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RPMDA Convention 2020: A Message from David Jahnke

Christian Wissmuller • Upfront • March 11, 2020
Growing up, one of my parents’ favorite songs was The Byrds’ classic remake of Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season).”  This song came to mind while contemplating the uncertainty of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and its potential impact on our May convention: “A time to build up, a time to break down. A time to dance, a time to mourn. A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.”
The RPMDA convention is our time to gather stones together {disclaimer: RPMDA members are the rocks upon which the music industry is built, but for now we’ll use the “stone” reference since it’s part of the song}. The RPMDA convention is our time to build each other up and our time to celebrate (dance) that we are part of the best industry in the world. Yet with so much trepidation about travel and large gatherings I’m not surprised if you are second-guessing attending the convention. You can absolutely be assured that your Board is watching this situation closely and we are taking all of the same precautions that you are hearing about on the news. Our host hotel is stepping up to provide the cleanest of meeting facilities and our optional Saturday event (The New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival) is still progressing as planned (at least for now). We have a slight “wait and see” advantage because our convention is at the end of April but at the same time, a lot can happen between now and then.
For now, we are going to continue moving forward with convention as planned, but at the same time we need your help. If you have already registered for the convention but have concerns, please let me know. If you’ve been thinking about coming to the convention but you’re now uncertain because of the travel situations, let me know. If you’re completely on board and are looking forward to elbow-bumping instead of hand shaking your RPMDA family, I would love to know. If you haven’t already gotten what we are trying to accomplish with this RPMDA update, here it is: LET DJ KNOW! Your health and safety is our biggest priority which is why I’m encouraging you to contact me personally with your thoughts.
Afterall, the RPMDA Convention is put on by the members, for the members. There is nothing better than our gathering of stones and we’re going to continue to plan our convention until someone tells us otherwise. Some of you have already asked if we would consider canceling, or to put it in Mr. Seeger’s words: a time to break down (cancel the convention), a time to mourn (that we’re not getting to see our RPMDA family), a time to cast away stones. I’ll save you all of the details, just know that canceling a convention might seem easy but there are contractual obligations and guarantees which complicate things. We will continue to work with the Hyatt Regency who is in daily contact with New Orleans city officials and Louisiana state offices to ensure the best and safest convention experience possible. If at any time the Hyatt, local or state officials feel it isn’t in the publics best interest to visit the city, we will let you know. Otherwise…to everything, turn, turn, turn; this is our season for RPMDA, turn, turn, turn. I look forward to our time of gathering stones together.
By the way, one thing that will remain certain despite the world around us: Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker helped make an already great song just that much better!
Stay healthy and safe…
David “DJ” Jahnke
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