[Dixielandjazz] OKOM in the Great State of California

Jan Nichols hotjazzcornet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 2 17:08:46 PST 2005

Okay, okay, I'm finally motivated to join in on this thread.  Since I'm usually a lurker, I hold my tongue when it comes to banjo pedagogy, obscure chord changes and other IMPORTANT stuff on the DJML.  However, when you start talking about the Left-Coast......well that's something else indeed.

Here are my credentials:  My family arrived in California when a German sailor jumped ship in Monterey somewhere around 1847.  He married a beautiful Mexican girl who was a house maid for the Pico family (last Mexican Governor of California).  Since that time, we have felt all of the earthquakes, dodged the mudslides and watched (from a distance) all of the brush fires.
As already mentioned, so far no Tsunamis or hurricanes.

Our band, the Old Town Jazz Band (blatant self-promotion) works as much as it needs to.  We have averaged 40-50 gigs per year in the early days, but now are only taking those gigs that pay enough to turn a profit or a benefit for a group that is special for the band.  No complaints from the band, so far.  Steve Barbone, who has my unqualified admiration, seems to measure success by the number of decimal places on the check.  Tomorrow, we begin another School Marathon where we will play for six schools in two days.  We stand a chance of getting OKOM to 1,400 kids in the next 48 hours.  Are we making a profit, yes.  Are we getting rich, no.  However, seeing the light in that many young eyes adds several 0's to the check.

Perhaps, the demographics have something to do with this question.  How many people have retired (in Chicago) and moved to California.  I live near a community that is filled with retired folks, since the city has promoted Hemet, California as a great place to retire.  We never run short of an audience for OKOM in this area.  Perhaps there is more of an audience for OKOM festivals because of the number of seniors in the neighborhood.  While we continue to work on building a more youthful audience, our retired folks are our bread and butter.  

We all have noticed the fact that audiences are declining (nobody lives forever), perhaps we should consider demographics.

Jan Nichols
Left Coast Cornetist
Old Town Jazz Band
San Jacinto, CA

hotjazzcornet at earthlink.net
Why Wait? Move to EarthLink.

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