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

Georgia Straight Jazz Society AGM
May 22, 2009

President’s Report to the
Third Annual General Meeting

I came on board as President of the Jazz Society board in September of 2008. It has been a great experience serving on this board, as we have an excellent group of dedicated volunteers and board members who are creating a great ongoing jazz experience for the North Island.

We, as a board, work to insure that we meet the objectives of the society as set up by the founding members:

  • 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

We had a banner year with the Jazz Society this past year. Since January, we have had between 60-80 people attending the jazz club consistently, with some evenings seeing crowds in excess of 120. It seems word is out and we are providing a consistent experience and an excellent caliber of entertainment. With crowds like this, we are able to offer a decent night’s wages to the acts that perform on our stage as well as keep a little back for society’s operating costs. The society provides most of the sound equipment for the acts, as well as all the logistics of making the jazz club happen. A review of our website will reveal a list of all the acts that performed on our stage this past season.

In keeping with our desire to encourage jazz among the school-aged musicians; we have hosted numerous of our local schools’ bands as well as a few combos from the jazz program at Vancouver Island University. The caliber of music coming from these younger players is excellent and brings hope that we will enjoy great jazz for years to come.

We have also developed a reputation among players across Canada as providing a great venue and consistently meeting our contracted financial agreements. People are now contacting us to come and play on our stage!

We have been blessed this year with the loan of some excellent sound equipment, which belong to Wendy Nixon-Stothert of the Just in Time Vocal Jazz Choirs. This has enabled us to provide very good sound, using equipment that we are able to store onsite at the Elks. Thanks, Wendy. In addition, we purchased a sound board this year and rented the keyboard for use at the jazz club as well as with the Big Band.

We would also like to thanks the Elks once again for allowing us to use their excellent facilities and for providing the staff to make our evenings flow. This is a win/win situation, as we bring business to the Elks and we don’t have the challenges of trying to maintain our own facility.

I would like to acknowledge the other board members and volunteers for their ongoing efforts. People are bringing their own expertise forward and the result show:

Rick Husband is our IT wizard and has been improving and maintaining an excellent website which is regularly updated, as well as online payment options for membership fees, and a well-maintained database of members. Rick also shows up most weeks and has consistently helped with stage set-up and take down and sound board operation.

Dale Graham is our secretary, maintaining meeting minutes, society correspondence and writing excellent press releases. Dale can also often be found supporting all events in a variety of capacities. Dale has taken on booking acts for Thursday nights for next season.

Nina LeBlanc has taken the bookkeeping for the society to a whole new level this year and has created systems for recording financial information as well as making sure the Sunday concerts always had staff to manage to door.

Rob Peterson brings his enthusiasm and fresh ideas to our meetings and has done the yeoman’s task of managing the Georgia Straight Big Band. The Big Band is flourishing under the direction of Gregory Bush. Rob has written a separate report on the Big Band, which you can read to find out what is happening there.

Words cannot express the contribution Dave Harvey has brought to the creation of the jazz society. Dave has been tireless in managing all aspects of the operations. While he stepped down as president of the board this year, he continued to book acts, arrange billeting, provide meals, attend consistently almost every Thursday to set up, take down and often act as emcee. Dave is responsible for the artwork on the backdrop and for arranging with the Elks for the use of the facility. The jazz society wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Dave’s passion and persistence and his energy will be sorely missed.  He and Charlotte are heading out of the country for a teaching adventure overseas.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank all the others who have volunteered their time to help our events run smoothly. I would like to mention Malcolm Holt for acting as emcee on those weeks Dave couldn’t make it as well as taking over the press release duties for the Thursday jazz club to relieve Dale.

Jackie Holt has been a regular volunteer as well, helping with managing the cash on Thursday nights. Her able-bodied helper, Art, is a regular figure, passing the bucket to collect the funds for the musician. George and Bonnie have provided alternative assistance with the finances.

And also a big thank-you to Dean for being our consistent greeter each week. That steady support really brings a feeling of welcome, especially to our new members and guests.

There have been numerous other hands on deck, including some of the younger musicians such as Brendan Holm who help with stage setup…Ralph Barrat has helped with sound on various occasions and I am sure there are some I am missing.

At our AGM on May 21, we elected two new officers. I, Barbara Foreman, have stepped down as president and Malcolm Holt was nominated and accepted by acclamation into the president’s role. Malcolm brings a solid background in organizational development and a passion for jazz to the role.

Nina LeBlanc has stepped down from her role as treasurer and Jackie Holt was nominated and acclaimed as treasurer. Jackie has a lot of administrative and organizational experience, as well as lengthy experience as a treasurer on a board.

Rick Husband, Dale Graham and Rob Peterson have stood again for election and have been acclaimed.

Gail Embury has stepped forward as a volunteer coordinator. With the rise in our popularity, we will need more volunteers to help out in the upcoming year so please visit the website, go to the bottom of the home page to see how to sign up as a volunteer.

The jazz society will take its usual hiatus for July and August and we look forward to seeing everyone for a new season in September. It’s been a pleasure to serve and I look forward to years of great jazz ahead.

Barbara Foreman
Georgia Straight Jazz Society

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