Author: Brandli, Darby

February President’s Message

We are well into our 35th year as an organization and what a ride it has been! I spent the evening last night with CBA member #1, Carl Pagter, and he is still going as strong as the organization he co-founded so many years ago. Many of our other members have left us in the last few years….thirty-five years is a long time….and two new generations are attending our events. It is very sad to watch the membership age and slow down and eventually disappear from our midst even though we all know that the passing of time means that will happen. It is exciting to watch the younger generations grow up and become part of our community.

Carl and I attended a concert last night of OMGG (Obviously Minor Guys and a Gal) that demonstrated what can happen when the youngest CBA members become interested in becoming musicians. Mark and Allison Varner were pregnant with Marty while attending a Father’s Day Festival and we have watched him grow up through the Kids on Bluegrass Program….15 years of growing up. I remember AJ Lee when she was 6 years old (half her life ago) and knew only two songs and now she is almost a teenager and has blossomed into a multi-instrumentalist with that glorious big voice. Nate and Max Schwartz came to the CBA only a few years ago and immediately met other youth and bonded musically and quickly became involved and are on the way to becoming stars!

Marty, AJ, Nate and Max clearly had the genetic makeup (or whatever it is) to become interested in and learn to competently play music but what really propelled the growth of that talent is the remarkable community that is the California Bluegrass Association and especially our Youth Programs and our supporting membership.

The next 35 years of the organization and of the music we love will only be successful if we bring more “youth” into our fold and teach them to be fans, members, leaders, volunteers and/or musicians. The organization will only remain vibrant if those who have kept it so for the last quarter-plus century can pass the reins on to a new generation. I will be 100 years old in 35 years and somehow don’t see myself still serving as a Board Member or President.

I see some serious changes in store for the CBA as we progress into this century. Gone are the days when a printed newsletter was the only way to keep members informed. Gone are the days when a “phone tree” was the way to pass on info immediately. The International Bluegrass Music Association did not exist when the CBA was formed. The changes in technology are too numerous to mention. I can view the Nevada County Fairgrounds from Google Earth and see videos of a performance or jam moments after it occurs half a world or more away via You Tube. My Space on computer seems to have been replaced by Facebook and Twitter tweets soundbites to my phone which is also a recording device, camera, computer, video, movie theatre, GPS machine, metronome and whatever other applications I have yet to discover.

We need younger people to step up to see us through the next 35 years. The very youngest CBA members (once introduced to the music and the organization) are doing just fine thank you. We need the twenty through fifty year olds to help us forge our path to the future. I am actively recruiting for new energy and for people with vision to help us incorporate our Mission with the new technology to propel us into the next decade. I am inviting some of you to assume ownership of the Association and increase your participation with the goal of leading us through the next 35 years. Happy Anniversary CBA!
Posted:  2/2/2010

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