[Dixielandjazz] Re: Future of Dixieland - Redux (long, but PLEASE
margeaux at inreach.com
Thu Aug 7 21:31:09 PDT 2003
Please read this, because I could really use some support and suggestions!
> So, where do we go from here. If people who love this style of music, and
> openly advocate the perpetuation of it, do not take a proactive role in
> future, how can we expect the younger audience to do so? This time, I
I'll tell you what my situation is.
I have been music director at the Modesto club for just over a year. The
"mission statement" on each of our news letters that go out states that we
exist to preserve and promote traditional jazz. In actuality, and to be
totally honest, our club is doing nothing to promote and preserve. Yes, we
put on our monthly meetings. I try to book the best bands I can within our
strained budget. We attempt to have our local paper put something in the
"Out And About" section, but for some reason it never happens. But I feel
we are not actually out there doing something to bring in new, young,
>From almost the first board meeting I attended, I have mentioned the idea of
getting some type of youth program started. We have so many wonderful youth
programs all around us (Jazz societies in Sacramento and Fresno, as well as
Bob Romans' groups), and I would like to see the Modesto society "put it's
money where it's mouth is" . The response I received was a blank stare, a
statement of "Good luck, but we tried it before and it didn't work."
Sometimes I think the biggest problem is that the people who are on the
boards of jazz societies (well, ours at least) have been on them too long.
The same people serve terms over and over and..... Please, don't get me
wrong. If it weren't for those people, the society would have been dead
years ago. And let's face it a lot of times, there's just nobody else
willing to get involved and take a board position. But the board needs to
have new blood infused into it.
The proceeds from the "Opportunity Drawing" we hold at each month's meeting
goes into a "youth scholarship fund." We ATTEMPT to give a scholarship each
year to a young musician to attend the youth jazz camp in Sacramento. The
last two years we have not been able to find anyone to give the scholarship
to. We have mailed out flyers to all of the local high school music
directors offering the scholarship. That is ALL that has been done. The
board feels that once they offer this opportunity, the kids will come
flocking in. My response is 1) you can't wait until they are in high school
to expose them to traditional jazz; 2) you can't expect them to just show
up, you have to go out there and drag them in!
I think I have finally made a bit of headway at our last board meeting. I
kind of forced the issue. I told them I wouldn't accept the "been there,
tried that" attitude. I have talked to a local musician, not totally trad,
but definately proficient in it. He said he was willing to help out if we
could get a youth program going. Our newest board member is a semi-retired
middle school music director. She has almost no traditional jazz
background, but she is one of the best motivators of kids I have ever seen.
I think that between the two of them we might have a good blend of
Now is where I start to get a bit fuzzy as to where we go from here.....
We have a local music store that is very supportive of performing groups in
the area. I am going to contact them to see if their recital space may be
available for us to use. They offer music programs over the summer. I was
thinking of asking them if they would be willing to offer a traditional jazz
program. Then I want to have the participants perform at our August or
September jazz club meeting (next year of course).
I'd like to have an existing youth band perform for some of the local
schools. But am uncertain of how to go about that.
If anyone has any suggestions, I would certainly appreciate them. Am I on
the right track? Is there something I'm doing right, or wrong? I've never
done anything like this before. But doggonne it, if we don't do something,
we won't have anyone to replace the aging musicians we have now.
Sorry to ramble on.
More information about the Dixielandjazz