Since its inception in 2008, it is with utmost pride that I’ve watched the Country Music Association of Ontario grow into a meaningful organization that matters to our artists and all its members. The efforts put forth by the past and present Board of Directors has been amazing. So many initiatives have been brought forward and undertaken, but one that seems to be overlooked and should be mentioned is the Regional Associations’ meetings that are held three or four times a year.
It all began in 2009, when past President Barry Haugen and I called a meeting of associations in Vancouver during Canadian Country Music Week. It was an informal affair, attended by three provincial association representatives. Our intention was to bring us together for the common goal of making things better for our members. Prior to that, there were no collective communications among country music associations from each province.
This small gathering turned out to be the start of something remarkable. Since then, under the umbrella of the Canadian Country Music Association, it has grown to include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Each year, we have meetings and phone conferences, all in the interests of our artists, members and fans. The goal is to bring each association up to speed regarding our events, swap ideas and create possible performance opportunities for our artists.
From these meetings were born initiatives such as the Spotlight Performance Contest, which has become a highlight of CCMA week.
We have also discussed the possibility of an exchange program whereby, for example, if an Ontario act is seeking gigs in another province, they could be supplied with information by the host association regarding possible venues; or perhaps, offered a performance opportunity on a showcase sponsored by the association. In exchange, given the opportunity, we would do the same for their touring artists.
I’d like to thank Don Green and Alannah Cruickshank (CCMA) for chairing the Regional Associations meetings. The interest they have shown in our associations inspires us to fulfill our mandate of fostering and promoting talent – not only provincially, but nationally.
One another note:
Lately, you may have noticed that our acronym has changed from CMAO to CMAOntario.
This new brand will make our association more recognizable, and emphasize our provincial involvement and commitment. This also underscores our intention to aggressively promote Ontario’s country talent beyond our borders – nationally and internationally – while focusing on our province.