I've been busy entertaining out of town family and havnt had much time for business let alone the internet. I have however been keeping up on the T-Bay message board (very slow this week, but thats to be expected)and I have been folllowing this thread from time to time.
First I understand why Brian is looking to add new ideas to the chapter concept and agree this may be a way to inhance activity in areas that have been hard nuts to crack for the chapter program. As he also stated existing chapter that do work can keep the ball rolling with what has been working for them. Good.
Here's my take on the last three years as chapter coordinator of one of the most productive chapter in the JPF family.
The Tampa Bay Chapter is successful because we work at it. It's as simple as that. Nothing good comes without effort and some sacrafice.But it also has to be FUN.
Because I work for myself (I'm a Realtor with a home office)I have total control over my work day. I check our boards throughout the day and 'try' not to let anyones post go unanswered. We are consistant in our showcases/meetings, usually on the last Sunday of the month. This gives us something to look forward to as well as a time frame in which to prepare new material for showcasing.
I choose venues where we can order a meal and a cool beverage and if need be a smoke "outside". Somewhere where there is a stage with p.a. and lights. When we showcase, we are showcasing.
And we make it about networking. The first 45 minutes to an hour is strictly networking. If I see a new face I will greet them and ask them to fill out a breif contact info sheet and introduce them to a few of the regulars.That regular member will inturn introduce them to others. After addressing the chapter with issues concerning local musicians and or items of interest for JPF I will ask for those with any announcements to come up and share. Involvement. Its our chapter.
We have had guest speakers in the past. This is something I have let slip this past year but its on the top of my list for 2006.
We have key members who help...
Cindy LaRosa is not only one of our more professional members but has taken the reigns in organizing a chapter holiday party on December 11th.
Jerry Jakala not only plays with the backing band (Horsefeathers) but is out networking and supporting many of the folks who do play out and posting on the T-Bay message board. I will announce him as co-cordinator this Holiday party.
Dan Copeland orchestrates Horsefeathers and has been with us since day one. Andy Karpinski, Alex Wolfe Parnes are key players in Horsefeathers. I could go on but the point is that we can count on these folks because they know that they can count on the chapter. We actually had to cancel our October meeting and showcase which was a very hard judgement call and it took an impending huricaine to do that. CONSISTANCY.
These past three years I have been lucky to meet through this chapter some great folks who have become true friends. It has inspired me to be a better musician, and promoter. You have to look at the big picture here when you get involved. There is something here for everyone and it blows me away that all chapters arent blockbusting.
Al Alvarez
Tampa Bay Chapter Coordinator
"Chapter of the Year"
Just Plain Folks

See my "Just Plain Folks" page at my site and meet many of your fellow JPFers of T-Bay.
"Remember, If you don't make a big deal about yourself, don't expect anyone else to".