Guide to the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society records

Collection processed and finding aid created by Lola Aguilar
Center for Sacramento History
551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 264-7072
Fax: (916) 264-7582

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society records
Date Range: 1950-2003
Date (bulk): bulk 1974-1998
Collection Number: MS0007
Collector: Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society
Extent: 57 linear feet
Repository: Center for Sacramento History
551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.
Sacramento, California 95814
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. STJS is the largest traditional jazz organization in the United States. The collection dates from 1952 to 2003, with the bulk of the material dating from 1974 to 1998 and includes correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, meeting records, grant applications, publications, directors files, photographs, programs, and brochures.

Administrative Information


The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests to publish or quote from collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH 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 patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], MS0007, Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society records, Center for Sacramento History.

Acquisition Information,

Acquired in 2001 from Mike Foley, agent of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (accession number 2001/062).

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, Borcher helped friends arrange a fundraiser on the Delta King riverboat, which attracted a crowd of 4,000. Publicity from that fundraiser and two more successful fundraisers in November and December of that year generated even more public interest in jazz. The STJS soon outgrew the Orangevale Grange Hall, and in 1970 the musicians moved their Sunday concerts to larger venues, like 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, Borcher and then-President Ozzie Belmore organized a committee to investigate the feasibility of holding a Jazz Festival in Sacramento, noting that similar festivals in Monterey and Newport had attracted wide audiences. The next year, the STJS debuted the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee on Memorial Day weekend. Seven performance sites in West Sacramento and 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, and eventually, it attracted over 100,000 attendees, with 146 bands and 47 performance sites, 3,800 volunteers, and revenues exceeding $20 million. Prestigious acts such as the Pied Pipers, Boots Randolph, Gary Crosby, Julius LaRosa, Pat Yankee, Bob Crosby's Bob Cats, the Ink Spots, and the Mills Brothers performed at the Jubilee over the years. Ticket sales declined, however, and in 1995, in an effort to attract a wider and younger audience, the STJS began including other types of jazz at the Jubilee, incorporating swing, gospel, Latin jazz, zydeco, and barbershop. As a way to further increase attendance, in 2014, the Jubilee was rebranded as the Sacramento Music Festival and began booking musical acts outside of the jazz genre. The final festival was held in 2017.
The STJS incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1979 with the mission of preserving and promoting traditional jazz music through a number of programs, in addition to its annual music festival. In that same year, the organization established a Youth Scholarship Program, which expanded into the annual Trad Jazz Camp in 1986, a weeklong camp that provides intensive jazz instruction for approximately 100 young musicians ages 12-18 (and, starting in 2000, around 90 adults). In 1992, the STJS introduced the Jazz Ambassadors, who traveled throughout Northern California providing information about STJS programs and events, and the Elderhostel, which provided jazz instruction for seniors. At the time this finding aid was written in 2007, the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society claimed to be the largest traditional jazz organization in the United States, with organization membership at 5,000 and four paid employees.


The collection is arranged into 7 series:
  • Series 1. Artifacts, 1974-2000
  • Series 2. Administrative Files, 1952-1999
  • Series 3. Jazz Jubilee, 1969-2003
  • Series 4. Trad Jazz Camp, 1973-1999
  • Series 5. Jazz Ambassadors, 1992-1995
  • Series 6. Elderhostel, 1992-1999
  • Series 7. Scrapbooks, 1992-1999
  • Series 8. Media, 1977-2000

Scope and Content

The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society records 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 a complete list of artifacts.
The second series, Administrative files, consists of eight cubic feet and three map case drawers, and 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 nonprofit 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 organization's nonprofit status. The Publications subseries contains an extensive collection of external jazz publications from other jazz organizations throughout the United States and Canada and are arranged alphabetically (these are listed in Appendix B). Ephemera includes fliers and brochures from other jazz festivals in Northern California.
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 12 subseries: Correspondence, Directors files, Financial documents, Legal documents, Reports, Meeting records, Band information, Site information, Concessions, General information, Publications, and Ephemera. The Correspondence subseries contains letters and hard copies of emails, including letters between Jubilee organizers and several musicians, notably one letter from an ailing Hoagy Carmichael written by his wife. The letters in this subseries are arranged chronologically, and hard copies of email correspondence are arranged chronologically within alphabetical order. The General information subseries includes complete Jubilee files, but from only 13 years of the festival.
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 newsletters.
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 5,000 photographs. Jubilees through the years are represented by hundreds of color and black and white photographs, including images of bands and guest artists such as Molly Ringwald, Tommy Newsome, and Phil Harris. Jazz band photographs are arranged alphabetically with a complete list in Appendix C.

Container List:

Boxes 1-7

Series 1. Artifacts, 1974-2000

Physical Description: 485 items

Button Badges, 1974-2000


T-Shirts, 1978-1999


Hats, undated


Garter undated

Boxes 8-15

Series 2. Administrative Files, 1952-1999

Physical Description: 275 file folders
Box 8, Folder 489-509

      Subseries 2.1.  Correspondence, 1976-1996

Physical Description: 21 file folders
Box 8-9, Folder 510-519

      Subseries 2.2.  Financial Documents, 1973-1998

Physical Description: 10 file folders

Budgets, 1979-1997


Balance Sheets, 1987-1993


Treasurers Reports, 1979-1991


Financial Statements, 1980-1990


Monthly Meeting Expenses, 1973-1995


Invoices, 1974-1998

Box 9-10, Folder 520-559

      Subseries 2.3.  Meeting Records, 1972-1998

Physical Description: 40 file folders

Committee Reports:


Building Feasibility, 1988


Education, 1989-1992


Fund Development, 1993-1994


Fundraising, 1987-1988


Jubilee Management, 1975-1993


Membership, 1990-1998


Music, 1975-1991


Policy, 1986-1993


Program, 1990-1992


Scholarship, 1980-1984


Steering, 1983-1984


Strategic Planning, 1990


Travel, 1988


Member and Committee Lists, 1980-1986


Master Membership List, Oversized Material, 1993-1995


Agendas, 1972-1997


Minutes, 1972-1997


Convention Material, 1993


General Information, 1969-1994

Box 10, Folder 560-569

      Subseries 2.4.  Legal Documents, 1968-1996

Physical Description: 10 file folders

Incorporation, 1971-1981


By-laws and Constitution, 1981-1989


Contracts, 1984-1988


Musicians Union, 1984-1988


Lawsuits, 1979-1980


Certificate of Insurance, 1990


Mailing Permits, 1968-1986


Charitable Trust, 1991-1996

Box 10, Folder 570-576

      Subseries 2.5.  Reports, 1988-1996

Physical Description: 7 file folders

AFJS Manuals, 1991


Building Feasibility Study, 1988


Communication Package, 1996


Downtown Sacramento Retail Strategy, 1995


STJS: Long Range Plan, 1991-1995


STJS Marketing Plan, undated


STJS Policy Manual, 1990

Box 10, Folder 577-578

      Subseries 2.6.  Grant Applications, 1978-1992

Physical Description: 2 file folders

National Endowment for the Arts, 1978-1992


Sacramento Regional Foundation, Arts and Culture Grant, 1990

Box 11-14, Folder 579-763

      Subseries 2.7.  Publications, 1950-2001

Physical Description: 185 file folders

Publications, 1950-2001


Press Releases, 1975-1992


News Clippings, 1972-1996

Box 14-15, Folder 764-788

      Subseries 2.8.  Ephemera, 1974-1999

Physical Description: 25 file folders

STJS Flyers, 1970-1997


STJS Brochures, 1994


Non-STJS Annual Reports, 1989-1992


Other Jazz Festival Programs, 1985-1999


Other Jazz Festival Programs, Oversized Material, 1977-1996


Other Jazz Festival Flyers, 1974-1998


Other Brochures, 1985-1996


Certificates, 1981-1989


Certificates, Oversized Material, 1978-1983


"Dance Steps" Broadside, Oversized Material, undated


Other Jazz Festival Posters and Banners, Oversized Material, undated


Postcards, undated


Other, undated


Paste-ups, undated


Clip Art, undated

Boxes 16-21

Series 3. Jazz Jubilee, 1969-2003

Physical Description: 106 file folders
Box 16, Folder 789-796

Subseries 3.1. Correspondence, 1973-2003

Physical Description: 8 file folders

Correspondence, 1973-1998


Correspondence-Email Hardcopies, 1996-2003

Box 17, Folder 797-802

Subseries 3.2. Directors Files, 1969-1999

Physical Description: 6 file folders

General Information, 1969-1999

Box 17, Folder 803-807

Subseries 3.3. Financial Documents, 1977-1995

Physical Description: 5 file folders

Budgets, 1978-1995


Agreements, 1978-1990


Expenses, 1977-1995


Permits, 1977, 1991


Ticket Sale Logs, undated

Box 17, Folder 808-815

Subseries 3.4. Legal Documents, 1986-1997

Physical Description: 8 file folders

Contracts, 1986-1997


Proof of Claim, 1977

Box 17-18, Folder 816-829

Subseries 3.5. Reports, 1989-2001

Physical Description: 14 file folders

"The Arts from the CEOs Desk," 1995


"Attendance/Site/Band Reports," 1989-1996


"Concession Managers Report," 1992


"1996 Jubilee Percentage of Seat Occupancy Report," 1996


"Quality Research Report," 1996-1999


"Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Demographics Report," 1991-2001

Box 18, Folder 830

Subseries 3.6. Meeting Records, 1978

Physical Description: 1 file folders

Committee Reports: Jubilee Fact-Finding, 1978

Box 18-19, Folder 831-843

Subseries 3.7. Band Information, 1978-1996

Physical Description: 13 file folders

Musician Information, 1969-1980


Gold Card Members, 1970-1985


Artist Correspondence, 1979-1993


Artist Resumes, 1979-1996


Guest Artists, 1974-1990


Musician Sign-up Sheets, 1972-1996


Reprise (Set) Lists, 1972-1996


General Information, 1994

Box 20, Folder 844-846

Subseries 3.8. Site Information, 1984-1996

Physical Description: 3 file folders

General Information, 1988-1996


Jubilee Site Maps, 1989-1994


Volunteers, 1984-1995

Box 20, Folder 847-852

Subseries 3.9. Concessions, 1979-1997

Physical Description: 6 file folders

Concessions Inspection Report, 1988


Operations Newsletter, 1991-1993


Vendor Information, 1988-1997


Memoranda, 1979-1996

Box 20, Folder 853-863

Subseries 3.10. General Information, 1987-2000

Physical Description: 11 file folders

"1988-2000" Jubilee, 1987-2000

Box 21, Folder 864-886

Subseries 3.11. Publications, 1974-2001

Physical Description: 23 file folders

"Jazz Jubilee," undated


"Jazz Jubilee Bugle," Oversized Material, 1974


"The Jubilee Volunteer," 1985-1999


"Jazz Sunday Programs," 1984-1987, 1998


"Jubilee Programs," Oversized Material, 1975-1994


"Official Program," 1974-2001


"Official Program," Oversized Material, 1987-1988


"Pianorama Program," 1985-2001


"Sacramento Jubilee Jazz," 1998


Press Releases, 1977-1984

Box 21, Folder 887-894

Subseries 3.12. Ephemera, 1974-2001

Physical Description: 8 file folders

Jubilee Brochures, 1981-2000


Jubilee Bumper Stickers, Oversized Material, 1977-2000


Certificates, 1987-1997


Jubilee Flyers, 1980-1994


Jubilee Broadsides, Oversized Material, 1975-2001


Jubilee Posters, Oversized Material, 1977-2001


Other Festival Flyers, 1974-1999


Miscellaneous, undated

Boxes 21-22, Folder 895-911

Series 4. Trad Jazz Camp, 1973-1999

Physical Description: 17 file folders


General Information, 1989-1992


Correspondence, 1978-1998


Financial Documents, 1986-1993


Minutes, 1985


Scholarships, 1991-1996


Class Material, 1987-1992


Fundraising Material, 1986-1988


Publications, 1973-1999


Ephemera, 1988-1998

Boxes 22, Folder 912

Series 5. Jazz Ambassadors, 1992-1995

Physical Description: 1 file folder

General Information, 1992-1995

Boxes 22-23, Folder 913-938

Series 6. Elderhostel, 1992-1999

Physical Description: 25 file folders

Correspondence, 1994-1999


Financial Documents, 1994-1996


Legal Documents, 1994-1995


Program Material, 1992-1997


Tour Info, 1993-1998


Publications, 1994-1998


Publications, Oversized Material, 1992-1995


Ephemera, 1996-1998

Boxes 23-31, Folder 939-967

Series 7. Scrapbooks, 1952-1995

Physical Description: 66 volumes

Jubilee and STJS Scrapbooks undated


Jubilee and STJC Scrapbooks, Oversized Material, 1974-1994

Boxes 32, Folder 968-1791

Series 8. Media, 1977-2000

Physical Description: 154 folder files
Box 32, Folder 968-976

Subseries 8.1. VHS Videotapes, 1989-1999

Physical Description: 9 file folders

"Camp-Saturday P.M.," 1989


"Jazz for Kids Program," 1991


"Jazz Jubilee," 1991


"All that Jazz," 1992


"Hanson Thank You Luncheon," 1996


"Jazz Jubilee Volunteer Picnic," 1997


"Jazz Kids," 1998


"Jazz Jubilee," 1999


"NHK Network (Japan) T.V. Special," undated

Box 32, Folder 977-978

Subseries 8.2. Reel-to-Reel Audiotapes, 1971-1980

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Scott Ellsworth Show, 1971


KCNU Bob Ringwald Interview, 1980

Box 32, Folder 979-980

Cassette Tapes, Subseries 8.3. 1978-2000

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Jazz Jubilee, 1978


Capital Public Radio Jazz Preview, 2000

Box 32, Folder 981-1109

Subseries 8.4. Slides, 1987-1999

Physical Description: 7 file folders

Jubilee and STJC, 1987-1999

Box 32, Folder 1110-1386

Subseries 8.5. Negatives, 1977-1997

Physical Description: 14 file folders

Jubilee and STJS, 1977-1997

Box 32, Folder 1387-1791

Subseries 8.6. Photographs, 1976-2003

Physical Description: 140 file folders

Musicians, Jubilee, STJS, Trad Jazz Camp, and Elderhostel, 1976-2003