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Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Collection
    Date Range: 1950-2003 inclusive,
    Date (bulk): 1974-1998 bulk
    Collection Number: 2001/062
    Collector: Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society
    Extent: 57 linear feet
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.
    Sacramento, California 95814
    Location: See Finding Aid for exact location of materials.
    Abstract: The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS) began on Sunday May 5, 1968 with a group of local jazz musicians gathering at the Orangevale Grange Hall to play for a small group of jazz fans. The musicians included Dr. Bill Borcher, the Dean of Men at American River College and trumpet player for the Delta Moonlighters, John Knurr, a local high school music teacher, jazz trombonist Jerry Kaehele, and George Boyd and his Good Time Go-to-Meeting Band. The non-profit organization holds an annual Jazz Jubilee Festival on Memorial Day weekend and conducts jazz education programs and community outreach. The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is the largest traditional jazz organization in the United States. The files date from 1952 to 2003, with the bulk of the material dating from 1974 to 1998. The collection includes correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, meeting records, grant applications, publications, directors files, photographs, programs, and brochures.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Center for Sacramento History for private collections. All requests to publish or quote from private manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Center for Sacramento History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item, prepared according to standard citation style such as MLA, ALAL, or Turabian], [2001/062]. Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Collection, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information,

    Acquired in 2001 from Mike Foley, agent of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.

    Processing History

    Processed by Lola Aguilar, 2006. Finding aid prepared using DACS by Lola Aguilar, 2007. Machine-readable finding aid created by Lola Aguilar, 2007.

    Administrative History

    The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (STJS) began on Sunday May 5, 1968 with a group of local jazz musicians gathering at the Orangevale Grange Hall to play for a small group of jazz fans. The musicians included Dr. Bill Borcher, the Dean of Men at American River College and trumpet player for the Delta Moonlighters, John Knurr, a local high school music teacher, jazz trombonist Jerry Kaehele, and George Boyd and his Good Time Go-to-Meeting Band. Originally named the New Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, the musicians met informally in the afternoon on the first Sunday of the month and elected Jerry Kaelhele as the first President, Jack Burke as Vice President, and Roy Harper as Secretary-Treasurer. As news of the Jazz Society spread, more jazz musicians joined the Sunday sessions and their membership grew. In October 1969, Bill Borcher helped friends arrange a fundraiser on the Delta King riverboat, which attracted a crowd of 4,000. Publicity from the fundraiser and two successful fundraisers in November and December of that year generated even more interest in jazz.
    With a renewed public interest in jazz music, the STJS outgrew the Orangevale Grange Hall and by 1970 the musicians moved their Sunday concerts to larger venues, such as the El Rancho Motel and the Carmichael Elks Lodge. For the next three years paid guest artists and bands joined STJS musicians in performances around Sacramento. In late 1973, then-President Ozzie Belmore and Bill Borcher organized a committee to investigate the feasibility of a Jazz Festival in Sacramento. Other jazz festivals in Monterey and Newport had attracted wide audiences and the STJS believed Sacramento could accomplish the same. The committee decided on Memorial Day weekend because the high rate of vacancies of Sacramento area hotels would accommodate visitors. The STJS presented the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee on Memorial Day weekend in 1974. Seven performance sites in West Sacramento and in Old Sacramento featured 21 bands, 300 volunteers, and attracted 3,000 jazz fans. Admission badges for that first year cost $12.50 for three days and revenues totaled $32,000, but expenses totaled $35,000. Despite the loss, the STJS decided to continue the Jubilee as an annual event.
    The original intent of the STJS was to promote and preserve the roots of jazz, which to Bill Borcher and his colleagues meant Dixieland Jazz. After much heated discussion, the Jazz Jubilee decided in 1995, to include other types of jazz in an effort to attract a wider and younger audience. In addition to Dixieland, the music included Swing, Gospel, Latin Jazz, Zydeco, and Barbershop. Prestigious acts such as the Pied Pipers, Boots Randolph, Gary Crosby, Julius LaRosa, Pat Yankee, Bob Crosbys Bob Cats, the Ink Spots, and the Mills Brothers have performed at the Jubilee.
    In 1979 the STJC incorporated as a non-profit organization with the mission of preserving and promoting traditional jazz music. The same year, the organization established a Youth Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for young musicians for private music instruction with an emphasis on jazz. The program expanded into an annual Trad Jazz Camp in 1986. This week long camp provides intensive jazz instruction for approximately 100 young musicians ages 12-18. The Jazz Ambassadors, instituted in 1992, travel throughout Northern California providing information about STJS programs and events to hundreds of organizations at breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings. The STJS included the Elderhostel program in 1992, which provides jazz instruction for seniors. In 2000, the Trad Jazz Camp added a week long camp for approximately 90 adults to its program.
    According to their web site (http//:www.sacjazz.org), the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society is now the largest traditional jazz organization in the United States. Organization membership has reached 5,000 with 4 paid employees. The Jazz Jubilee now attracts over 100,000 attendees, with 146 bands including 9 international groups, and 1,097 musicians playing at 47 performance sites. Venues in Sacramento include Cal Expo, Old Sacramento, the Sacramento Community Center, and various hotels throughout the city. Volunteers now number 3,800 to ensure a successful festival, with revenues exceeding $20 million.

    Scope and Content

    The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Collection is arranged in eight series: 1. Artifacts, 2. Administrative Files, 3. Jazz Jubilee, 4. Trad Jazz Camp, 5. Jazz Ambassadors, 6. Elderhostel, 7. Scrapbooks, and 8. Media. Items span the years 1950 to 2003, with the bulk of the items dating from 1974 to 1998. The first series, Artifacts, consists of 5 cubic feet and includes button badges, t-shirts, hats, and a garter. Appendix A includes the complete list of the artifacts.
    The second series, Administrative Files, which consists of eight cubic feet and three map case drawers, is divided into eight subseries: Correspondence, Financial Documents, Meeting Records, Legal Documents, Reports, Grant Applications, Publications, and Ephemera. The items are arranged chronologically within each subseries and include balance sheets, treasurers reports, financial statements, committee reports, incorporation papers, by-laws and constitution, and musicians union information. These documents chronicle the growth of the organization from a small, informal gathering of musicians, to a highly successful non-profit organization. The documents include changes made to the constitution and the by-laws as the organization grew. Committee reports include valuable information about the direction of the STJS, with changes in the types of committees which were necessary during the years when the organization started to expand. The STJS efforts to acquire grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sacramento Regional Foundation highlight the organizations non-profit status. Publications contain an extensive collection of external jazz publications from other jazz organizations throughout the United States and Canada and are arranged alphabetically and are listed in Appendix B. Ephemera includes flyers and brochures from other jazz festivals in the Northern California area.
    The third series contains the records of the Jazz Jubilee and consists of six cubic feet and three map case drawers, which are divided into twelve subseries: Correspondence, Directors Files, Financial Documents, Legal Documents, Reports, Meeting Records, Band Information, Site Information, Concessions, General Information, Publications, and Ephemera. Correspondence is divided between letters, arranged chronologically, and hardcopies of email correspondence, arranged chronologically within alphabetical order. Correspondence includes letters between Jubilee organizers and several musicians, notably one letter from an ailing Hoagy Carmichael written by his wife. General Information includes Jubilee files on only thirteen years, but includes complete information of those particular Jubilees. Internal publications include programs and newsletters but are also missing several years.
    The fourth series, Trad Jazz Camp contains one cubic foot and includes correspondence, financial documents, minutes, class material, scholarship information, publications, and ephemera. Trad Jazz Camp newsletters are incomplete, but offer information about the inner workings of the camp. The fifth series, Jazz Ambassadors, consists of one file folder and includes general information detailing the duties and events concerning this program, including agendas and newsletter. The sixth series, Elderhostel, consists of one cubic foot. Items are arranged chronologically and include correspondence, class material, catalogs, newsletters, publications, ephemera, and general information about the programs. Class material includes handouts and class manuals used for jazz instruction. The seventh series, Scrapbooks, include general information STJS scrapbooks, Jubilee scrapbooks, jazz history scrapbooks, and band scrapbooks. The eighth series includes VHS videotapes, reel-to-reel audiotapes, cassette tapes, slides, negatives, and over five thousand photographs. Photographs include images of guest artists such as Molly Ringwald, Tommy Newsome, and Phil Harris. Jubilees through the years are represented by hundreds of color and black and white photographs. Jazz band photographs are arranged alphabetically with a complete list in Appendix C.


    The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Collection is subdivided into eight series:

    Indexing Terms

    Corporate Name

    Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society


    Jazz festivals
    Sacramento (Calif.)--History