Mark Thompson - President
Mark has been listening to blues music for more than fifty years. Growing up in the Chicago area, he got to experience live many of the legendary blues musicians in Chicago. He served for twelve years as the President of the Crossroads Blues Society, a KBA recipient based in Rockford, IL. Mark writes for Blues Blast, the free, online weekly Blues magazine, for Blues Music Magazine based in Bradenton, FL, and for the Chicago Blues Guide website.
Starting in October, 2016, Mark will be a member of the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN.
James Randolph - Vice-President
After arriving in Brandon, Florida community from San Diego in 1993, James began seeking Tampa Bay’s live music scene. He has served on the board of directors for eleven continuous years which has provided continuity as members have rolled off board positions.
In addition to his VP role, he leads SBS Outreach Program efforts with Tampa Bay community contacts via Blues in the Library (BITL), Blues in the Community (BITC), and Blues in the Schools (BITS) coordinating and facilitating musician and location performances. Over the past ten years, Blues in the Library performances have been and are being held in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties’ libraries.
Through his community relationships and contacts, Suncoast Blues Society has been invited and participated in Community Foundation of Sarasota County Giving Partner matched dollar fundraiser campaign 2015 & 2016 for SBS operation support. In 2015, he wrote an Outreach Program grant submitted and funded by Manatee Community Foundation located in Bradenton. Funds are designated for expanding SBS and community partnered activities within Manatee County (MCF). A portion of funds were used for a four day 2016 summer workshop at Manatee Main (Central) Library location with several SBS member musicians.
Terri O'Brien - Treasurer
Terri O’Brien retired in March 2017. She was the Director of Educational Services for a Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center for 27 years as an instructor and community organizer.
Terri joined the SBS Board as an alternate in early, 2017. She stepped stepped into the role of Treasurer after Conrad Sewer passed away last summer.
She lives in Pasco County and is working to expand our Blues In The Community programs there.
Warren McDougle - Secretary & Public Relations
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a member of the Board of the Suncoast Blues Society (SBS). I first heard about the SBS when I picked up a Twelve Bar Rag at a restaurant in Brandon. I was so impressed I joined that day and have been a member for the past 5 years. I have had the pleasure of serving on the SBS Board for the past 3 years and have had the privilege of serving as the Public Relation Director for 3 years. I look forward to increasing my involvement with SBS and working to assure it remains nationally recognized as a premier blues society. Most importantly, I want to work to assure the society meets the expectations of the members and musicians who keep the blues alive in our community.
I enjoy all kinds of music but the rhythm of the blues starts my heart as soon as the song begins. I continue to learn the bass guitar and look forward to actively playing music when I retire in 14 Months. (but whose counting)
Cheryl Spradling - Merchandise Director
Suncoast Blues Society has been part of my life since late 1998. Our friends asked us to volunteer for the Tampa Bay Blues Festival. Soon after, my husband Wendell and I became active members for the Suncoast Blues Society. I have always loved live music and didn't realize at a young age how the blues influenced me. I held the position of Membership director for two-and-a-half years and am the merchandise director. I've made jewelry for events and love to cook and share food at Camping with the Blues and the Suncoast Blues Fest. I am so proud to be part of the Suncoast Blues Society and love the feeling of family from New and Old Friends, members and especially the musicians that make this all happen. We are here to support each other in good times and bad thank you for all your support.
George Willett - Newsletter Editor
After a five-year absence, Blues nut and amateur ethnomusicologist George Willett decided to run for the SBS Board of Directors once again. He is retired from his “grown-up” job now, and has settled into a different home, and is ready to “work for his Blues”. He has taken on the task of copy-editing the “12 Bar Rag” as well as compiling the Weekly E-Mail Update….as well as helping out wherever else he’s needed. It is his stated to desire to be a “worker bee” this time around. It turns out he needs the SBS more than y’all need him!
I retired to Bradenton 6 years ago after working 31 years at AQUA PA a privately owned utility. I also spent 25 years coaching Volleyball, thus the nickname “COACH”. In High School I was on the stage crew. During that time I discovered that I had a knack for staging the lights for live performances. Later in life, this put me in the position to do lighting for several local bands. I have always loved music and went through the various stages. DOO WOP, Rock & Roll, Top forty, but also loved the sounds of musicals. I got into the Blues after becoming a fan of some local bands in Bradenton area. Being a member of the Board of the Suncoast Blues Society has helped me to fulfill the goal of keeping live music going in this area. I also get to meet and work with some really special people.
LaFayette Reid - South Region Ambassador
Since Steve Arvey had step away and dedicate more of his time to his music and promotion endeavors, alternate Board member Laf Reid has stepped into the breach. Please tell him "thanks" when you see him.
Email Contact Information
General Information: email@example.com
Twelve Bar Rag Submissions and Information
Editor: George Willett
For review consideration of CD, DVD or book submissions please mail to:
Suncoast Blues Society
P.O. Box 4232
Tampa, FL 33677
Mark Thompson: 414-416-1884
Event Updates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly Email Updates: email@example.com
Webmaster: Mark Thompson
Calendar : George Willett
About The Society
Dedicated to upholding the traditions of the Blues...
June 1st 1997
Keeping the Blues Alive
In 2004 the Suncoast Blues Society was awarded the Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Blues Organization of the Year.