At the Avalanche Bar & Grill 275 8th Street, Courtenay

Georgia Straight Jazz Society AGM
February, 22 2007

President’s Report to the
First Annual General Meeting

Welcome members of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society. One year has passed since incorporation of our jazz community in the Comox Valley. We started with a simple idea of supporting jazz musicians of all levels. We defined our constitutional objectives through the following points:

  • To increase public awareness of and to nurture an appreciation for all forms of jazz
  • To present performances by a wide variety of musicians representing all forms of jazz
  • To stimulate the local jazz communities by producing events and activities in which artists can interact creatively
  • To provide opportunities for school aged musicians  to create jazz for a public audience
  • To augment the educational instruction of school aged musicians in jazz performance, improvisation, and composition
  • To establish and strengthen the jazz music community on Vancouver Island

During the past year, the Georgia Straight Jazz Society has developed numerous projects towards realizing our objectives: the weekly Jazz Jam, the communication of events through a website and calendar, the creation of the Georgia Straight Big Band, the promotion of regional and national artists on our local stages and the linking with other community stakeholders to promote jazz including The Hot Jazz Society, CYMC, the Just In Time Choir, School District 71 Fine Arts and local corporate members. We have created a community that nurtures, creates, listens to and celebrates jazz. 

Have these numerous projects fulfilled our objectives?

The highly visible Thursday night Jazz Jam has achieved all the objectives with the exception of the regional goal: objective six. The Jazz Jam has been running on a weekly basis since September of 2005, six months prior to incorporation. We established our first home at The Underground Pizza, but due to its closure in June 2006, we were forced to look elsewhere.

Fortunately, in September 2006, and thanks to Rob Peterson’s legwork, we moved into this lovely venue at The Elks’ Home with their courteous staff, excellent service and an ideal performance space. It should also be noted that the Georgia Straight Big Band uses the downstairs facilities for rehearsals on Monday evenings.

During the past year and a half, the Jazz Jam has had over eight different host combos, with well over 70 individual musicians from 15 to 70 years of age taking to the stage. We have heard jazz from all genres and styles.

Creating a community with shared interests requires grass roots communication. Much of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society growth has been word of mouth:  from one jazz enthusiast to the next as was the case when The Marc Atkinson Trio performance completely sold out prior to any public advertising .However, we have recognized establishing a website to inform, communicate and bring ideas and musicians together is imperative for further growth and realization of our objectives.

Tara Moses produced our website in the spring of 2006, creating a place for community expansion. Presently, our newest member of the executive, Rick Husband, is managing the sight.  We like to encourage our members to use the site; save it to your favourites and spread the word to friends and neighbours. If they are planning an event that requires jazz or they are just looking for an evening of entertainment check out www.georgiastraightjazz.com.

We also seek any member(s) who love to write and enjoy the challenge of writing reviews (and/or photographing) for the Jazz Jam and special performances to become part of our website archive team.

Creating the Georgia Straight Big Band was a major focus of the society’s initial goals. Under the direction of Don MacKay, the Big Band’s inaugural concert was the Tea Dance in July, 2006.  Don will speak more on the past developments and future goals of the Big Band in the director’s report.

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society produced two regional artist performances last spring including the previously mentioned Marc Atkinson Trio and the Vic High R&B Band. On March 4th, we will produce the Phil Dwyer Quartet, while on April 1st, the Jodi Proznick Trio and P.J. Perry will perform at the Elks’ Home.

We are able to bring top level Canadian Jazz performances, given the growing strength of our society.
GSJS has been involved in numerous collaborations with community organizations. We worked with the Hot Jazz Society, producing the Desperation Jazz Band; we are set to help the Hot Jazz Festival in June 2007, which features the Georgia Straight Big Band.

We worked with CYMC and School District 71 helping create the Big Band Challenge 2006 --a highlight for many young musicians last year.  We are fortunate these organizations have helped us realize our vision during the first year. We look forward to continuing collaboration with community groups that assist us in   developing our objectives.

Finally, we need to recognize our own membership for their support and commitment given during the past year.  You are a great team of people who desire to see a healthy jazz community established in the Comox Valley. I would like to give  special thanks to the Board of Directors for their tireless work during the last twelve months: Bettyanne Hampton for her excellent professional advice on all thing related to the business of music and entertainment production, Al Webster for his wisdom and timely comment, Ray Griffiths for keeping the books in order, Rob Peterson for his creative energy and ideas, Bill Street for his vision, knowledge and complete dedication to jazz, Rick Husband for his high tech brilliance and support and finally to Charlotte Harvey for preparing the agendas, taking minutes and taking care of me. Thank you and I hope to see each of you at a Georgia Straight Jazz Society event this coming year.

Dave Harvey


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