President’s Message presented at BMAM Annual Meeting 2020
Hello Bluegrass Friends,
Good to see everyone. Hope everyone is well. Welcome to the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine’s Annual Meeting 2020.
Thank you to the members for electing me President again this year.
First, Congratulations to our new and re-elected Board Members – our newest member Shari Elder, and congratulations to Dale Canning, Stan Keach, Joe Kennedy and Nellie Kennedy, all of whom have given so much of your time to BMAM. Without you this great organization would not be able to thrive and continue.
I want to thank all the BMAM Board Members and Officers – Scott Chaisson, Dean Henderson , Brewster Bassett, and Bob Bergesch, for being steadfast and loyal to the BMAM during these unprecedented times. We have successfully moved from meeting in person to navigating these meetings online. Special thanks to Nellie, who is continuing to set up the meetings on Zoom and sending out emails and notices to all.
Since the pandemic was first announced, BMAM made the hard but responsible decisions to discontinue jams right away. Not unlike all other events, our Maine bluegrass festival promoters had to make the same hard decisions, too. As we all know, it was emotionally difficult for all our members, bluegrass fans and musicians to watch events close down – – one after another. And, underlying that, it has been a devastating financial road for many bands, events, venues and organizations to navigate these last eight months.
As we expect, it may be a while until we are safely able to come together to sing and play, I am hoping that in the near future BMAM can share our love of bluegrass music online through our website and Facebook, as well as expanding our online presence to other platforms that can help us stay together as an organization.
Starting back at the Roost in Buxton where we held our first jams, it was our being together that made being in BMAM such a special thing, and we will strive to continue in any way we can until we once again resume jams and are side by side.
Also, I want to thank Joan Richert, who, for many years, has coordinated our Eastern Jam at the Grange in Brewer, as she is stepping down from this post. Her total dedication to the Eastern Jam has enabled this jam to flourish both in numbers of pickers, listeners, memberships and enthusiasm for BMAM. It is volunteers like Joan that are the face of BMAM and keep us going. Thanks again to Joan. This being said, we will now be in search of someone to step in to help the jam in Brewer to continue.
Because most members sign up at our booths during the festivals, I want to thank those who have renewed already by mail, I and encourage folks to use the online membership forms and paypal on our website to renew or donate to BMAM. We are counting on memberships to ‘keep the lights on’ during these times, until we return to business as usual with Jam entrance donations and sales of T-shirts, etc.
Again, thanks to the Board and the general membership for voting me in as President of the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine.
I hope all our members can continue to keep bluegrass music in their lives, through recordings, online events, and even in person events if possible.
AND to all the pickers, myself included, let’s take this time to learn some new songs, practice or memorize the ones we know or just improve skills on our instruments. Thank you again, and may you, and all your family and friends, stay safe until we meet again.
Mama Beth Revels
Bluegrass Music Association of Maine