Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting June 4, 2018
David Smith, Co-Chair of the Elkhart Jazz Festival, spoke to our club about this exciting upcoming event...
Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting, Monday June 4, 2018
President Ann McCuistion opened the meeting. Susan Ginther gave the opening reflection sharing excerpts from “Everything I Really Need to Know in Life I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. She then led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Rotary Four Way Test. Rotary is a service club that promotes and practices service above self.
Visiting Rotarians were Judy Jankowski and Mel Hall from the South Bend Club. Members are encouraged to bring guests each week. Guests this week included Susan Donoho brought by Julie Cotton, Andrew Galo, guest of Stu Barb, James Cramer guest of Dawn Fisher, Ashley Bowen guest of Bill Rieth and Julia Schiochetti exchange student from Brazil and guest of Tony Warning.
The Elkhart Rotary makes a difference in the lives of others by supporting area non-profit organizations. Each week, an appointed Sergeant at Arms comes up with fun and creative ways to cheerfully extract funds or “fines” from club members. By the end of the year, around $10,000 gets collected and disbursed to worthy causes. Sergeant at Arms Jim Rieckhoff took his place at the podium and did a fine job of gathering maximum fines from club members.   
Guest speaker was David Smith, currently the general manager of the Lerner Theater. David was raised in California near Disneyland. He moved to Indiana in 2003 and has spent his career in Experience Management, formerly at Swan Lake in Plymouth and at the Round Barn Theater. His duties now include bringing entertainment to the Lerner, the Crystal Ballroom and the Elkhart Jazz Festival. David loves his job and says “It take a team to create an experience. When you hold an event, what matters most is how you feel when the event is over.”
One of the largest events held in Elkhart is the Jazz Festival. Currently in its 31st year, the Jazz Festival is a great part of the summer. Many people call from around the country trying to find Elkhart’s “secret to success” as most communities cannot successfully hold an event such as the Jazz Festival for longer than 5 years.  David attributes Elkhart Jazz Festival’s success to the big heart of the Elkhart people who are supportive and give of themselves, their time, talent and resources. He said “Elkhart causes people to rise up. With an annual budget of $470,000, 65% of the revenue comes from sponsorship and 35% comes from ticket sales.”
This year’s Jazz festival runs from 6/22 - 6/24 and kicks off Thursday night at the Wellfield with Groovin’ in the Gardens.  David estimates that over 20,000 people will attend the three day event. Much of the success of the Elkhart Jazz Festival is because it was born out of a passion for the industry and a passion of people who love music. Elkhart is still a key producer of musical instruments. “Because of that passion, the Jazz Festival continues to be stronger and better than ever. It can last forever – for an eternity,” said David.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary, visit elkhartrotary.org or call Tom Shoff at 574-293-5530 or email Tom@shoff.com or www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub  “Like Us” on Facebook search for Elkhart Rotary Club  
Up Coming Program(s):  
6/11/18 - Dr Dave Vanryn – the Opioid Epidemic
6/18/18 - Rotary Exchange Participants from Argentina
6/25/18 Jason Lippert from Lippert Components
Next meeting: Noon Monday 6/11/18 at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. 
For more information about the upcoming Elkhart Jazz Festival visit: https://elkhartjazzfestival.com/