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One of our CBA members retired some years back from a job as manager of the Golden Gate Bridge maintenance operation and he’s told me many a fascinating story about what it takes to keep that marvel of engineering safe and spiffy. You probably won’t be surprised to hear me compare maintaining the CBA web site to bridge painting. A grandiose comparison, I’m the first to admit, but there’s a grain of truth to it. You paint from one end to the other and it’s time to start all over again.

Our latest upgrade effort is focused on the web site’s online calendar and, more generally, the whole idea of reporting on coming events. Over the summer, our web-based calendar manager, Candy Sponhaltz worked closely with Mike Thomasson, our lead programmer, to do a major overhaul of the online calendar….more specifically, the page that allows folks to post events on the calendar. The challenge was to make event posting simpler and more intuitive, and, according to Candy, who does a HUGE amount of posting every month, the two have succeeded. There are fewer steps, the interface is more straightforward and the time it takes to post an event has been cut significantly. By clicking here you can see how the new system works.

Secondly, we’re working to pretty dramatically change the splash page of the web site to place a much greater focus on coming events. We’re going to remove all of the images in the right column associated with ‘features’ (will just have a simple listing of them) and use all of that space for reporting on and publicizing coming bluegrass events. A quite rough mock up of the new front page can be viewed at Your comments are always appreciated, especially in this case since we’ve not yet gone to production on the changes so there’s still time for revisions.

Now for the sales pitch. The second change, that of the new focus for the splash page, will increase the amount of new content needed each week for the web site. We’re looking for a couple of volunteers to help with this. As always, if you’re interested in pitching in just send me a note at [email protected]

Okay, since you clicked on the “continue” button and are sticking with me this morning I can’t let this opportunity go by without mentioning some Association stuff….

….We’ve already registered 130 students for the CBA’s Winter Camp. The last time I spoke with Ingrid she was especially stoked about a new offering called ‘Band Class’. Writes Ms. Noyes, “Band class, Level 3—Jack Tuttle will work with students to develop and improve playing in a bluegrass band setting. He’ll work with students on kick-offs, solos, lead and harmony vocals, backup, fills, dynamics and endings. While considerable time will be spent critiquing the ensemble sound, Jack will also work one-on-one with students and help with areas of need. Students can sign up individually or as a band. Prerequisites: Level 3 is defined as upper intermediate. You should have at least two years of playing experience, including some experience playing with others in jam sessions or in bands.” Everything you need to know about camp is right here.

….The GREAT 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield is shaping up to be the best yet. We’ve booked all of California’s bluegrass organizations into their own special jam suites, including the San Diego group which will take a corner suite for the first time this year. One of the great things about the GREAT is that although there are jams all over the place where you’ll meet people from other parts of the state, you can always go hang with other members of your Association when the spirit strikes you. For information about the Bakersfield event, including registration information at the hotel, click here.

….Early Bird Tickets are now on sale for Fathers Day 2012, and there’s money to be saved by grabbing some. And what a line up we’ll have….. The Seldom Scene~ ~ Steep Canyon Rangers ~~ Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass ~ ~ Country Current – US Navy Band ~ ~ The Deadly Gentlemen ~ ~ Bigfoot ~ ~ Loafer’s Glory ~~ Blue & Lonesome ~~ Foghorn ~~ Flatt Lonesome ~~ plus… California Showcase acts TBD ~~ Kids on Bluegrass and of course our five California Showcase Bands and another couple of dozen or so Vern’s and Pioneer Stage acts. And, yes, we’ll do our second Old-Time Gathering this year and we’ve hooked Steve Goldfield to bring that all together. (Note, TWO big name old-time acts this year.) You can check out the Early Birds by clicking here.

….Finally, last month at the Colusa Campout our new board members were seated. Welcome to you all! We also did what we were supposed to do at our annual organization meeting, and that is to appoint all of our valued team members into their respective positions. Lots of them remaining in their jobs, but also some new appointees. To see who’s on first and who’s on second, and also to maybe get just a glimpse of what it takes to keep a 352-day-a-year non-profit music association chugging along, you might want to visit our Coordinators and Staff Page

That’s all for now….and remember, post your events using the online calendar and then sit back and watch the crowds roll in.

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