As we find ourselves days away from our 5th annual award show, I would like to thank each and every one of you for the support and dedication you have shown the Country Music Association of Ontario. Without your input and interest, this organization could and would not exist. You are the mighty ocean that keeps this vessel afloat.
When I was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2008, it was with great pause and trepidation that I accepted the position offered by Barry Haugen, who would later become President of the newly christened ship “Ontario Country Music Association”. Those first few voyages were challenging but our captain led the way as we got our sea legs. Under Barry’s command, he skilfully guided the ship through some choppy waters.
Later, Heather Ostertag would take the wheel. If ever the term “when the going gets tough the tough get going” was relevant, it would apply under her leadership. Heather set the sails that would continue to move this organization forward, always with the highest respect and utmost interest of its membership in mind.
After Heather’s term, it was Sam Arraj. He continued to steer the ship on a straight and narrow heading toward our destination. His dedication and deep interest in new artists was, and still is, admirable. Sam’s number crunching skills were invaluable as he held a steady course and keen eye on our financial horizons.
Finally, I was given the honour of taking the helm, but by then, the ship was cutting the waves on an even keel. The officers and crew had done a remarkable job of righting the ship. All I had to do was follow the compass bearing that those had set before me. With their guidance and knowledge sharing, they made the journey clear sailing all the way. Thank you.
Seafaring analogies aside…
As I reach the end of my term as President, I would like to acknowledge all the volunteer Board members, past and present – those who have inspired and worked so hard for the Country Music Association of Ontario. In particular, I’d like to personally acknowledge Wendell Ferguson, Catherine Faint, Brian Allen, Anya Wilson, Craig Parks, Samantha Pickard and more recently, Executive Director Verle Mobbs; each of whom were mentors on this fantastic voyage.
In closing, I want to extend my appreciation to all the members, artists, contributors, volunteers and sponsors. It has been an honour to have served you over the past eight years. Thank you for allowing me to be part of an organization that has made a difference and helped make country music matter in Ontario, Canada, and in fact, the world. I have learned so much.
And speaking of learning, I urge you to attend CMAOntario seminars, conferences and new talent showcases when they come to a town or city near you. If you are a member, please encourage anyone you know who might be interested in joining the Country Music Association of Ontario. There is so much to learn.