I am honored to be the new President of the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association (HVBA). I remember my first encounter with the HVBA in the late 90's back when I was looking for a group to play music with and not really having my sights set on bluegrass. The only criteria was a group that would accept me as a rookie and give me motivation to grow. I found this and much more with the HVBA and have figuratively gone from the mailroom to the board room. Along the way many hands were offered to me, so first let me thank you all for creating a place of inclusion and growth, but most of all giving me a family of musical friends.
When Jeff Anzevino started the HVBA 18 years ago, he really had no idea what it would become. Today this fledgling organization has grown to a vibrant 300 member group. Originally, communication with our membership took place through the quarterly printed newsletter "The Jamboree" and served to keep us informed of local, regional, and national news about bluegrass music. Today we have a website, e-mail, Facebook, etc., and this has greatly increased our opportunities to keep our membership informed. Our concert series and musician workshops have grown tremendously. Today we can draw the very finest national touring bluegrass bands to little old Poughkeepsie. Throughout, the "jam" has been our nucleus. It is the place we meet face to face, share our love of bluegrass music, learn new things, get challenged to grow, and make new friends. This social glue is extremely important. Finally, it would all end with the current generation of members unless we do something to promote bluegrass music to the younger generations. Our effort with Bluegrass in the Schools is directed at this goal.
As the leader of the HVBA I wish to continue this tradition and look for ways to promote greater service to our individual members and member bands. I will continue to explore more and better ways to communicate with you. I will commit to a minimum of a Fall and Spring concert in the HVBA Concert Series. I will look for ways to make the jam grow, continue the slow jam, and explore options for a new jam location. Our current space really only allows for a single group, and a larger space would allow smaller groups to splinter off. We currently have three workshops scheduled for the spring, and are open to requests. I am particularly excited about the HVBA Showcase Series. This is new, and I encourage you all to come out and join in the fun. Essentially we think of this as a way to feature local bands in performance and provide an opportunity for a jam that is not on a Wednesday evening. We hope to continue Bluegrass in the Schools next year at Oakwood School (a Quaker private school) in the town of Poughkeepsie.