A version of this letter was sent to donors eligible to vote in the upcoming AGM.
I am being nominated for the Board of Directors of JAZZ.FM91. I have listened to and supported JAZZ.FM91 since the mid-1980s when my dad would call me on Sunday nights and ask if I was listening to the Big Band Show, something that always put joy in his heart and a skip in his step. I got hooked and it became a real bond between the two of us. Dad listened religiously until his last days at 96 years of age.
My background and experience is as a successful entrepreneur in the independent segment of the Canadian music business for over 40 years. I started up two highly successful Canadian independent record companies which have sold literally millions of recordings worldwide. I have been a part of a small management team that worked with the hugely internationally successful band RUSH for eight years and then started my own management/record/publishing company in 1984 that had significant Canadian success with numerous French and English rock acts like the BOX and Kim Mitchell. In 1990 I decided to sign my first jazz act, the Holly Cole Trio and I still work successfully with Ms. Cole 28 years later. I learned a great deal about jazz and the marketing business of jazz locally and internationally having signed Ms.Cole to Blue Note Records in New York City and working with and being mentored by the legendary jazz record executive Mr. Bruce Lunvall for over the decade that Ms.Cole was signed to him.
JAZZ.FM91 had a big hand in the local success of Ms. Cole through supporting her recordings and live performances right from the get go. We started in small clubs on Queen Street and grew to be able to sell out Roy Thomson Hall, all due in part to the support of JAZZ.FM91. The excitement that JAZZ.FM91 helped create led directly to her international Blue Note recording career. For that reason and countless others, including JAZZ.FM91’s support for culture and the arts, being a proponent of civilized dialogue, actuating real community involvement on numerous levels, their support and engagement with youth through their support for the Youth Big Band, their support for all the artists both local and international who perform at all the various live performance venues across the GTA and for the positive trickle-down effect that all creates for business, culture and the arts as a whole, I have decided to use my experience to help spread the word for this amazing institution that we are all blessed to call our own.
What a treasure we have here. It needs your support now more than ever. Can you imagine it not being there whenever you need it? I can’t! I have lots of ideas to bring forward and I hope that the station can continue to count on your very valuable support to ensure it grows and shines like the beacon it can be for a very long time.
W. Tom Berry
Nominee JAZZ.FM91 Board of Directors
Owner and President, Alert Music Inc.