As we wind down the year, I will take this opportunity to thank the River City Blues Society board members and volunteers for donating their time and energy to preserve the blues. After serving on the board for a number of years including one year as Vice-President and one year as President I am stepping down as President.
I am thankful for what we accomplished this year. We continued our partnership with the Camel hosting Blues and Brews every other Friday night giving local bands a venue to perform at and blues fans a place to hear good music twice a month.
In March Virginia Blues artist Gaye Adegbalola was one of eight women honored in celebration of Virginia’s Women in History for Women’s History Month. There was a special reception Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 at the Library, 800 East Broad St. Further, there is a monthlong exhibit on the 2nd floor of the library. It was agreed that the board would also send flowers to her at her ceremony. Board member Colin Steele went to her ceremony to represent RCBS. Congratulations Gaye.
The subject of many meetings was starting a local Sunday afternoon jam session. This presented many challenges and we finally have our first blues jam scheduled for Sunday, February 24th 2019 at Capital Ale House-Downtown. Pumphouse Blues is hosting the jam. We will charge $5 at the door. It will be 3-6 pm. We ask that all local bands that are not working during these hours to come out and help make this a success.
On June 10th we hosted our 10th annual Blues Challenge to see who would represent the RCBS in Memphis for the 2019 IBC. In Layman Terms won the band competition. Root2Music won the solo/duo competition. In Layman Terms also hosted our holiday party in December. We wish them the best in Memphis. John Porter one of the hosts for Virginia’s Time for the Blues on WCVE was our MC, Cy Tagert provided the back line and Kurt Crandall managed the stage. Thanks guys.
We held our annual event at Grayhaven Winery June 24. Thanks to The Bush League for hosting. After we got that big snake off the stage, we had a fine afternoon of blues. We also nominated The Bush League’s CD for best self-produced CD and sent copies to the Blues Foundation.
We had planned a blues festival at the Diamond called Parkfest but due to starting our planning later in the year we were unable to get enough corporate sponsorship to make it work. Hats off to Sandy Faulkner and Karen Haab for doing most of the heavy lifting on this effort.
We did raffle a ticket to the Blues Cruse that was won by John Sankey. This was a great opportunity to attend a fantastic event and we congratulate John.
We addressed our membership renewal and acted on a suggestion that all memberships should be due at the same time to make it easier to send notices. We sponsored another “Hot August Night” John Howe organized the music for this party. Three bands performed: Blues Flash, Lil Ronnie’s Blue and Lonesome Duo, and Pump House. It was held August 17 at the Capital Ale Downtown from 6 pm – 9 pm. Members got in free. Anita created a Facebook event and included information about this in the renewal email.
In November we sent out notices to anyone who wished to serve on the RCBS board. As of the early December meeting date, we had 33 responses. Congratulations to Boyd Burton and Kenya Watkins, the new River City Blues Society Board members and returning members Anita Schlank Secretary and Greg Willard Treasurer!
Bob Follek put in another year as our volunteer webmaster and continues to do an excellent job. Thank you, Bob. Also, thanks to former President Ellen Foster and her husband Rick who served on the board for many years.
Anita held many house parties for blues artists traveling across the country. She has to be the biggest live blues fan I know. Thank you, Anita, for all you do to support the blues and the RCBS.
Speaking of Anita sales from a new book about to be published, “Blues Therapy” will benefit blues musicians who need mental health and/or addictions treatment. The book is written by our very own Anita Schlank and co-authored by blues musician Tab Benoit, with a foreword by Mike Zito, and includes interviews with numerous blues musicians who discuss their personal experience with mental health disorders (including Beth Hart, Ronnie Earl, Monster Mike Welch, Eric Gales, Billy Price, Rev. Billy Wirtz, Amanda Fish, and many more.) There is a fundraiser to cover the cost of printing/shipping the books, so that all sales money can go toward the musicians in need. Please consider donating at https://www.gofundme.com/
blues-therapy. Congratulations Anita on this excellent book.
Finally, thanks to Shelly, Anita, Greg, Colin, Pix, Sandy, George and Randy for serving on the board this year and making the River City Blues Society and excellent organization. Keep you eye on our Facebook page and rivercityblues.org for upcoming events.
Good blues to you and yours in 2019.