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From the Executive Director

Young girl plays trumpet with coaching from her father
Release Date
Thursday, November 8, 2018

No Falling Flat with the DC Jazz Festival by Executive Director Sunny Sumter

Summer in DC seemed like it ended a few days ago with an unseasonably warm start to fall and with temperatures only recently giving way to days less hot and humid. Maybe that’s because our nation’s capital was hot with jazz this past summer, thanks to all of the incredible work we (and other fine jazz institutions) have done and continued to do in 2018. Our off-season isn’t always as slow as one might think, especially when the work of the DC Jazz Festival continues to expand across the city in new and exciting ways that spell out new and exciting education and concert opportunities through the end of the year and into 2019. 

Some of you may have heard the DC Jazz Festival (DCJF) was awarded the honor of a Compass project, but if that’s news to you, let’s bring you up to speed. During a period of a rigorous critical assessment starting in the end of 2017 and concluding at the end of this past summer, our nonprofit received pro bono counsel from a team of brilliant consultants who helped us to look at our existing practices and identify areas that would benefit from targeted growth and careful improvement and revamping. We are indebted to Compass for their guidance and the tireless work that the Compass  team did for us – at their own volition and volunteerism! Thanks to many of their insightful recommendations, our organization is poised to tackle 2019 with even more vim and vigor, alongside a robust strategic plan that’ll take us to new heights. 

Speaking of their suggestions, one of the key takeaways from our Compass project was the recommendation to hire an internal marketing staff position on our team. Our SAGE team continues to be invaluable in all of their marketing and communications prowess and have done such a service to us in establishing the brand of this amazing festival, but as our organization has grown, we realized the  need for an in-house marketing professional to accommodate that growth. This brings me to Kimberly Homer – the DCJF’s new Associate Marketing Director! Kimberly comes to our team with years and years of exciting marketing experience spanning the world and in an array of disciplines, and we can’t wait to have her with us on this journey. (Check out her intro in her own words here!)

You may have also noticed that, in addition to our festival season program expanding, the breadth and depth of Education Program continues developing into an absolutely robust offering. Thanks to the altruism of the Wells Fargo Foundation in the form of a $15,000 gift to this program, our organization has been able to implement new and exciting initiatives for education. Our work in education, managed by Rochelle Rice, continues to be the guiding light of all that the DC Jazz Festival does, as “jazz for all” paves the way for a continued bright future for jazz, embodied in the talents of our children.

There’s no falling flat at the DC Jazz Festival; we stay sharp to keep in-tune with you – the best jazz fans in all the land. And on that note, I want to remind all our awesome supporters that the 2019 DC JazzFest will also be our 15th anniversary! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the many exciting announcements yet to come (like our upcoming Annual Trustee Gala in January with a very special guest). We can’t wait to show you what’s in store!