Golden 1 Credit Union, the good folks from DBI (Coors and Coors Light), the CA State Railroad Museum (a part of CA State Parks), Set It Aside recycling, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (S.M.A.C.) I’ll keep you posted about other new Sponsor Partners. You can always catch the latest Festival and Jubilee news at www.sacjazz.com

While you’re at it, check out www.sacjazz.org and sign-up for the SacJazz-E-News (if you haven’t already). The E-News offers timely news with full-color images, and active links to relevant websites and information. If you signed up but haven’t received it, there may be a problem with your e-mail address; please write and let us know at <editor@sacjazz.org> Thanks to Nancy Giffin for volunteering to put together a great monthly e-blast (in addition to all the other things she does)!

Be sure to check out Jazz Sunday in March and April. With world renowned guests like Allan Vaché and Dan Barrett, great music and good times are, once again, guaranteed!

Last month, I acknowledged some key volunteers that donate their time and efforts in the STJS Office. I neglected to mention Linda LaFranchi! Thanks, Linda. Your help at the office and at the Festival & Jubilee are so very important...and appreciated!

I love and appreciate the spirit of volunteerism and passionate support for jazz music that I get to see everyday. Thanks to all of you who help keep this music alive, and for helping to bring smiles to so many people!

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the February 2011 "And All That Jazz"

Happy New Year!

Plans for the 2011 Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee are well underway. You’ll see several of your favorite bands come Memorial Day Weekend, and of course, you’ll see a few surprises, too. Get your tickets early. Be ready to have a great time!

Thanks to the good folks at Golden 1 Credit Union for once again stepping-up and becoming the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee’s Major Sponsor. Frankly, the event would not be possible if not for the support we get from our Sponsors. Please patronize the businesses that help support the efforts of STJS.

We’ll be partnering with the NorCal ACE Group, again, this year. Need to visit a hardware store? Make it an ACE Dealer Store.

Remember that it’s almost tax season, and once again, we’ve partnered with the good folks at H&R Block. If you need tax help this season, see the professionals at H&R Block. But first, call the office for your referral form (download Referral Form); STJS gets a $25 cash donation from H&R for each new client we refer. Tax time isn’t everyone’s favorite time of year, but our relationship with H&R Block can make it a little less painful.

We have new face in the office these days. Jim Caselli, a local marketing expert (who happens to be a fine drummer, as well) has stepped in to help in the STJS marketing efforts. Jim’s only able to come in once a week, and as you can imagine, his day’s quite full with helping to generate a buzz about the upcoming Festival & Jubilee, and other important STJS efforts like Jazz Sunday or our annual Crab Feed. Say hello if you see Jim in the office.

I’d like to send out a special thanks to all the wonderful folks that help out around the STJS Office. We have a dedicated team of volunteers that work at the front desk, and others that tirelessly commit their time and energy to making STJS a great place to work. Thanks to Kathy Grimes, Joanne Gannon, Nancy Williams and Kathy Becker. Also, big thanks to Bruce MacNeill, who does just about everything at the office, and always with a smile. We wouldn’t be here without all of your efforts. And on that note about great volunteerism, if you have the time and would like to help make a difference, please call the office and let us know when and how you’d like to help. With the Festival & Jubilee just around the corner, there’s always lots to do!

Please join me in thanking our Artistic Director, John Cocuzzi, for a job well done. John has chosen to resign his duties as Artistic Director as of December 31st, 2010. His music schedule has made it challenging to meet the demands of the position. John’s talent and help were largely instrumental to the success of the 2010 Sacramento Jazz Festival and Jubilee. He’s also helped to shape the musical line-up for 2011. We are appreciative, wish him well in his career, and look forward to the next time we see him on stage. Thanks again, John.

Here’s to a great 2011!

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
from the Dec.'10/Jan.'11 "And All That Jazz"

Hello all. I’d like to take this time to address a few important issues: (1) the need for volunteerism, and (2) some of the reasons we make the challenging decisions we do. I’ll do my best to quickly and clearly address both.

As you all know, a non-profit organization like the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society runs only with the help of an outstanding volunteer base. There are very few staff members, and there’s always more work than the staff can handle by itself. Thank goodness for the wonderful volunteers that we do have! Come to the office and you’ll find a crew of front-desk volunteers, as well as general office workers who help out with chores and maintenance. We are truly grateful.

I’m looking for a volunteer or two that would like to help out with some guerilla marketing efforts. Our Marketing Director, Scott Kaufman, recently resigned his duties with STJS, although he still plans to help out with marketing and the Swing Dance Competition at the Jazz Festival & Jubilee. In Scott’s absence, we have a need (especially as we get closer to the 2011 Jazz Festival & Jubilee) to help out with duties such as handing out flyers (ads for Festival & Jubilee) at area events. If you are interested in helping out or have a particular talent for marketing and would like to volunteer, please call me personally at the office, (916) 372-5277, ext 11.

Many folks have expressed their thoughts about the music we bring to the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee. It seems everyone has a special band or two that they want to see at the next year’s event. It certainly would be great if we could make sure that every band gets in every year. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. We make challenging decisions each year, based on a variety of factors (what kind of music, how much the band costs, where they are from, who will like the band, how popular they are, etc.). I’ve learned an important lesson in my time here at STJS: no matter what bands are selected, someone is going to wish we had brought another group. I understand that way of thinking. I have my favorite bands, too. But please remember that the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee is, first and foremost, a fundraiser for STJS. Consequently, we base our decisions on what makes the most sense to insure a successful fundraiser.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the past, our Festival was fortunate to have United Airlines as a sponsor that covered all our airfare costs. When they could no longer sponsor us, we again were fortunate to have Southwest covering at least a portion of our airfare costs. Unfortunately, for the past two years, we have had NO airline sponsors! This has monumentally affected our budget, making it impossible to bring as many bands as we’d like to (esp. those from across the country or “across the pond”).

For several years, we were consistently losing a share of Festival & Jubilee audiences. Similarly, other jazz festivals throughout the country have been forced to close due to declining audiences and shrinking revenues. We want to make sure that our festival doesn’t have to face the same demise. Of course, we will always feature traditional jazz, but we need to attract new audiences to insure success for years to come. Sometimes, that means making tough and complex decisions.

YOU can help insure our success: Become a band “Booster” so you can have input on what bands are invited. Donate directly to STJS, or simply drop us a note with your thoughts about what you want to see. I assure you, we read and listen to all suggestions, and do our best to put together a Jazz Festival & Jubilee that is both fun...and profitable.
Please have a joyous and safe Holiday Season.

 

STJS Exec. Director Greg Willett
1st message – November 2010 "And All That Jazz"

As your new Executive Director, my first order of business is to say thanks for the opportunity to work with all of you. I just got back from Jazz Sunday and was thrilled to see so many passionate jazz fans. I met several fine folks and look forward to meeting many more over the coming months. I’m truly excited by a number of things STJS has going on. I’m fully aware that there’s lots to be done, and I’m excited by the challenges in front of me. I maintain a great deal of respect and appreciation for everyone’s efforts over the past several years. I’m looking forward to doing what I can to build upon the successes of past years. Please know that I always maintain an open door policy; your insights, history, and experiences can only help me in my efforts. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might contribute.

As your Development Director for the past year, I’ve met literally hundreds of people within the organization. I’ve been impressed by their commitment to the organization and for their passion in preserving jazz music. I look to build on those passions. I hope to introduce new people to STJS, and with the help of Membership Directors Dave and Kathy Becker, to increase the number of active members.

Special thanks to our outgoing Executive Director, Jill Harper. What can I say about Jill? She lives and breathes STJS. Her hard work and vision are clearly apparent in the excellent work she has done as Executive Director, and I’m thrilled that she has offered to stay on as a consultant to the jazz office.

Special thanks are in order for our new Board President, too. Tom Duff and I talked about updating the STJS office. I’m excited to tell you that we applied a fresh coat of paint to the main rooms of the office on Saturday, October 9th. Tom brought in some great volunteers, and I was able to get the good folks at Sherwin-Williams to donate the paint and supplies. Thanks to Ron Swehla, too, for his help in acquiring some furniture from the good folks at Kaiser Hospital. New paint, new furniture—wow—I’m looking forward to having our members, clients, vendors, and staff enjoy the new changes. Thanks to everyone involved for helping to make this project a success.

As I look to the future, I wonder what’s in store. We’re facing a challenging economy. We’re all struggling to keep up with the never-ending changes in technology. All of us know family or friends that are looking for work, or otherwise having troubles meeting their financial obligations. To some it may seem bleak; to me, it’s all an opportunity—an opportunity to learn, to grow, to live, and to laugh. At the end of the day, it’s about the music that we all love. Music has the power to change lives. Let’s celebrate jazz music. Let’s do our part to preserve the sounds and introduce the music to folks that aren’t familiar with jazz. Let’s change some lives for the better!

 


 

Jill Harper, Exec. Director

STJS Executive Director
Jill Harper

 

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
Farewell – October 2010 "And All That Jazz"

I can’t believe how fast time flies! When I agreed to return as Exec. Dir. after Gene Berthelsen left last year, it was to be an interim appointment. As we approached the Jazz Festival & Jubilee, it didn’t seem to be a good time for a change in leadership. Now, over a year has passed, and it’s time for me to turn the reins over to someone else. I will be resigning the position of Executive Director effective October 1st.

The Board of Directors has made a wise choice, I believe, in selecting Greg Willett to fulfill the role as your new Executive Director. Greg is a musician who is completely dedicated to STJS, its education programs and festival. He has years of marketing and public relations experience in Sacramento, relates well to people, and has passion and enthusiasm for our mission: to preserve and promote traditional jazz. As many of you know, Greg was a volunteer with our festival’s Public Relations Committee for eight years before joining the staff at the Jazz Office. In addition, Greg has been a loyal Festival & Jubilee attendee since the age of eleven.

I will remain as an Administrative Consultant, overseeing the financial aspect of the organization and helping Greg understand the complexity of our numerous programs. I will also oversee the grants and their reporting requirements. I intend to remain actively involved with the Education Committee, as this is truly where my passion is—the education of young musicians in “our music.”

I can’t thank all of you enough for your support and encouragement; this is a job that requires it. If I started thanking each person individually, I would definitely go over my allotted word count; just know that you are all very much appreciated. I especially want to thank our office staff: Vivian Abraham, Jennifer Colindres, Scott Kaufman, John Cocuzzi, and Greg Willett, who really made an effort this year to be a cohesive team.

I would also like to recognize some folks who resigned this year: Felix Smith has resigned as Membership Chair. He has done a marvelous job with this committee and is assisting the new Chair, Dave Becker, with the transition. Bill Evans has devoted a great number of years to STJS, both as a festival volunteer and as the Facilities Coordinator for the Jazz Camps. His work in these areas is invaluable. We couldn’t have done so much without him. Linda Cousins managed our bar operation at the festival for a number of years and was able bring her organizational skills to her job in a way that allowed us to analyze this operation effectively.

One last thing: We could still use a volunteer with experience in database management (Access) here in the office, and we are definitely still looking for someone to sell advertising—both for the “AATJ” each month and for the festival program.

We are currently in the process of networking our computers, painting the office and generally bringing STJS into the 21st century. You will all be invited to come and see it when the work is done. Thanks again, see you at Jazz! 2

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
from the September 2010 "And All That Jazz"

As you can imagine, the office is hard at work in preparation for next year’s Jazz Festival & Jubilee. We’ve met with several of the 2010 event managers and are set to meet with several more, all in an effort to better understand the challenges that our managers face. We’ve learned a lot and now will be able to implement changes that will make the 2011 event better than ever. The Talent Selection Committee is also busy at work. I think you’ll be excited about some of the talent we’re planning to bring next year.

Remember that the more we know about you, the better we can “target” the music and attractions that you’ll want to see at the Sac. Jazz Festival and Jubilee in 2011. Please take the time to tell us about yourself by filling-out the online survey at <sacjazz.com/survey.php>. Tell your friends. The information you provide helps us do our job better.

Did you know STJS is “going green?” The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is teaming up with Set It Aside, a locally-run business that is in business to help save the environment...and to put some money back into your (or your favorite non-profit’s) pocket. You’re likely already recycling. Set It Aside’s program allows you to recycle, but in a way that truly benefits STJS.

Here’s how it works: You can register (on-line) directly with Set It Aside (at www.setitaside.com) or through the STJS office. Check your inbox for a confirmation from sacramentorecycling.org and add them to your Contacts so messages (especially your confirmation) won’t end up in your Junk Mail.

Once you register, and Set It Aside has enough people in your neighborhood who sign up (which so far has happened pretty quickly), Set It Aside will contact you and let you know your pick up dates. Since they don’t yet cover my area, Auburn, I will be bringing my recyclables to the office for pickup here. You could do the same if you wish. Set It Aside provides you with containers to put your recyclables in, and then picks them up from you on a bi-weekly basis. Afterwards, they provide you with a tally of what was picked up. Once you have accumulated over $15.00 in recyclables, Set It Aside mails you (or STJS) a check. You decide what portion of your check goes back to STJS (from none to all), and Set It Aside takes their share, which is fair since they do most of the work. It’s as simple as that. Even if you choose to have all the remaining money returned to you, STJS benefits from a referral fee. You can’t lose...and STJS can only win! As of this writing, Set It Aside’s program reimburses for recyclables such as aluminum cans and CRV bottles (plastic and glass).

In addition, Set It Aside will send you newsletters on additional items you can recycle, money saving tips, and other information that will help you and the environment. So as you can see: it’s simple; doesn’t require anything additional on your part after you register; and you save time, effort, and the environment while getting yourself and STJS some much needed cash in this tight economy. What are you waiting for? Register today at www.setitaside.com/, and start helping your environment...and STJS. Thanks for your support; keep on jazzin’.

 

Greg Willett, Dir. of Sponsorships
from the August 2010 "And All That Jazz"

First off, thanks to everyone who had a hand in making the 2010 Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee a success. I took notice of everyone’s commitment and passion over the course of the event and truly appreciate each person for their time and individual efforts. If you don’t hear it often enough, let me say outright: thank you, thank you, thank you! We can’t present such a large-scale event without your support.

The staff in the STJS Office is making a concerted effort this year to meet with each of the managers from the Festival & Jubilee. We’re trying not to let too much time pass so that when we meet, thoughts are still fresh in everyone’s mind. And we want all thoughts: what worked best this year, what didn’t work, how can we improve for next year’s event? If you’d like to share your thoughts, and we haven’t yet had an opportunity to meet, please call the office @ (916) 372-5277 to schedule a mutually agreeable time. We’ve already learned some important ways that we can improve the event for next year, and look forward to learning more. Thanks again!

Corporate support in the form of sponsorship is an essential ingredient in making our festival a success. As you can imagine, the folks that make the decision as to whether or not to support our event want to know exactly who attends the Festival & Jubilee. In order to justify their support, especially in a stressful, economic environment, they want to know the specifics, e.g. “How old are these Festival goers?” “How much education have these folks had?” “Where do they live?”
We’ve been challenged in recent years to be able to paint an exact picture of our audience to potential sponsors. In order to accurately get the information, we’ve implemented a two-step plan: (1) we made a concerted effort to survey information at the 2010 Jazz Festival & Jubilee. Special thanks to Patricia and Brian Schmeltz for their tireless help in compiling the information. (2) We’re still in need of additional information from as many people as we can get! To that end, we’ve created an online survey accessible from a link on the website: sacjazz.com (“Newsroom” section); also at sacjazz.org in the right-hand column). We ask that you all take a few minutes to complete the requested information regarding the 2010 Festival & Jubilee. Your information will not be shared, and it can remain completely anonymous if you so choose. Thanks in advance for your help in this important endeavor.

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
from the July 2010 "And All That Jazz"

I have had many, many calls, notes, and e-mails about how great the festival was this year! Thank you for contacting us! Having been to each one since 1974, I can say this is right up there as one of the best festivals ever. I’m sure you all have your favorites; some of mine were Louis Ford, New Orleans Ale Stars, New Lowdown, Quebe Sisters Band, RedSkunk Jipzee Swing and way more—too many to even mention. It was truly a great lineup! We all owe a huge THANK YOU to the amazing volunteers who help us present this festival; it couldn’t be done without them.

Naturally, folks are still missing the international bands and Cal Expo. Most of you know that our contract with Cal Expo expired and they wanted a substantial increase with a clause that gave them a further increase any time we raised our prices. We just didn’t feel we could afford to continue there, especially if we could never recoup the expense by raising our prices.

As far as the international bands go: Since 9/11, there is considerable red tape in bringing talent from outside the United States, except for Canada. There are forms for Homeland Security (with a fee) and Immigration (with a fee), Visas (with a fee) much higher airfare (including charges for baggage and instruments), plus payment for the band, including housing. We estimate that an international band costs $20,000 or more depending on the size of the band and how long they stay in the Sacramento area. This is a substantial portion of our talent budget, especially since we no longer have an airline sponsor. So if a group of you want international bands, you can help make it happen by having a fundraiser.

We are busy in the office cleaning up and doing all the post-Jubilee work that needs to be done each year following the festival. We are paying vendors, invoicing bands for CD sales, and all the other ongoing tasks that keep us busy all year long. We are also busy getting ready for the camp benefit concert on August 28 at the Radisson Hotel, 7:00 p.m. with the Desert Cities Jazz Band featuring Debby Boone and Hal Linden. $40 for members, $45 non-members, and $50 at the door. TICKETS are now available at the Office and online at sacjazz.org. Debby Boone will be doing a tribute to her mother-in-law, Rosemary Clooney. The Desert Cities Jazz Band is a wonderful aggregation of top-flight musicians from Southern California. I’ve heard their CD and can’t wait for the concert to arrive.

We could use some additional volunteer help in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. If you have good telephone skills, computer skills, etc. and are interested in a long-term volunteer position, call me at the office. We are also looking for someone to sell advertising for the AATJ. This person needs to develop relationships with other festivals and businesses that would benefit from an ad in AATJ. Again, call the office if you’re interested. With both these positions, you can fulfill your volunteer requirements before the festival and just enjoy the music!

Last, but not least, I want to send a big thank you to Jim Roberson, outgoing President, for leading us through some trying financial times. His expertise made the difference in our survival. Also, thank you to outgoing board members Cathy Blubaugh and Shelley Burns; they approached their job with dedication and responsibility.

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
from the June 2010 "And All That Jazz"

Wow, 37 years and counting. Who of us could have imagined back in late 1973, when we were planning that first festival, we would still be around. Of course, the festival hasn’t happened yet as I write this, but with all the great things planned for this year, I’m sure it was amazing! As we wrap up all the details from this year, we are already making plans for 2011.

I’m looking forward to Jazz Sunday—watching and listening to Bria Skonberg. Bria is a great player and vocalist, and a stunning example of what happens when we support young musicians. STJS Elections are also scheduled for this meeting, and it’s important that you learn about the various candidates and vote for those you feel most qualified to help run the society. (Election info is on page 6-7.) The Election Committee did an outstanding job this year in selecting a slate. Now it’s your turn; please vote. If you can’t attend Jazz Sunday, fill out an Absentee Ballot Request (pg. 15).

Next up are the STJS Trad. Jazz Camps. The youth camp runs from July 25-31 with a rousing concert at the Dante Club on the final day. Performers include not only the kids, but The Professors. Tickets are a mere $7 donation, and you not only will be helping support the camp, but your presence will let these young musicians know that traditional jazz has an appreciative audience. The adult camp runs from August 2-7, and it’s a barrel of fun. There are still some openings in all areas, so if you’ve always wanted to play jazz—or play jazz better—call the office for registration. For info, visit the online “camp site” at sacjazzcamp.org/

Next up in August is a baseball game: Sac. Jazz Night at the River Cats. It is Thursday evening, August 19 at 7pm, and tickets are just $15—also available at the office. STJS will get some great exposure with this; a band playing, our name on the electronic billboard and an opportunity to throw out the first pitch. They'll be hosting the Iowa Cubs.

Also in August, on Saturday the 28th, is the benefit concert for the Jazz Camps featuring the Desert Cities Jazz Band. The President’s column has also talked about this so I’ll just say I’ve heard the band and it’s amazing. Tickets are $40 for members, $45 for non-members, and $50 at the door. The concert will be at the Radisson Hotel Ballroom with loads of free parking. Here’s another great way to support the camps and hear some world-class music at the same time.

As you can see, although the festival is over, the party continues. Support as much as you can. It’s up to us to keep the music alive.

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Greg Willett, Sponsorships Dir.
from the May 2010 "And All That Jazz"

The Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee is almost here! Wow! The office is filled with excitement, activity, and yes, even a bit of stress. It’s all for the good, though, as this year’s event has some exciting changes in store.

Let me take a moment to thank some key businesses helping to make this year’s Festival & Jubilee a success. First, thanks to our longtime sponsor, The Golden 1 Credit Union. Local and national businesses in our market have had to make incredibly tough financial decisions in the past few years; our sponsors are no exception. We’re thrilled The Golden 1 is back as a sponsor for our Festival & Jubilee in 2010. You’ll see the familiar Golden 1 ATM on location, again, in Old Sacramento. If you see someone from The Golden 1, be sure to thank them. Better yet, stop by one of their convenient locations and open up an account.

Say hello to our newest sponsor, Drexel University. Their sponsorship adds a compelling new element: Drexel University’s Jazz Master Class, a lecture series about the significance of jazz music, dance, and related styles. Drexel University is located immediately adjacent to Old Sacramento, footsteps from several Festival stages. Check this year’s Festival & Jubilee program for exact times to catch the Jazz Master Class Series, held on location at the University. The Jazz Master Class Series will cover a wide variety of topics including ragtime, contemporary jazz, swing dancing, blues, and the culture and music of New Orleans. We’re proud that some of the most sought-after experts in their fields have offered to speak at the series.

The NorCal Ace Retailer Group, your friends at your local Ace Dealer, are helping the Jazz Festival & Jubilee in a big way: they’re selling tickets for us at their stores during the few weeks leading up to the Festival & Jubilee. When you’re in their stores, let them know we appreciate the support! Try your luck at the California Lottery trailer. Lottery folks are on location, again, in Old Sacramento. Thanks to the Lottery for their on-going support. Need a new car? Then check out another new sponsor: the Northern California Ford Dealers will be displaying a few of their newest vehicles directly in front of the Firehouse Lot.

Mark your calendars for the Thursday Night Kickoff Party featuring two bands you won’t be able to see at the Festival: The California Honeydrops from San Francisco start the show with their infectious brand of jazz, blues and swing, followed by Aftershock, a local band whose high-energy music is sure to keep the party going. Great food, drinks and music—a truly wonderful evening to launch this year’s Festival & Jubilee. Tickets are $20, available at the door, on-line, or by calling the office: 916.372.5277.

Thanks to you, too. Without the help and support of our faithful members, great volunteers and wonderful sponsors, there would be no Festival & Jubilee. Thanks to all!

 

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
from the April 2010 "And All That Jazz"

Wow, where do I start? March Jazz Sunday was amazing, from the performance by the Sacramento Youth Band’s Jazz Band to the vocalists, to Frederick Hodges, who does things on a piano that seem impossible to me! April should be as fine with another marvelous pianist, John Sheridan.

Our president mentions the Thursday Night Kickoff Party in his column (page 3), but please check out the full details at our website: www.sacjazz.com/. It should be a real blast!

The office is fairly humming these days with the program and schedule being finalized for the printer, and all the other myriad details that go into presenting the festival. John Cocuzzi and Vince Bartels have scheduled some interesting changes this year. Some of the more advanced Next Generation bands will be scheduled into regular venues, while some of the family and children-friendly groups will be scheduled on the Family Stage. They have also scheduled party bands for the last set of the night at Firehouse Lot and Freeway Gardens—all three nights of the festival—at a “single set” price.

Greg Willett continues to sell, sell, sell... and we have a few exciting new sponsors this year in addition to our longtime favorites. Drexel University, located at the end of Old Sacramento, is sponsoring a Jazz Master Class Series of lectures on various aspects of jazz, from Ragtime through New Orleans to contemporary. We have terrific presenters lined up, and it should be a huge draw.

Scott Kaufman continues to refine our marketing strategies, including a musical and swing dancing presence at Second Saturdays in March, April and May. We have an enticing club card advertising some of our offerings that should appeal to a younger audience. In our effort to be more frugal, our All-Events admission this year will be a lanyard and laminated badge, to which you can still attach your Booster ribbon!

Our Election Committee is working hard to come up with a talented slate of candidates for the Board of Directors. I think you’ll find some difficult choices as you decide who will get your vote. And please vote; it’s your club, and you have the power to choose board members who will continue to move the society forward in the 21st Century. Elections are at the June meeting. If you’ll be out of town, please request an absentee ballot. Also, make sure your membership is current so you can vote.

"Jazz in the Park" concerts are being scheduled both earlier and later than usual. The first one will be over when you receive this newsletter, but you can catch Catfish & the Crawdaddies at Robla Park on April 18. The schedule for the rest of the year is listed below and will be on the STJS website calendar. Thanks again to The Golden 1 and the City of Sacramento for co-sponsoring these concerts with us.

 

STJS Exec. Director Jill Harper
from the March 2010 "And All That Jazz"

I can’t believe how fast the time is flying toward our 37th Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee. As you can imagine, there’s a flurry of activity in the office. Greg Willet is finalizing sponsor agreements and assisting with many other tasks relating to the money side of our organization. He will be overseeing the various donor programs such as Boosters, Friends of STJS, donations to the various youth education programs, and overseeing the group sales efforts for the festival. He’s so competent; we just can’t seem to stop giving him extra work to do!

John Cocuzzi has finalized the contracting process and is busy working with Vince Bartels on the scheduling. It’s a daunting task and one that requires a lot of concentration trying to fit the appropriate bands for each venue.
Scott Kaufman, our Marketing Director, is busy working on the program and all the other little details of our marketing and PR efforts. Watch for an STJS presence at Second Saturdays in March, April and May. If you haven’t already done so, please check out the festival Facebook page and festival webpage at www.sacjazz.com/

On another note, the Board of Directors attended a retreat on Saturday, February 6,. Drexel University is one of our sponsors for this year’s festival and kindly donated use of their facility for our retreat. One of the outcomes was the recognition that we need a Volunteer Coordinator to develop a pool of volunteers as resources, including folks to help get the word out—in a variety of ways and at a variety of places—about our festival and other programs. This position would take a few hours each week at the office, and require knowledge of the various jobs in our organization. If this sounds like a job you might be interested in, please give me a call at the office.

As I hear more about local schools cutting or eliminating music programs, it seems critical that we treasure and support our jazz education programs. Currently, we have auditions for Music Lesson Awards on March 6, weekly rehearsals for TNT, and applications for Jazz Camp coming in. Our youth performers at Jazz Sunday are getting better and better. If you love this music, please consider donating to our youth programs. I make a small monthly donation ($10) to both KVIE and Capital Public Radio on my credit card, and I don’t miss it at all—but they truly appreciate it.

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Greg Willett, Sponsorships Dir.
from the Feb. 2010 "And All That Jazz"

Happy New Year to one and all.
2010’s going to be a great year!

A few notes from the STJS Office:

There’s a lot of excitement about several new things going on at the Jazz office. Most of the bands/musicians for the 2010 Festival & Jubilee have been decided upon. Big thanks to John Cocuzzi for his work in making the calls and getting the contracts out. In addition to some great returning acts, John’s got a few surprises in store, sure to make the 2010 an event to remember.

2009, as everyone well knows, was a challenging year. Non-profit groups throughout the country have faced serious financial decisions, and it doesn’t appear that 2010 will be any different. Although STJS hasn’t been immune to similar challenges, efforts are well under way to make sure we can weather any storm. Under Executive Director Jill Harper’s watchful eye, several new directives are in place at the Jazz office, all of which are designed to make sure the Society can continue in its important mission, and of course, that the Jazz Festival & Jubilee can flourish for years to come.

With the fantastic reputation, success and notoriety of the Jazz Festival & Jubilee, it’s sometimes easy to forget about one of the most basic goals of our great organization: to educate the community about the wonders of jazz music. Our organization does so much more than put on a four-day festival once a year. While it’s true that we do produce a world-class jazz festival, it’s important to pause and consider the other wonderful things the jazz society does for the community. We help to preserve one of our country’s truly great gifts to the world: improvised jazz music. And we do so 365 days a year. Consider the fact that several “youth” that have gone through the Jazz Society’s educational programs are now professional musicians or music educators. Take pride in knowing that your contributions have helped preserve and grow the music we all love, and that through our combined efforts, our community will continue to enjoy the beauty of the music we call jazz.

In an effort to further promote our beloved musical form, we’re reaching out to young audiences in new and unique ways. I’ll use a great example: the Internet. Most of us use the Internet for the obvious capability of research. But as we’re all learning, it’s also an amazing tool for mass communication, and in particular, social networking. I’ll use the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee’s Facebook page as an example: in just a few short months, we have almost 900 fans of the event on Facebook. As those “fans” continue to use Facebook, more and more of their friends will be exposed to the event. The Internet is a global phenomenon, one that allows us to communicate instantly to the rest of the world; it’s great to see that the Jazz Festival & Jubilee is taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the new technologies.

Despite our challenges, I’m confident that 2010 can be an amazing year for STJS and the Jazz Fest. & Jubilee. Our passionate staff, membership, committee members, and Board will be working harder than ever to make sure jazz music lives on! Thanks for all your support.

Here’s to success...for all of us...in 2010! — Greg Willett

 

 

John Cocuzzi, Artistic Dir.
from the Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010 "And All That Jazz"

As I start to write this piece, I am traveling in Germany, fortunate enough to be included in a “100 Years of Benny Goodman” show during the month of October. Our BG Centennial Tribute Band is performing classic jazz and swing to sell-out venues. Oh, it’s not because of me; the music speaks for itself. Classic jazz and swing have all the elements that connect with people of all languages: melody, harmony, a beat you can tap your feet to, a memory of seeing Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton or Red Norvo for the first time (and later in to the 1970s: Abe Most, Johnny Varro, Peanuts Hucko, “Wild Bill” Davison, Bob Haggart, Yank Lawson, and Butch Miles just to name a few), all of whom toured Europe.

Music is global, and classic jazz, traditional and swing are being performed all over the world to large audiences. People I have never met are reading in the program that I am based in Sacramento, so they ask if I have ever played for the festival in Sacramento. Yes, it’s true, our great city of Sacramento is known throughout the world for the great festival we present.

As your board Vice President, and now Artistic Director for the Sac. Jazz Festival and Jubilee, I am very excited to have the privilege, the learning experience, and the opportunity to work with STJS members, staff and volunteers. I have asked questions, participated in meetings, taken notes, received e-mails and phone calls, been asked advice, asked questions, been briefed, taken notes again, made new files, learned how to use the voicemail in the office... I am getting to know many of you, and I look forward to meeting more of you.

I chaired my first board meeting while our president was on vacation, attended an STJS Foundation meeting, and am now working with our entire office staff to make a better jazz society. There is a lot of work to do, issues to sort out, contracts to be signed, schedules to be created, reports due and people to meet... all very exciting. I have a lot of respect for Jill Harper, our Executive Director, and for our entire office staff that is working together to get to our ultimate goal of a better-run jazz society that our members and the community can participate in and enjoy. I’d also like to thank Gene Berthelsen, the staff, and the volunteers for all the hard work and time they put into running the jazz society and the festival before I got here. I’ll be the first guy in line to tell everyone, “It’s a lot harder than it looks.”

My very first Jubilee as a performer was in 1989 with a band called Hot Jazz from Washington, DC. At the time, the 1989 Jubilee was the greatest festival I had ever performed in. I’ll never forget it! The music, the people, the trains, the river, the excitement, the energy, the experience—that’s JAZZ!
Keep on Swingin’! — John Cocuzzi.

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Scott Kaufman, Mktg. Dir.
from the November 2009 "And All That Jazz"

I'ts only the fall and I’m already excited. The weather is gorgeous and there are exciting things happening at the Jazz Society Office. Jill has already told you about some of the staff changes in the office, and this month she turns the column over to me to tell you about the new and exciting marketing plans that are in the works.

I should stop here and take a moment to thank two people: Gene Berthelsen and Wayne Hokom deserve more kudos that I can possible give in a column, for their tireless work marketing the Jubilee over the years. Without their dedication, we certainly wouldn’t have a Jubilee anymore. When you see Gene and Wayne, give them a handshake, a hug, or buy them a drink to thank them.

This year, Seraphein Beyn will take the reins of the Jubilee’s creative work. They are one of the area’s biggest advertising agencies, and hold the accounts to firms such as Thunder Valley, Pulte Homes, the River Cats, and Ace Hardware. They’re hard at work designing the look and feel for the Jubilee this year, and by the time you read this, you might have gotten your brochure already.

Speaking of the brochure...In past years we’ve used the image you see on the brochure as the image you see on all billboards and other marketing pieces. This year, we’ll be doing something different by introducing multiple images to target different groups. These images will be tied together with a logo that we in the office have affectionately called “the trumpet logo.” This will allow us to not only market the Baby Boomer Generation but also the Generations X & Y in an efficient and effective manner. The way you market to each of the generations is very different, and we’ll embrace those differences.

Also different will be a greater emphasis on television and radio commercials, as well as social media, like Facebook and Twitter. The Jubilee is an event that requires people to see and hear the incredible music we showcase; static imagery just won’t convey how truly awesome our event is.

It’s going to be an incredibly exciting year for our beloved organization, and I know I speak for the entire office when I invite you to take part in the fun. Soon we’ll be launching a new sales contest and encouraging you to join. The person who sells the most tickets (dollar value, not quantity) will win a free, four-night stay at a hotel during the Jubilee! We’re working on other prizes, so stay tuned for this exciting contest!

 

STJS Executive Director Jill Harper
from the October 2009 "And All That Jazz"

The September Jazz Sunday welcomed back former Sacramento area musicians, Jan Sutherland and Jerry McKenzie. It was great to catch up, and I could only wish more of their old friends could have been there. We reminisced about our first meeting, Jan and I, when she first traveled to the Jubilee with the Merseysippi Jazz Band from England in 1979. The Riverbank Blues Band was playing host band at the Old Eagle Theater in Old Sacramento on the Thursday night before the festival, and all her band came in to sit in with us. I don’t know who was the more nervous — their players or ours! Anyway, we had a great time getting acquainted, and soon enough everyone relaxed and proved once again that jazz is a universal language.

Our President, Jim Roberson, has done a masterful job of letting you know about all the changes taking place at STJS. There is a whole new energy and excitement around what we’re doing and where we’re going. The new staff and consultants he mentioned in his column last month, together with Jennifer Colindres, our new Administrative Assistant & Bookkeeper, have a youthful exuberance that is catching. In addition, Vivian’s request for help in the office has brought us a couple of talented volunteers. I guess we just need to remember to ask for help when we need it.

I want to thank Jennifer, and board members Ron Swehla and Scott Kaufman, for all the work they have done — and are doing — to clean up, clean out, and re-arrange the office. They are hoping to paint soon and give the overall office a more professional look. Scott has also managed to get us all on wireless so we can eliminate the miles of wires everywhere.

I have been spending the last month getting re-acquainted with the duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director’s office. Gene kindly left me a huge contact list so I could find out how to contact just about anyone you can think of. I have been working with Bill Evans on venues for next year’s festival, contacting owners, and working with Marketing, Sponsorships, and our Artistic Director to finalize directions and contracts, etc. Those of you who have observed me pulling out my hair — and I don’t have much to spare — know I’ve been working on the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council mid-cycle report. It’s finally done and has been submitted. Hopefully, we will get some funding from them again in 2010.

I plan to share future columns in this space with Marketing (Scott Kaufman), Sponsorships (Greg Willet), Talent Selection (John Cocuzzi), giving general updates of interest from the office to members and volunteers. If you happen to be out this way, stop by the office, say hello, and share your ideas with us. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and just as excited as we are.

 


 

Gene Berthelsen's messages
from the March 2008 to June 2009
"And All That Jazz"

 


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Louis Armstrong

 

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