Building a Powerful Jazz Community For the Future!
by Caleb Chapman
It seems like just a few weeks ago I stepped into the role of JEN President. I blinked and now the 2017 conference is almost upon us! I can’t tell you all how excited I am to be inspired by all the performances, workshops, panels, sessions, and of course, the “hang”. Like many of you, I am also looking forward to spending time in the Crescent City. As the conference returns to New Orleans for the first time since 2011 it was no surprise to watch our conference hotel sell out early. But I’ll admit I was shocked at how quickly our overflow housing sold out as we look to what will surely be our largest conference yet.
JEN is quickly moving from a small, dedicated group of music education and industry visionaries to an international force moving improvised music into this new millennium. For the first time in six years, JEN’s membership is growing and has already increased 30% since the summer. We expect this trend to continue through our conference and well into next year. As a matter of fact, the JEN Board is focused on doubling our membership by the end of 2017.
At first glance this might seem like an unattainable goal, but it is well within reach. The truth is, I imagine each of you reading this probably know 5-10 people who should be members of JEN now. To double our ranks, we just need each member to invite one friend or colleague to join. Easy!
So what’s holding you up from making the invitation?
If you were waiting to see if the organization could deliver on a world-class conference, you now know the answer to that. JEN’s annual gathering is already legendary as one of the most well-run and beneficial events thanks to the dedication of our massive conference production team led with passion by JEN Co-Founder, Dr. Lou Fischer.
If you were waiting to see if JEN would make it out of the gate, with nearly a decade under its belt the organization has proven its staying power. The JEN Board already had planned our conferences and programs for the next several years. JEN isn’t going anywhere but up!
If you were waiting to see if JEN was going to put a real focus on students and young musicians the sold-out JENerations Jazz Festival has answered that question. As a result those attending the conference will see thousands of young musicians hungry to grow their skills and network. Our Outreach Program spearheaded by JEN’s other Co-Founder, Mary Jo Papich along with the tens of thousands of dollars JEN has given in scholarships further cements JEN’s commitment to the next generation of jazz.
If you were waiting for more benefits beyond attending our annual conference the 30+ new member benefits we will unveil at the conference will make your membership value skyrocket. Some of these new benefits include magazine subscriptions, free charts and recordings, discounts at major retailers, and literally a host of others. A quick exercise in math will demonstrate that a JEN membership isn’t just a good investment – it’s a complete no-brainer!
As JEN’s membership continues to leap forward, our sponsors, network value, exhibitors, and conference presenters will all continue to grow exponentially. Until now, much of the work at JEN has been conducted by an incredibly dedicated group of individuals. The job of growing our numbers at the rate we want to see is bigger than those people can handle and we absolutely need your help. In short, the time to invite your friends, colleagues, and students to become members of the world’s leading organization for jazz education and advocacy is today! Don’t wait. Help us make history and make the commitment to spread the word about JEN.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and hoping to see you in New Orleans!
In addition to his role as JEN President, Caleb Chapman is Founder and President of Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse, Director of the Crescent Super Band, and Artistic Director for Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts. He serves on several boards including the Utah Arts Council, and is an award-winning musician, producer, educator, author, and speaker. To learn more about Caleb, please visit www.ccsoundhouse.com.