What are your friends building today?

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I look up to Robert Joyce (right) for his leadership role in building one of the largest, most successful free jazz festivals in North America: Jazzfest in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Photograph by Dan Thorson.

Early September of 1975, I had visions of meeting a rock star. Fourteen year-old Rob Joyce was hammering the drums in the junior high jazz band as if he was the only drummer in the universe. As we 7th graders watched him punish the snare drum, I was so star-struck I didn’t have the guts to befriend the coolest dude on the planet.

Today – 38 years later – he’s much cooler than in junior high…as the Executive Director of Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues, he’s a good leader with a national reputation for growing one of the largest free jazz festivals in the Western world. He became that rock star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sheryl Crowe played to 60,000 fans at JazzFest this year. Photograph by Dan Thorson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazzfest in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is one of the hottest venues in North America for mid-summer outdoor jazz and blues. Today, the top stars in the industry ascend the stairs to the elevated main stage and consistently gasp: “What’s up with Sioux Falls?” This year’s headliner was Sheryl Crowe.

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Fans from 41 of the United States, four of the continents and 18 countries attended Sioux Falls JazzFest 2013. It all happens under the good leadership of Robert Joyce. Photo by Dan Thorson.

Here’s what’s up. Under the guidance of a courageous volunteer board of directors, Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues crafted a bold and compelling vision to get people working together. JazzFest is a source of civic pride attracting 120,000 concert goers because the city, county and state cooperate with the police, garbage haulers, beer vendors and local neighbors to make it happen. It’s free because more than a thousand volunteers staff and host the three day festival. It wouldn’t be possible without good leadership.

“It’s great to share this weekend with friends who knew me way back when,” Rob smiles. “And it’s even better to know Sioux Falls will one day be mentioned in the same sentence as Austin, Memphis and Nashville when it comes to summer music.” What’s up with Sioux Falls?

Good leaders build friendships that endure the ups and downs of a good life. And they share the joy when one of them builds a reputation as a rock star.

What are your friends building today?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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