Courier Letters to the Editor 2-1-23

The bottom lines on the YAM jubilee

Dear Editor,

Last Saturday, Jan. 28, our Young Appalachian Musicians held their Winter Bluegrass Jubilee at Pickens High School. It was a wonderful day! I’d like to write about our Bottom Line for our Jubilee. Here’s a list of what I consider to be our bottom line(s) for Jubilee:

  • To say “THANK YOU” to our supporters — This year we especially thank those who have supported our efforts to get instruments in the hands of our 400-plus YAM kids — the majority of them beginners.
  • To spread the word about our program — We also hired a new person to help with PR/grant writing, getting sponsors, etc. We want to show others what we’re all about.
  • To collaborate — We use the committee approach with our Jubilee team and enlist lots of volunteers. This year we had to fill more than 140 two-hour positions, and we did so with 80-plus volunteers. Lots of “buy in,” but a little complicated at times!
  • To serve our constituents — provide quality entertainment, teach new skills, etc.
  • To make Jubilee (and the YAM program) affordable for all, especially our parents.
  • To give a chance for our Yammers to shine — thus the Big YAM Jam!
  • To show off our fabulous staff, including instructors, program directors, homework center coordinators, tutors and our admin people!
  • To bring our community together to celebrate music and kids — things which are unifying.
  • To make music part of our lives — as learners, teachers and “appreciators.”
  • To make Jubilee fun and a learning experience for all — thanks to our wonderful performers!

But I’ve left two very important ones till the end. In my opinion, the “bottom” of the “bottom liners” of our event is to raise funds for our YAM program. Please don’t get me wrong, in order for YAM to be a program, we must have funds! We — especially our board members — all know that and spend much of our time being creative with raising income and working hard to stay within our budget. (I call them our “Dream Board” … which, by the way, every board member who lives within 50 miles was at the Jubilee working in full support of this project.) Between our sponsorships (which we doubled the money and tripled the number of sponsors) and grants, we paid for everything before we opened the doors! But we’ve also found that we just have to take a leap of faith sometimes. We’re so fortunate that our supporters have always come through when they know what we want to do is serve our community, especially our children.

I’ve saved the best till last. To me, the most important “bottom liner” and at the top of my list, is the Grand Finale with the Big YAM Jam! This year we had more than 150 kids playing music on stage, along with our Dream Board, our dedicated and treasured staff and our performers — all to thank our sponsors, funders, partners, local government officials, volunteers and supporters, but mostly our parents. I hope this rolled all of the above bottom liners into one! What a grand finale it was!

Thank you, all, more than you’ll ever know!


Betty McDaniel