The Society lost Ray Voss earlier this year, long time Bix friend and former Society President. We greatly appreciate Ray’s leadership and dedication over the year’s and his friendship to so many of the society members. Ray was always there to help, his service and presence will be missed.
The jazz community has lost two more phenomenal friends and fans in Bill Donahoe and Bernie Guy. These two epitomized the heart and soul of jazz fans, showing a passion for the music and a desire to keep the music and legend of Bix alive. Both gave countless hours to preserving the story of Bix and making the festival a world class event that fans of all ages could enjoy.
Bill Donahoe is attributed with being the reason the Bix Festival exists today. His lifelong passion and dedication to Bix have produced the festival we have come to enjoy year in and year out. This year is an exceptional year in celebrating the 40th anniversary of that first gathering in August, 1971.
While I never had the opportunity to meet Bill Donahoe, I am well aware of his contributions and dedication to Bix and this festival. His passion and love for the music and the man are unmatched.
Bernie Guy was a wonderful lady, dedicating more than 30 years of committed service to the festival, as well as her longtime commitment to the Catfish Jazz Society. Bernie was a tremendous jazz fan, and bubbled with excitement at every performance.
I had met Bernie only a few times over the past several months, but through the common love of music we became friends quickly, and she made me feel welcome into the jazz community with her smile. It did not take long to understand how much she truly loved the music, her enthuisasm bubbled everytime the music played.
Bernie was also a huge advocate for the members of the Bix Youth Band when they appeared at Catfish Society jam session. She offered praise and encouragement, and was so excited to see them carry on this era of music.
Bill and Bernie will be greatly missed, but their passion will live on in the music.