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New Blues Foundation Board Members Announced

Musical Legend Bo DiddleyThe election for The Blues Foundation’s Board of Directors has been completed. The recently elected members will begin three year terms beginning September 15 when the Board meets in Virginia Beach, VA in conjunction with the Blues On The Beach Festival. Five seats were filled by the vote of the membership and five were elected by the current Board.

The membership elected: Gary Anton, a Tallahassee, FL, attorney and owner of Bradfordville Blues Club who also produces an annual Blues festival; Blues singer Barbara Blue, who regularly performs at Silky O’ Sullivan’s at the corner of 3rd and Beale in Memphis, TN; Betsie Brown, Crows Feet Productions, Memphis, TN, a publicist and past Board member; Karen McFarland, a member of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society in the Quad Cities, a retired college professor and former Board member with broad experience in Blues education; and Bill Wax, popular disc jockey on XM Satellite Radio’s Bluesville program, Washington DC.

The five members elected by current Board members include two incumbent members, and three newcomers, including the first ever European director. The elected incumbents are Pat Morgan, manager for Pinetop Perkins and Willie Big Eyes Smith and a retired professor at UC Berkeley who has been active in the Blues community for over 25 years; and John Hahn, New York City, Shemekia Copeland’s manager and a well-known songwriter and producer and has been a creative director at two of the most successful advertising agencies in the world, BBDO and McCann-Erickson.

Newly elected members include: Jostein Forsberg, Chairman of the Board, Notodden Blues Festival in Norway; Zac Harmon, a Texas-based musician with a MBA degree who is both the 2004 International Blues Challenge and a 2006 Blues Music Award winner; and Jerry "Boogie" Mason , Mississippi resident, long time Blues radio deejay and owner/publisher of The Boogie Report, a web portal and newsletter dedicated to Soul Blues music.

The newly-elected members join current Board members Paul Benjamin, Joe Bonamassa, Randy Chortkoff, Domenic Forcella, Bruce Iglauer, Kevin Kane, Fred Litwin, Nashid Madyun, Dorothy Moore, Patrick Reilly, Chris Sabie, David Sanjek, Charles Shipp, Steve Simon and Art Tipaldi.

Board President Paul Benjamin, Rockland, ME noted “We had a wealth of top-notch candidates this year, much deeper than in recent years which I think reflects the Blues community’s desire to get involved based on their overall enthusiasm for the current state of The Blues Foundation. They want to be a member of the team.”

Executive Director Jay Sieleman agreed on the depth of qualified candidates this year and added “I think the results increasingly reflect the diversity of the worldwide Blues community—we now have U.S., Canadian and Norwegian members, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian, male and female."

The following Board members will be concluding their three-year terms in September: Chip Eagle, Vasti Jackson, Karen Leipziger, James Nixon, Paul Oscher and Shirley Mae Owens.
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