Having read some of the postings by "Gypsy," I can recognize that there are people out there who would only show up when there is something for themselves to gain and then disappear, making judgments about the group from the outside, without bothering to get the full picture or information.
Gypsy says he was invited to a meeting of the Buffalo/Niagara chapter and wasn't interested in attending because it was "in a members garage." Had he bothered to show up - at any meeting- or had he bothered to look closely at what was going on, he would have known that the particular member's "garage" is actually a free standing building, remodeled as a recording studio and rehearsal room,with art on the acoustically treated walls, a carpeted floor, ceiling fans in the cathedral ceiling, a built-in audio/video system, and glass french doors at the entranceway. In short, a very nice place to hold the particular meeting to which he refers. The meeting was well attended by our chapter members who enjoyed an excellent guest speaker (someone with much to offer on the creative process and promotional issues). As with most of our meetings, we ended with a mini-showcase, so that our members could obtain feedback from others on new songs, songs in progress, and arrangements of other tunes.
It's too bad Gypsy chose not to attend the meeting. He obviously resents the fact that his own tavern wasn't chosen as a meeting site, but I find it hard to believe that somebody who has never attended a meeting would think that the group would instantly say "let's all go to this guys bar" just because he posted an invitation.
I have been with the Buffalo/Niagara chapter for years. We have had a number of guest speakers on topics such as songwriting, copyright issues, publishing, PROs, promotion, etc., and more guest-speaker meetings are planned. We have done our own showcases. We have met to critique music that has been submitted, and we provide support as well as time for open discussion on myriad topics.
What Gypsy doesn't seem to understand, and what, perhaps, should also be considered by all Chapters, is that the success of this particular chapter is in part based on the fact that we have a core of dedicated members, who are not only dedicated to JPF, but to eachother. Gypsy is correct that you can find lots of "pat on the back" postings on our Chapter board. That is because the regular members care about eachother. We want to know where members are playing, and we show up to encourage them. If we like something a member has done, we let everyone know. We are not political, although we discuss topics of interest to everyone. We are open to everyone, we love to have new people show up, and we share information on new venues and ideas.
We're all in this together, we're not all in this solely for our own benefit. We also share many of the responsibilities for setting up meetings, showcases, getting speakers, newsletters, etc.
There will always be those people who only show up at chapter meetings when they think they can get some personal gain out of it. It's that way in all organizations. Interest will rise and fall over time. However, as long as there are members who, like our core group, are interested in associating with and helping others, the chapter will continue to flourish.