Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle Programs
Among the concerts we present each year is the Earshot Jazz Festival. Known for “adventurous, spot-on programming” (Jazz Times) and praised as “one of the best festivals in America” (Seattle Times), the Earshot Jazz Festival brings jazz greats from around the world into creative collaboration with area artists and audiences. Earshot also celebrates Seattle’s place in the world of jazz, with concerts by our award-winning high-school jazz programs and our own renowned resident artists.
Earshot Jazz, the monthly news magazine published by Earshot, was cited by the journal Jazz Times as “consistently world class.” For over 28 years, the publication has delivered previews, profiles and reviews of Northwest jazz artists by area writers. It also includes the region’s most comprehensive calendar of local and regional jazz events. The publication functions as a means of serving, engaging and developing the regional jazz community. The information is also available on the Earshot Jazz website.
Our “Roots of Jazz” school assembly programs have reached over 40,000 k-12 students. Throughout the assembly, musicians provide a basic explanation of jazz, present its beginnings in America, and introduce some of its major contributors. The students participate in the three basic elements of the music -- rhythm, call and response (sharing), and improvisation (doing your own thing).
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Earshot’s commitment to the presentation of forward-thinking artists remains the organization’s major artistic accomplishment. This serves the art form and it’s generative artists, most of whom would not find a venue in the commercial jazz clubs. In 2012, Earshot directly presented 85 jazz events, serving over 14,500 audience members (2,900 of which attended free-of-charge). While Earshot regularly brings musicians from around the world to Seattle audiences, the organization is proud that 71% of artists presented (351 of 497 total artists) are residents of the Seattle area.
Through the generous support of 501 Commons and 4Culture of King County, we participated in the Springboard Consulting Program. Through that program, we identified specific organizational goals that we began pursuing. In 2012, Earshot planned and implemented an annual giving program aimed at individuals, and developed a systematic external communications program aimed at building awareness of the organization and the value that it provides.
One significant challenge facing Earshot Jazz is growing our programs and financial base in a time when organizations such as ours are threatened with shrinking contributed and earned income. Further complicating that challenge, our full-time staff of two often reaches capacity, risking organizational fatigue. Earshot’s programs are strong; therefore, organizational focus on sustained growth, organically based in our own community, is our next step.