Hello, SAMF supporters and friends of the Foundation!

I’m writing to share with an update on what’s been happening since I became executive director in July of 2023. Over the past year, we’ve had some pretty exciting initiatives and programs going on, and we’ve got much more planned for the rest of the year, and beyond.

– First, in its continuing dedication to fostering and promoting music education programs and initiatives in Buffalo and Western New York, and thereby deepening access to Americana music in all its forms throughout the region, SAMF kicked off the new year with the announcement of an exciting new collaboration between our foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Arts & Culture Initiative, and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in support of the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective and its Love Supreme School of Music.

In late December, SAMF awarded a $15,000 grant to the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective to support the organization’s general operating costs, including those associated with maintaining and running the Love Supreme School of Music.

The school, founded in 2003, was named after the iconic, transcendental John Coltrane composition A Love Supreme, and has been offering music lessons and mentorship to predominantly school-age children free of charge in the time since.

Currently, the school serves in the area of 100 predominately African American young people with instrumental and vocal instruction, along with exposure to the history and culture of jazz, one of the deepest strains of Americana music.

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Director Dawn Martin Berry-Walker and the mentorship of School Director (and abundantly gifted musician) Marcus Lolo, the Love Supreme School has displayed a tireless commitment to its ideals – ideals that are in line with our own core principles here at SAMF. Through its efforts, the School has effected real, tangible change in the community it serves. We’re proud to play a part in furthering these efforts.

The SAMF endowment will aid the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective’s community efforts, including its ongoing search for a permanent brick and mortar home for the Love Supreme School, which currently operates out of the Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church on Masten Avenue.

According to Dawn Martin Berry-Walker, the Love Supreme School’s efforts employ music education and performance in service of the broader goal of providing students with life skills and personal wellness.

“The goal is to engage under-served members of the community, particularly school-age children, with instrumental and vocal lessons augmented by experiences to expand their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of music,” she says. “It embraces the idea that music is a universal language, familiar to young people and effective in garnering their attention.

“We incorporate the concept of improvisation and encourage it as a possible problem-solving consideration when confronted with other life challenges. Through the study of jazz, we expose students to creative and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and encourage incorporating them as reasonable approaches when faced with academic and social challenges.”

SAMF shares with Berry-Walker and her team the belief that immersion and education in music marks a concrete investment in our community’s future by changing the lives of young people in a deep, positive and lasting manner.

We’re deeply indebted to Yuki Numata Resnick, Director of Arts and Culture at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, for her efforts in helping to craft this opportunity for SAMF. In her role leading the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation’s Arts & Culture Initiative at the Community Foundation, Yuki is doing important work in our community – exactly the kind of work SAMF seeks to be involved with as our foundation moves forward.

Look for new programs resulting from this new partnership in the coming year, as SAMF continues its mission to celebrate the positive, meaningful change that immersion in music can bring to our community.

– In May, after much planning, SAMF was able to present Bobby Previte’s Music 360 Improvisation Workshop, the result of a new partnership with Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center.

Bobby is a drummer, composer, educator, Niagara Falls native and UB graduate who went on to become a highly respected name in the New York City jazz, rock and experimental music scene of the 80s, 90s and and beyond. He has played with a broad variety of major musicians, including John Zorn, Charlie Hunter, Marco Benevento, and Tom Waits.

Bobby is a highly respected name in the worlds of modern composition and improvisation. Over the past several years, he has been shifting his focus toward education. His  Music 360 Workshop has been produced for the past six years at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson, NY, where Bobby lives. Music 360 is a community-based workshop presented over several days, culminating in a live performance. It has, from the beginning, been offered for free to members of the music community.

Due to SAMF’s sponsorship, the Music 360 Workshop was able to be offered free of charge to a broad demographic of musician s of widely varying ages, musical interests, and skill sets. The week-long workshop culminated in a live performance at The Cave, and ended up being an unforgettable night.

Teaming with Bobby Previte and Hallwalls presented SAMF with a wonderful opportunity  to get involved with something that fits our mission to a T. The workshop further deepened our ties to the music community and fulfilled the more adventurous side of our music education mandate.

– Recently, our foundation teamed with The Buffalo Music Club and Borderland Festival founder Jennifer Brazil to formulate and present the Borderland Band Camp, which offers high school-age musicians the opportunity to participate in a three-week workshop that will culminate in a live performance on the Homespun Stage at the annual Borderland Music Festival, at Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, NY, September 13-15. (Headliners at this year’s Borderland include The Black Crowes, Marcus King Band, Cory Wong and Camp, among dozens more.)

Participants will work with a team of professional teaching artists throughout the camp, which runs in August and takes place at The Cave, Sportsmen’s Tavern, Sportsmen’s Park and Imagine Studios – all located on the Sportsmen’s Complex in Black Rock. There will be two “warm-up” performances at The Cave during the camp, as the students and teaching artist house band hone their ensemble skills for the big gig at Borderland.

Here’s some of what I wrote for the press release announcing this new venture:

“Through participation in the camp, our teaching artists aim to help students become better and more well-rounded musicians,” says Buffalo Music Club co-founder David Cloyd. “But on a deeper level, we hope to instill in them a ‘big picture’ view of what a career in music is actually like in real life – the discipline, the decisions, and the nuts and bolts of everything beyond the art. To that end, our camp activities will be focused on giving our participants the skills they need to put together a killer set for the final Borderland Festival performance—both on and off the stage.”

“SAMF is thrilled to be teaming with the Buffalo Music Club and Jen Brazill of Borderland for this unique, performance-focused camp,” says Sportsmen’s American Foundation executive director Jeff Miers. “Our foundation’s mission is to celebrate and support the transformative role that music can play in our lives – particularly in the lives of young musicians. By focusing on live ensemble performance, mentorship, and positive real-time interaction, the Borderland Band Camp provides foundational skills that will serve these young musicians in all aspects of their lives.”

The roster of teaching artists and instructors for the Borderland Band Camp includes drummer Damone Jackson, bassist Alex Overton, guitarist Dan Ross, trumpeter Jacob Jay, vocalist Blaise Mercedes, and rapper Chuckie Campbell. The Camp’s directors are musicians and Buffalo Music Club co-founders Eric Crittenden and David Cloyd, and myself.

We’d like programs like these to be yearly, not “one and done,” so our concentration now is on fundraising. We’ve got a membership dinner and fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, August 31, from 4-7 p.m. at Sully’s Harbor Bar, right on the Buffalo Harbor. This will be a seafood boil and open bar gathering, to both celebrate our current membership, and encourage attendees to become new members. Tickets are available now at the SAMF store. And we’ve also got a few fundraising concerts planned throughout late summer and fall.

Here’s to the future, and thanks for your continued role inn shaping that future!

Warm regards,

Jeff

Jeff Miers

Executive Director, Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation

Jeff Miers

Author Jeff Miers

More posts by Jeff Miers

Leave a Reply