We are 4!

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We turned four this week!

Four years ago a group of us met in the Cass Corridor and then drove over to the Blue Bird Inn for a photo shoot and meet up.

We’ve come a long way since then.

We now have an office, archive, and exhibit space.

We have a growing collection, including a thousand vinyl records, hundreds of posters, thousands of clippings and flyers, hundreds of cassette tapes, and original artifacts from one of the first jazz museums in the world, not to mention an expanding archive of digital files from scanned images to oral histories.

And of course we have a great team which includes:

— our steadfast board Secretary Angie Linder who has kept us focused for more than two years.

— our brilliant board Treasurer Donna Gardner who has kept our books balanced since we became an independent non-profit.

— our eloquent Vice President and Archivist Michelle McKinney who gives us the preservation gravitas we need to move ahead with our collections.

— our steady-handed Vice President and soon-to-be President LaVell Williams who has helped steer our mission since our earliest days.

— and, finally, our current WSU School of Library and Information Sciences intern Sidne who is working on our posters and photographs this winter.

We also have an incredible group of advisers. With their advice and enthusiasm, they have shaped the DSC from before the beginning. Their financial and in-kind support has sustained us as we’ve moved forward each season and year since that first sunny but brisk day on Tireman.

And we have YOU — our donors / online watchers / likers / followers.

Through our combined efforts, our story of a musical city confident in its shared aural past and hopeful about its cooperative sonic future has circulated in Detroit, throughout the country, and even across the globe through social media and the international press. New Orleans, Cincinnati, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Zürich — these cities are hearing what we are doing. Our message is resonating. Even Harlem, through the concentrated efforts of our adviser and Detroit-native-now-New-Yorker Aja Wood, is in the process of starting its own Sound Conservancy.

In 2016, we plan to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April and International Jazz Day on April 30th. Later this spring, we plan to follow though with our plan for a Dan Sicko Scholarship. This summer we hope to unveil an historic marker at United Sound in time for John Lee Hooker‘s 99th birthday. In the fall, we plan to convene our third annual Detroit Sound Conference the same week as the 100th birthday of James Jenkins, the founder of the Graystone Jazz Museum. One of the themes will be the relationship between music and neighborhood development.

And, based on the vigorous work done so far by our interns and volunteers this winter, we are on schedule to be open to researchers and public by the end of the year.

Simultaneously we are going through growth and change in terms of governance and resources.

LaVell Williams will be taking my place as President of the DSC. I will stay on as Executive Director. At the same time, we plan to bring additional board members on to help us maintain momentum and bring new energy and skills to the table.

As for resources, we are already busting out of our current space and have already started thinking about our next, more sustainable, home. This new space should be as up-to-date as possible, temperature and humidity controlled, safe, and expansive, allowing us to bridge the gap between where we are now and our final archive, museum, and programming space somewhere in this great, creative, city that we all love.

How do you we get there? We will need to imagine and forge that path together.

That is why we plan on a major pledge campaign later this month so please sign up for our mailing list so you can be a part of that.

The DSC is creating a new music culture for a future Detroit. We celebrate sounds, tell stories, build memories, and impact neighborhoods.

Where will we be in another 4 years?

Stay tuned.

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