Well, the dust has settled, the confetti swept up. Babies were kissed, and hands were shook. The result is, I find myself back on the Board of Directors of the California Bluegrass Association. It’s an honor and a privilege to be back.
For those that don’t know, I have served on this Board before. I had about a 5 years stint a few years ago, and had a great time, and I think I helped. The Board I’m on now is almost completely different than that Board, although I still know most of the people.
Obviously I can’t take credit for the fact that the CBA is better than it was when I last served on the Board, but that’s OK. I see a CBA that is younger, stronger and bigger than it was back then. I don’t have hard data on this, but from what I see at CBA events, I would say the membership overall is skewing younger than before and that’s excellent.
The CBA is a membership organization and the it’s up to the Board to do their best to make sure the directions we take reflect the desires of a majority of that membership. Do you have an idea how difficult it is to discern what a majority (or even a plurality) of what 2600 members want?
We have to gather information the best we can. We talk with members, and meet with them as often as possible. Members express themselves to the CBA Board through email, phone calls and the message board online.
But all these communications are a tiny fraction of the membership, and generally, represent those members who care to speak out. Many, many people aren’t inclined to make their feelings known. Sometimes, they don’t consider their feelings strong enough to spur them to action, or simply don’t want to get involved – they joined the CBA to support the music and have fun.
Being involved in politics – even in something as benevolent as the CBA – can be exhausting. No matter what the issue is, there are enough people on both sides of it to guarantee any direction the organization takes will be against the desires of hundreds of people.
First and foremost, we consider and remember the mission of the CBA: to promote, encourage, foster and cultivate the preservation, appreciate, understanding, enjoyment, support and performance of bluegrass, old-time, gospel and traditional instrumental and vocal music of the Unites States. In the end, most of the back-and-forth is about the details of how to accomplish that mission.
For some, the actions of Board seem to have little consequence – so long as there are jams, concerts and festivals to attend. For others, they have great passion about these details – witness the furious debates over what is, and what isn’t bluegrass. These debates will never be settled, once and for all, because there’s no one right answer – this is art, not algebra.
I want to hear from anybody that has concerns about the CBA. I want to hear from anyone who has ideas for the CBA. The more people I hear from, the better I’ll understand where the membership leans on a variety of subjects. But, please be prepared to tell me why you feel that way – is your opinion knee-jerk or is it a considered opinion? Be prepared to propose and well and dispose – it’s too easy to say what you don’t want – tell me what you do want as well.
My contact information is on the CBA website if you want to reach out. If you’d rather chat face-to-face, please come and talk with me when you see me at any bluegrass event. I want your voice to be heard!