April 2014 President’s Message

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We kick off the spring season with an event in Cloverdale that Board Member Mark Hogan is involved with as part of his Sonoma County Area Activities position. This is year number 39 for the Cloverdale Fiddle Festival but the first to be held April 5th. We can kick off the season by supporting our Old Time Fiddler cousins by attending this event (a contest and a festival) for the day! The CBA Youth Program is a sponsor for the peewee division of the fiddle contest and the Association will also sponsor the twin fiddle contest.

The CBA Spring Campout is back to Turlock the last weekend in April. Campouts are fun, laid back, no pressure, no schedule events where socializing and jamming are the only two things on the “agenda.” We keep returning to Turlock because it is in the heart of the Central Valley off Hwy 99 with easy access for everyone north to south. The Stanislaus County Fairground management are lovely to work with and the facilities are clean, secure and the perfect size for a campout. If you have never attended have this be the year. The Fairgrounds open on Monday and the Fairgrounds belong to us until Sunday afternoon. We usually have a dinner with entertainment on Friday or Saturday and sometimes a band scramble. There is an opportunity to renew your membership, purchase some Mercantile, buy a Father’s Day tee-shirt, speak to a volunteer coordinator about a possible volunteer position and meet some new people. There are good places to eat in Turlock so we don’t even pack a camp kitchen.

There is still time to enroll some young people in the CBA Youth Academy or for FunGrass at Music Camp. Contact me for information about the Academy and about scholarship money. Last year’s outreach to the music community throughout Northern California also brought new young people to participate in the Kids on Bluegrass (KOB) program at Father’s Day. Sharon Elliott is back assisting Frank Solivan with the KOB and she will also be happy to answer questions about that performance activity at FDF. Kathleen Rushing is again in charge of FunGrass (Music Camp) and KidFest (the children’s recreational festival activity). Bruce Long is having another joint replaced and could use some help with the Instrument Lending Library….Bruce was unable to attend FDF last year and we are crossing our fingers that he will be able to attend this year but he will struggle with the instruments. Some unknown (to me) festival attendee loaded (and I mean LOADED) his VW Van with all the instruments donated to the Library during last year’s event and personally drove them down the hill to Bruce’s house. There are small jobs and large jobs that can be done with all these parts of the Youth Program. In order to volunteer with the Youth Program, we require a current CBA membership and you must consent to background checks (the exception is the Lending Library because there is rare direct contact with children without parents present). I can be a direct contact for any of the Youth Program activities and will forward you to the appropriate person. [email protected]
We are sad to hear that the Kings River Bluegrass Festival (aka Hobbs Grove) has closed the gate for 2014. Festival Director Stan Allen had to make this tough decision based on falling attendance for the last couple of years with a subsequent financial loss. Perhaps the Kings River community, a strong membership base for the CBA, can get together and revive the event during a different time or in a different place or with a different format. It is unclear why attendance continued to drop because everyone who ever attended raved about the event and the venue. We know there are ardent bluegrass supporters in the geographic area and some of our most valuable volunteers reside close by. We hope this is only a hiatus and not a permanent cancellation of a beloved event.
My fingers are crossed that we will have many April Showers this month but not during the Cloverdale event or the Spring Campout. We definitely want some more water for our beloved State.

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