Author: Brandli, Darby

President’s April Message

(Editor's Note: Please note that plans for the Spring Campout have changed somewhat since Darby wrote her monthly President's Message for the Bluegrass Breakdown. To get the latest scoop on the campout, click here.)

Have you ever stopped to consider how much the California Bluegrass Association has grown in the last 35 years? The CBA began with a single festival and a handful of enthusiastic founders and volunteers and now, 35 years later, has close to 3000 member families from all over the world, a dozen or so regional activity Vice Presidents, an award winning monthly newspaper, a main Association website and a Music Camp and Festival(s) website, two “official” campouts, a thriving Kids Program and Instrument Lending Library, an old time campout, two music camps and three annual festivals. This in addition to numerous regionally sponsored jams and concerts, partnerships with other organizations and events including the annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fan Fest in Nashville. The most remarkable thing to remember about the CBA is that it is a volunteer organization and has planned and administered all the above from kitchen tables throughout the State.

I was reminded again about our volunteers when I attended a concert this week at the new Freight and Salvage (if you haven’t been to the new venue you should make plans to see it) and ran into member Bonneau Dickson who volunteered to sell his own wine at our Spring Campout to raise money for our Youth Program. I only had to remind him to contact two other volunteers to approximate the number of people who would be attending: State Wide Activities VP Steve Tilden organizer of the campout and Mike Miller (Chef Mike) who volunteers to cook the food. Chef Mike had contacted me a month or so ago to suggest that he would cook for the Youth Program fundraiser again if the CBA Youth would do all the “heavy lifting” (ticket selling, serving, chair placement, cleanup, entertainment, etc) and I had connected him with the Youth Program Coordinator, Betsy Riger, to recruit a team. “Character building” and “raising the next generation of volunteers” is how Chef Mike put it to me. Well, the team is planning. The meal has to be moved from Friday to Saturday in order for the kids to arrive to do the work but AJ Lee and Max Schwartz are the “team captains” and soon there will be a call out to make your reservations.

My job description as President of the CBA is to act as the liaison between the CBA membership and the Board of Directors and the task is easier and easier with the advent of email and cell phones and enthusiastic and eager volunteers. We have so many successful events that people can see how their own unique talents can fit into the larger scheme of things and volunteer. Contact me with your ideas and I can help you connect with others to put it all together.

Make plans to attend the Spring Campout in Turlock. Turlock was chosen because of its location close to the center of the State. Campouts are low key and relaxing and restaurants and cafes are a short drive away. Come for the jamming or the socializing or just bring a good book and relax. We are bringing our grandson Dorian along again so one of us will be going to bed early and rising early this year (probably me) to allow the other to stay up late hooting and hollering. Sit in for the Board meeting held Sunday each campout. Be prepared to purchase a Father’s Day Festival shirt (wearing it is good advertising for us), pick up some posters or flyers to distribute in strategic places in your hometown. Seek me out to volunteer for an event, I will be the one chasing a two year old.

Posted:  4/6/2010

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