About the ABA

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Why Join?

Some of the benefits of joining the Arizona Bluegrass Association include:

  • Monthly newsletter, “Bluegrass Beacon”, e-mailed directly to you. Stay connected with bluegrass events in Arizona even if you travel. See past newsletters here.
  • Social activities such as our campouts and spring and Christmas parties.
  • Opportunities for volunteering, teaching, leadership and mentoring; Membership helps support bluegrass music outreach activities in Arizona.
  • Members “circle the wagons” at festivals and other events to jam together.

Annual membership dues are $20/year for an individual or family membership, or $10 for for members under 21 years of age.

Organization

The Arizona Bluegrass Association is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of the State of Arizona and is IRS recognized as a 501 (c)(3), an educational, historical and tax exempt public corporation. It is not organized for the private gain of any person, or persons. Membership fees, merchandise sales, donations, and fund-raising projects, all of which pay for the events, activities, and programs we offer, wholly support the Arizona Bluegrass Association. All gifts, including cash, and instruments, are fully tax deductible within the IRS Tax Code. Membership is not tax deductible.

Our Mission

Our mission at the Arizona Bluegrass Association is to promote and encourage the uniquely American musical forms of bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and traditional instrumental and vocal music of the United States. We are dedicated to promoting these music forms throughout Arizona and the Desert Southwest.

We accomplish this through facilitating jams, workshops and other educational opportunities for “pickers” of all skill levels. Those who don’t play an instrument (grinners) but enjoy the music are encouraged to get involved and help us spread the word about this great musical style.

Leslie Rhodes

Leslie Rhodes

Chairman

Hi there, My name is Leslie and I am now the 2017 ABA Board Chairman. My goal and focus this year is to do all that I can to help grow Bluegrass as well as grow the Arizona Bluegrass Association. Rick and I have been in the A.B.A. since 2005 and have supported Bluegrass whenever possible. We have learned so much from those who have been ” bluegrassers” much longer than we have been and we want to keep the tradition of bluegrass living on through A.B.A.. I always welcome new ideas and suggestions and any information you feel would be a help to the growth of bluegrass. I want to say thank you to the members for voting for me this past election and thank you to the new board for voting me in as Chairman. I look forward to this exciting year of bluegrass. Leslie for bluegrass.

leslie@arizonabluegrass.com

Jan Zale

Jan Zale

Co-Chairman

I’ve called Arizona home since 1978 when I moved here after graduating from college in Michigan. I first was introduced to bluegrass in 1990 when I met my soon-to-be husband, Mike, who had been playing bluegrass since the 60’s. I play bass and sing and have been involved in different bands over the past 25 years or so. I’ve been on many local and national boards in the past and know how important it is to provide the best services possible to members while working within the organization’s legal limits. I’ve been on the ABA board the past few years, as Chairman and Secretary, and have a goal of creating written policies and procedures to aid new Board members and volunteers.

jan@arizonabluegrass.com

Vivian Hartwell

Vivian Hartwell

Secretary

I was born in Kansas, clicked my Red Shoes, and ended up in Arizona. Met my husband, Stephen, at a music jam while discussing how to mend his broken music book with Poly Grip. It didn’t work on the book, but we have been together ever since. I have been in some form of accounting and bookkeeping for the past forty years. I have two children and six grandchildren who all live in Casa Grande, Arizona. My husband and I have been taking care of the ABA booth for the past year, and we are starting our second season while we enjoy meeting all sorts of very nice people. My husband, Steve Hartwell, plays guitar at different ABA jams. I don’t know what it means, but he walks around muttering “Mama Don’t Allow”.

vivian@arizonabluegrass.com

Steve Hartwell

Steve Hartwell

Hi everybody, Steve Hartwell here with my wife Vivian, I am about to enlighten you with some unknown facts about myself. I play the guitar a little bit and the mandolin a little bit. I don’t play long songs or instrumentals as I am an old guy with a short memory. That’s why I play a little bit and short songs. Vivian and I have taken care of the ABA Booth this past year by attending every festival except Wickenburg (had to work my real job.) Prescott Festival and Pickin’ in Pines in Flagstaff this year were really great. Vivian sold shirts and took memberships at both festivals. The proceeds from each were a little over $1000.00 each. Glenn and Lydia helped at Flagstaff, and their efforts are greatly appreciated. We live in Casa Grande, have a jam at the house now and then,;if interested please call 602-882-1940 and we will put your name on the list. We met a lot of great people and made some lasting friendships. Would continue with this, but Mama Don’t Allow…If you attend the camp-out at New Years, you will understand why Mama Don’t Allow.)

steve@arizonabluegrass.com

Charlie Robinson

Charlie Robinson

Born and raised in Arizona. Coming from a musical family, there was always music at our house. At least once a month we had a jam session at the house. While the kids were chasing each other, our parents would be playing bluegrass. Great way to grow up. I didn’t start playing until after high school where I played sports. I was at a festival in the early 80’s and around a campfire at night, someone put in a tape of Ralph Stanley. That change the game for me. It was bluegrass from then on. My involvement in bluegrass is to let people know that it is here in AZ. More so, is to teach the history behind it.

charlie@arizonabluegrass.com

Rick Rhodes

Rick Rhodes

Following the legacy of my dad, I started playing the guitar in junior high school. Peter, Paul and Mary along with Simon and Garfunkel, were the mainstay at that time. Later on in high school, I taught guitar through the Parks Department in Maryland. I studied classical guitar and performed in stage band as well, including upright bass in orchestra. In 1978, Tucson became home. I started playing electric bass in country rock bands. Early 2000, Leslie, my wonderful wife, gave me a 5 string banjo for Christmas. In November 2006, I was approached by Paul Wilson to run for the Arizona Bluegrass Association Board, I ran for the Board and became the next A.B.A. Chairman. For 5 years Leslie and I enjoyed the friendships of many people in the Bluegrass scene. We still see many bluegrass musicians grow and form bands from new jams we helped establish. We enjoy sharing our passion for bluegrass! Finally, I would like to see our Association have our very own bluegrass festival right here in Phoenix.

rick@arizonabluegrass.com

Mary Tieszen

Mary Tieszen

Mary Tieszen has had a great interest in music since childhood. She started classical piano at the age of 4, and was quite accomplished by the age of 18. After graduating from college, she opened her world of music to include a variety of genres. She was introduced to bluegrass music 30+ years ago in the Ozarks of Missouri. She admits she has been hooked ever since. ‘Old Chunk of Coal’ and ‘Unclouded Day’ were a couple of the first songs she remembers. Mary never considered being a bluegrass musician, but rather was content being an enthusiastic grinner. Howard Matthews, an old time fiddler from the Phoenix area, encouraged her to play the fiddle. Mary is now a charter member of the Fireside Bluegrass Band as their fiddler and vocalist. She loves her band so much, she is retiring November 30, 2016 from her work as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Mary has the interest (and now the time) to give back to the bluegrass community that has encouraged her to start and continue on the fiddle. She is happy to be a part of the Arizona Bluegrass Association and a member of the board.  She would love to see bluegrass music flourish in Arizona.

mary@arizonabluegrass.com

Betty Artman

Betty Artman

ABA membership records administrator

betty@arizonabluegrass.com

 

ABA Beacon newsletter

send your inout to:

editor@arizonabluegrass.com