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

Georgia Straight Jazz Society AGM
May 20, 2008

President’s Report to the
Second Annual General Meeting

Welcome members of the Georgia Straight Jazz Society. Our jazz community has completed our second year as a society and the jazz scene continues to grow and flourish. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in volunteer participation by dedicated individuals that build our community. When we incorporated, we defined our constitutional objectives through the following points:

  • 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

Throughout this past year, volunteers continued developing events and management systems that fulfill these objectives: the weekly Jazz Club, the communication of events through a website, calendar and newsletter, the continued growth of the Georgia Straight Big Band, the Sunday night concert series featuring nationally recognized artists and the linking with other community stakeholders to promote jazz including The Elks’ Home, CYMC, the Just In Time Choir, School District 71 Fine Arts and local corporate members.

Much of the work behind the scenes in our society has had individuals nurturing its development, but after two years of building some volunteers are moving on and new energy is required to keep building the society.  
First, the highly visible Thursday night Jazz Club requires a new team for this coming year.  Every Thursday evening a local jazz performance consistently draws 40 to 60 jazz patrons per night and on numerous occasions there has been a hundred plus jazz enthusiasts enjoying performances.  Staging the jazz club requires the following resources on the evening of the event:

  • The Upper Elks’ Lounge facility and staff
  • PA equipment, sound board and piano set up (6:00 – 7:00) and strike (10:30 – 11:00)
  • Sound person checking levels front of house and monitoring with band (sound check 7:15) (performance 7:30 – 9:00)
  • Setting visual stage requirements (backdrops and lights?)
  • Door greeter and membership sales
  • Announcements and Introductions
  • Passing hat and accounting for evening gratuities and disbursements
  • The musicians

Each of these responsibilities needs to be cared for by individual volunteers working together ensuring that no single person carries the bulk of responsibilities.

Behind the staged event, a society volunteer ensures a calendar is planed for the season that includes a broad spectrum and variety of local performers. As well, a society volunteer ensures that publicity is provided to local papers throughout the year. These planning responsibilities can be defined as:

  • Jazz club planning and booking
  • Jazz club publicity and press release

During the past year, the Jazz Club has had over twenty different host combos, with well over 200 individual musicians from 13 to 80 years of age taking to the stage. We have heard jazz from all genres and styles including the music of Jazz Town, Sixth Street, Larry Hale Combo, Sextet, Velvet Swing, The Cure All Dance Band, The Arrowsmith BB, Joanna Finch and Friends, St. James Gait, The GS Youth Combo, The National All Star Combo, GSBB, Vanier BB, Aspen Park BB, The Lake Trail BB, the GSBB, the Jen Forsland Combo, the Ralph Barrat Combo, the Dan Craven Septet, the Ladies of Jazz and Jazz Noir. The Thursday night Jazz club creates nearly half of all income for the Society.

The second area that requires new volunteer support is the ticketed concert series. Since the first AGM last February, The Georgia Straight Jazz Society produced monthly ticketed performances, including The Phil Dwyer Quartet, P.J. Perry and the Jodi Proznick Trio, The Mix, The Amanda Tossoff Quartet, Armi Grano, Amanda Sage Trio, the Jennifer Scott Quintet, John Burgess with Pat Coleman and Ken Lidster, Barbara Blair and The Vic High R&B Band.

Bringing this level of performance to the Valley at a reasonable cost has great rewards for our audiences, but it also creates challenges. Preparation for a ticketed concert requires:

  • Bookings and contracts are secured
  • B&B and dinner arrangements are made when necessary
  • Advertisement and ticketing are planned well in advance of the concert. 

Staging a ticketed concert requires the following resources on the evening of the event:

  • The Upper Elks’ Lounge facility and staff (one concert was held at the Stan Hagen Theatre)
  • PA equipment, sound board and piano set up (4:30 – 5:00) and strike (10:00 – 10:30)
  • Sound person checking levels front of house and monitoring with band (sound check 5:00 – 5:30) (performance 7:30 – 9:45)
  •  Setting visual stage requirements (backdrops and lights?)
  • Tickets, accounting and disbursements
  • Announcements and Introductions
  • The musicians

We are able to bring top level Canadian Jazz performances, given the growing strength of our society. We have consistently made a modest profit on all ticketed concerts. The musicians have earned from approximately $150 to $200 per person, but it is our desire to see these musicians earn somewhere closer to $250 per performance. This can be easily achieved at our present ticket pricing by simply creating a sell-out event through word of mouth and building our membership audience. I firmly believe that, we will be capable of bringing the very best jazz musicians in Canada to our stage, because our intelligent and appreciative audience is getting a name for itself amongst the players – these world class musicians have enjoyed performing here and most are asking to come back.

Creating the Georgia Straight Big Band was a major focus of the society’s initial goals. The Manager, Rob Peterson will speak more on the past developments and future goals of the Big Band in the Big Band report.

Finally, we need to recognize our own membership for their support and commitment during the past year.  I need to also recognize the outgoing board directors including Al Webster, Aniel Datoo, Charlotte Harvey and Ray Griffiths for their dedication and hard work. I would like to give special thanks to the old guard directors who will be returning next year including Bettyanne Hampton, Rob Peterson, Bill Street and Rick Husband. And finally, I need to thank and welcome some new fresh faces to the board including Al West, Dale Graham and Nina Le Blanc. Thank you and I hope to see each of you at a Georgia Straight Jazz Society event this coming year.

Dave Harvey


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