Message from your President 2024

Message from your President 2024

Message from your President 2024


Suncoast Blues Society Events Calendar

(Or, Where is my show?)

While this message is primarily for our local artists, members may find interest in better understanding how events find their way to the Suncoast Blues Society event calendar SBS Events Calendar, and sometimes into the newsletter.

Being an all-volunteer organization, your board of directors does not have the time to maintain a calendar. Anyway, there is a better option called GoTonight.

GoTonight (GTN) is a wonderful partner with Suncoast Blues Society, and without going deep into the technology details GTN sends SBS a calendar of local blues events which populates the calendar on the website. And from there it’s a manual process to transpose the shows into the newsletter. Time consuming for sure; prone to errors as well. But given the volunteer staff, or lack of, it’s the best that we can do for our members

There are two ways that shows do not make it to the SBS calendar. The most prevalent issue is the shows not making it into GTN. Venues and artists can populate their calendar on GTN – and many do. But not all take advantage of the GTN calendar and GTN relies on some of their own volunteers to fill in many of the gaps.

If you are interested in participating, or need more information on GTN’s features, reach out to GTN at  Contact GTN.

The second issue arises with the cut off time for the calendar load to SBS. To help solve this problem GTN and SBS have agreed to a 1:00 PM cutoff time on Monday’s for shows to be in the calendar. We realize that event bookings can be fluid but to get our newsletter out on time we do need to put a stake in the ground, and if a show does not make the cutoff day and time, it may not make the calendar or newsletter.

SBS members find the event data valuable. We know this because the event page is the one that receives the most visits to the website. However, here is one instance where it really does take a village for all to benefit. If you are interested in helping make the event data complete, and a better experienced for all members, reach out to GTN at the above link, or send an email to

Scott Morris, President Suncoast Blues Society.


Message from your President…

Message from your President…

Message from your President…

Message from your President…

It is my honor to represent Suncoast Blues Society in the office of President. This message will be short, as there are a few items in the works that need to be resolved before I can fully comment.

First, I wish to congratulate and thank Terri O’Brien for her dedication and service to Suncoast Blues Society. Terri certainly stepped up and served your society well as President, and prior to that, as Treasurer. Terri is still in the background helping me transition into the role of President.

Thanks to retiring board member Mark Thompson. Mark returned to help fill a gap on the board and now returns to his title as past-President of Suncoast Blues Society.

Thank you, Vinny Marini, for your experience and wisdom with Events.

Thank you, Lynn Degin for your work in transitioning membership responsibility to Traci Zimmerman.

In my short time as President, I’ve been impressed with board members. I appreciate the boards dedication and energy, and I look forward to working aside

  • Ed Kirk, Vice President
  • Carole Peters, Treasurer
  • Linda Rasor, Secretary
  • Cheryl Spradling, Events & Merchandise
  • James Randolph, Outreach
  • Traci Zimmerman, Membership

As alternates

  • Michael Lortz, Content
  • Noray Sarkesian, Volunteer Coordinator

We still seek alternatives to assist with the many tasks this organization has. In future messages I will talk about how I categorize organizational goals as either operational or aspirational. As a 501c3 non-profit we have many organizational tasks that must be taken care of, some of which are legally required. Aspirational goals are dependent on the support from our members as alternates and volunteers.

Alternates to the Suncoast Blues board is a great way to get to know the organization. Many, including myself, started as an alternate. We can certainly find something for you to do that matches your skills or your interests.

Please say hello to me at events. I am interested in the members’ thoughts, but don’t be surprised if you suggest a wonderful idea  – and we receive many of these – if I ask for your support in turning those ideas into reality. Or if you prefer, send a note to

Scott Morris, President Suncoast Blues Society.

Message from your President…

Message from your President…

Message from your President…

Message from your President…

Your Suncoast Blues Society just wrapped up another busy year. Here are some of the things your Board accomplished in 2022 that reflect our mission statement:

Dedicated to celebrating and promoting the musical genre known as the blues,

  • Participated in 23 events which included 8 major Blues Festivals 

preserving it’s history and traditions, supporting blues musicians,

  • Hosted 8 Blues in the Community (BITC) events
  • Created partnerships with 4 new venues (Masaryk Winery, Bayboro Brewery, Red Star Live, and Palladium) to promote bBues music
  • Hosted 6 of our own events, including
  • Tas Cru @ Bayboro Brewery
  • Giving Challenge events at Bayboro and the Music Compound
  • Memphis Lightning and Trey Wanvig @ Gill Dawg for IBC sendoff!
  • Alastair Greene at the Side Door / Palladium
  • Our 25th Anniversary Party @ Skippers that had EVERYONE dancing!
  • Annual Beach Bash 

and sharing blues music with current and future generations in the Tampa Bay Area.

  • Awarded our first ever Blues Foundation IBC Youth Showcase sponsorship – Trey Wanvig
  • Partnered with Chuck Ross to sponsor Youth Day at the Tampa Bay Blues Fest –

And recruited 3 new Board members – allow me to introduce them to you…

Vinny Marini

You would never guess by talking to him (lol), but Vinny was born and raised in NY. He has been in love with music since the day he was born and has been broadcasting radio music shows since he was 16.

Vinny began writing album reviews and conducting written interviews with musicians that led to his creating Music On The Couch. That can now be heard, along with his other show Roots & Fruits, on the True Grit Roots Network.   “I love what the Suncoast Blues Society does and how they are constructed and I want to be a part of it and help continue to grow in this area.”

Carole Peters

Carole is a native of St. Louis, home to many famous Blues musicians and grew up playing music and attending concerts. These early musical experiences provided the basis of her love and appreciation of musicians and their craft.  Carole became a member of the Suncoast Blues Society shortly after moving to Florida in 2015 – you may recognize her as the lovely lady who is always willing to take your money in exchange for a cool shirt or a new CD at one of our SBS events.  Carole has been a member of civic organizations in her hometown of New Port Richey for seven years, volunteering at many charity events.  “I am looking forward to applying my leadership and organizational skills to the advancement of the Suncoast Blues Society.” 

Mark Thompson (aka Big Kahuna)

Mark is a past Board member and former President of the Suncoast Blues Society.  After stepping aside for a few years, he has decided to return to the Board in hopes of working on developing a stronger Blues in the Schools presence, initially in the Bradenton community and spreading from there, by establishing solid partnerships with organizations like Realize Bradenton to accomplish that goal. Mark is also a writer for Blues Blast Magazine, Blues Music Magazine, and the Chicago Blues Guide website. “I have been listening to Blues music for more than five decades.”


Message from your President…

President’s Message…

President’s Message…

President’s Message…

Well folks, another year coming to a close. Life moves on and with it comes change and so it is for your Suncoast Blues Society.  Three of our Board members, Scott Morris, Pat Smoot and Jesse Smoot, are retiring after 3 years of ‘active duty’.

Jesse was our Secretary for a few years then took on Membership and did a great job organizing and updating our system to reflect current needs – no small task but perfect for someone as detail-oriented as Jesse is.  In addition, he updated our Bylaws and worked with his lovely wife, our Merchandise guru. Pat is one of the most organized people I have ever met! She was an experienced buyer before retiring and inventoried and organized all of our merchandise.

Pat & Jesse are a great Team – they were always the first ones to arrive and set up at the Festivals and the last ones to pack up and leave. They kept our old trailer in working order and more than once hosted Board meetings at their lovely home.

Scott wore multiple hats during his tenure including Treasurer, working on content for our weekly eblast such as CD and event reviews, FB posting, and organizing multiple events. In addition, he dragged us kicking and screaming into the 21st century by updating our website to include online sales of merchandise and improving our online documents and records storage which was a huge project. It will take at least 3 people to replace him!  We wish him well in his next adventure, S&B Sound.

We have been truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with these folks – be sure and thank them when you see them out and about.

Stay tuned next week to meet our 3 new Board members!





Message from your President 2024

President’s Message for October 2022

President’s Message for October 2022


Your Suncoast Blues Society will be partnering with the Palladium for a special Holiday Show on November 19th featuring Southern Hospitality! SBS members will have the benefit of a $5 discount on tickets with a special code that will be included in next week’s eblast so stay tuned!!!!

October 20-22 is Camping with the Blues and Mother Nature has perfect weather planned for us! Your Suncoast Blues Society will be there as always, selling memberships and limited merchandise. We will be offering 3 free CDs with every membership/renewal so be sure and stop by.

Johnny Sansone , New Orleans blues musician, singer, songwriter and recording artist, is coming!!  The Johnny Sansone Band Florida tour will feature Johnny on guitar, harp and accordion, Russ Broussard on drums, Jeff Bridges on bass, and John Fohl, long time guitarist with Dr. John. You have two opportunities to see them this weekend:

  • Masaryk Winery this Saturday 10/22 at 6pm
  • Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen in Bradenton this Sunday, October 23 at 11:30am for their Hillbilly Gospel Brunch

Johnny’s  long awaited new album, “Into Your Blues”  will be available for purchase at these shows – their first tour behind the new release. It is in the first round for the Grammys nominations and features 11 originals songs, representing Dallas Blues guitar with Mike Morgan, Chicago Blues guitar with Johnny Burgin, a special guest appearance with New Orleans legend Little Freddie King, and a collaboration with Johnny and New Orleans “Mooncat”, the unstoppable Jason Ricci. Some come on out to one, or both, of these shows and get your signed copy.

IBC Challenge Update

IBC Challenge Update

IBC Challenge Update

IBC Challenge Update

Your Suncoast Blues Society Board of Directors recently met to discuss the Blues Foundation’s 2023 International Blues Challenge (IBC). The conclusion of the 2022 event resulted in our representative band, Memphis Lightning, taking home the award for Best Produced CD! Congratulations to the band for their award, and for their success in the competition. You can read about the award on our website.

While their decision to move the 2022 challenge from January to May was necessary, it did not give your Board enough time to properly plan for and host a 2023 challenge. The work to host a challenge is extensive and takes close to six months to pull together. Therefore, your Society will NOT be hosting a challenge for the 2023 IBC.

However, we strongly encourage any member band or solo/duo to reach out to other Florida blues societies for participation in their challenge. In fact, last year our contestant band Randy Stephens and the Groove Makers was encouraged by your Board to apply to Southwest Florida Blues Society’s challenge, and they won!

We are aware of three challenges of interest:

The Villages Blues Society (TVBS) is hosting their challenge on November 14 at City Fire Restaurant Lake Sumter Landing 1018 Canal Street The Villages. A maximum of six bands will compete, and there will be no solo-duo competition. Entry is on first come basis, so if you are interested in competing at TVBS challenge, promptly contact Marcia Adams at

Southwest Florida Blues Society (SWFBS) is hosting their challenge on October 16th at Cape Cabaret in Cape Coral. Information, including a registration form is available on the SWFBS website.

Orange Blossom Blues Society (OBBS) is hosting their challenge on Sunday, November 20th at the Alley in Sanford. Deadline to register for the event is Oct 30th. The registration fee of $50 must be received by that date as well, and at least one member of the band (or solo/duo) has to be a member of OBBS in order to compete.  Interested musicians can email for any questions they may have.

Thank you for your understanding and your continued support – 

Terri O’Brien