Well it is December, which means it is time to select your elected officers for the year 2014. It also means that I need to get back on my soapbox and appeal to our members the need for help. The Cascade Blues Association is recognized as one of the largest blues societies in the country, yet the people behind the scenes handling the day-to-day business is quite a small number (actually it amounts to far less than 1% of all members). This means that the same people are doing all the work to make sure this operation continues to run and that we are able to put on the events and programs that you want us to. I receive a lot of great ideas from members on what the CBA should be doing or how we can improve, but without the proper staffing and willingness to participate it really means that it is difficult on following up on a lot of these. Every year, it seems to be a struggle to have people come forward and run for the officer positions. Often, we are lucky just to have a single candidate listed on the ballot for each role. With so many of you out there, why shouldn’t we have more people open to help us out? If you do not want to fill an officer spot, there are still numerous At-Large positions open. For the most part, the Board of Directors only meets once a month.
We will be losing two hard working officers this year, with both Jody Gunn and Shelley Swaffer deciding to step down after doing such a large job load that has made our business run more effectively. We’re going to miss these ladies immensely. But this also is in effect what happens with a small staff; people tend to burn out because of the amount they have to take on. There it is again, we need more people on board.
This past year saw a lot of unexpected changes, but we weathered the storm. We had three people fill the role of Treasurer in this short period, which meant having to go through our book-keeping quite closely and making trips to the bank for new check signers each time somebody new took on the position (and getting everybody together at one time to accomplish this is not an easy process in itself). Merry Larsen most recently took the Treasurer position on and brought in Cindy Headley who works as a comptroller for a large corporation to help us get back on track. The works of these two have been immeasurable for what they have accomplished. We also had to move our office and made a change with banks where we hold our accounts during the year.
The Cascade Blues Association runs on a very small budget. Most of the income we receive is from memberships, ticket drawing and admissions at our monthly meetings, and advertising revenue. Our expenses add up, with editor and webmaster fees, rent, sound for the meetings, BluesNotes printing and other costs not including the events we hold. One means of helping with this is becoming a member or recruiting your friends to join. CBA memberships are a great gift idea for the holidays, and if you have the desire, becoming a supporting member helps even more. Venues and musicians may also think about advertising in the BluesNotes, it is one of the best ad deals in town and the paper goes out directly to those who love the blues and are your biggest supporters.
I also want to say to musicians that I have been approached by or heard asking why the CBA cannot do more for them, how are you helping yourself? The BluesNotes offers a column for you to promote yourself without any fee called the Bandstand. You can let the readers know what special events or projects you have going on. As far as I know there is no other blues society in the country offering space for you in their publications like this. But not too many of you are utilizing this option. Reporting your calendars by the 15th on each month is to your benefit to be published in the paper, with several radio stations using it to let listeners know what is happening nightly or weekly. And posting on our Facebook page gets a lot of attention, too. Dropping off flyers on the tables at our meetings can be effective, too. We cannot follow up with every band or musician in town on our own. There are just too many of you out there in our immense wealth of talent in the region and too few of us, so doing your part in reporting or submitting these pieces will help us help you.
A lot of this takes us back full circle to where I began this column. The Cascade Blues Association needs your help in filling vital roles on our Board of Directors. If we have more people involved it will make things a lot smoother and easier for all. And then we can turn our attention to doing more for the musicians and venues than we currently have been doing already. Please consider joining if you have the time and are not afraid of putting out a bit of effort to support the music we all love. Thank you.