Officers

President

Mary London Szpara, Author,playwright,Rock DJ, Band Manager, Entertainment Consultant, Voice Actor,

Mary London Szpara

Secretary

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to be announced

Treasurer

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Bill Scullin

CBS Board Members at Large

Dick Gilland

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We call Dick Mr. Congeniality.  


You can see his positive presence at every CBS Blues Sunday, and our Taste of Charlotte Beer/Wine Tent would not happen without his devoted energy every year. 


 We cherish and salute our CBS Bluesman, who has more "get up and do it" than those 1/2 his age. 

Betsy Norton-Stowe

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Betsy has the distinguished record of being the one member of CBS who has attended more IBC than any other member, and  also the longest running member at the IBC every year, with 15 years under her belt.  


Always wearing a smile, a great attitude and the life of the party, Betsy is a valuable At Large member we absolutely love.


I dare you to say "no" when Betsy brings the raffle tickets around. 


She is found at many outside events volunteering to work our merch & membership table.  

Rick Kite

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One of the newer members to the board, Rick has tackled many of our chairs, and also donated the 2018 Fender Squier we are raffled off to raise funds for CBS.  
In his spare time(and he will say "what is that?") you can find him at nearly every single Blues show in town.
Rick has also managed to capture some pretty impressive autographs on our guitar.

Flynn Wolfe

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For the past 3 years, Flynn has handled the organizing and staffing of one of our biggest fundraising efforts: the Taste of Charlotte Beer/Wine tent.   It is no easy task and he has managed to keep all the balls in the air, with the help of two of our pros Dick & Betsy, and the fabulous volunteers of our membership.
He is also pivotal in ensuring our out-of-town talent is taken care of.
Flynn is found at shows enjoying the music and volunteering for the CBS Merch area...and if we need an autograph, Flynn will hang out next to the bus all night to make it happen.

Kelly Foster

Kelly Foster

CBS welcomed gifted singer and the energetic personality of Kelly Foster to our board in mid 2019.
As a lead singer of Delta Fire, Kelly captured the hearts of many blues fans in the area with her positive personality, great attitude and warmth.  Her husky vocals and dedication to giving it her all onstage is well noted.

We plan to tap into that energy and have already begun to asssign projects to her, and know she will be a fantastic addition. 

Randi Salvatore

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Randi is one of our newest members this year, and has been on the move ever since...seriously!  She has been traveling the world and has managed to help work on marketing  pieces for CBS while on the road and has been found at events volunteering when back in NC.  She will be back to stay for a while, and has been invaluable as she manages the 2019 Solo/Duo Challenge on September 1 and the Band Challenge October 6 again this year.  

 Her background in Events, Marketing & PR are huge assets to the new board. 

  Updated rules and regulations, along with application forms will be available by May 15 for those who wish to participate.

We highly encourage all to consider being a part of this great effort, which yielded us the  winner of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis with Delta Moon in 2003. 

 

We have also wrangled Randi into taking on the awesome task of managing our membership and merchandise in May

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Thanks Randi!  Ray did a great job and we know you will keep us on track.



Cameron Farquhar

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Cam has been working in the music industry for one of the most respected artist agencies "Intrepid Artists International" and agreed to join us in 2018 and we have already felt his vibe infiltrating the group..
His positive influence, boundless energy and absolute devotion to the blues has made him a welcome and fun addition to our board.

He is also great at marketing and PR and has presented some fabulous ideas we have already begun to  implement.


 Cam is also on the Blues in the Schools committee.  Feel free to talk to him if your school is interested in hosting a program. 


 Growing up in South Carolina, Cameron began playing percussion at the early age of 11. With the support of his father who was also a musician, he formed many bands and performed regularly on the local music scene. As he got older, his passion for music stuck with him. While attending Clemson University Cam orchestrated hundreds of concerts and conducted a live session radio show which featured artists from all over the east coast  and  co-founded the first annual WSBF Spring Festival, which has continued to grow every year since and become a staple in the community. 

Marty Gunther

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Now based out of Charlotte NC, Marty Gunther is one of our new members to CBS in 2018.  He is NOT new to the area, or to the Blues.  Marty  has lived a blessed life as far as the blues goes. A Rhode Island native, his first exposure to the music came at Newport in 1960 with Muddy Waters on stage. He was fortunate to see many of the first generation stars in subsequent years. And his life changed forever in'66 when he was seated eight rows away from Howlin' Wolf, who was crawling across stage singing Moaning At Midnight. For the better part of two decades, he lived as a member of the Chicago blues community, surrounded by many top musicians who were close friends. A Chicago trained harmonica player, he's co-founder of the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working and longest lasting bands in South Florida. 

Marty contributes to our board with his vast experience as a musician and  knowledge of the genre.  He contributes to our monthly newsletter with great articles and blues album reviews.
He has been a contributor for years to Blues Blast Magazine, and you often find their cover artist is his interview subject.  Always a great informative read.
Welcome Marty!

Advisor: Rick Ballew

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We are lucky to have several really strong past presidents who are still actively involved in CBS.
Rick Ballew is one of those.
After having served for many years in various capacities, then as Vice President, and then finally President, Rick has continued to be at nearly every single meeting since leaving the office in 2017.  
You can find him at our events as the supreme Emcee and his monthly donations from his vast collection of Blues CD's collected over the years, and aired on his "Smokin' Bluz" radio show, has generated an unbelievable addition to our coffers, which has allowed us to bring in some really outstanding talent.  We are grateful to have his guidance and  wisdom as we continue forward.  

He is also on the committee to help inplement ouf "Blues in the Schools" program. 

Advisor: Jeri Thompson

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Jeri Thompson served as President of CBS for several years, and continues to be a valuable resource for information .


Her busy life has caused her to attend less frequently, and we miss that amazing smile that lit up the room.



Advisor: First President :Beth Pollhammer

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Beth was instrumental in the formation of Charlotte Blues Society in 1993.  We will always be grateful for the leadership she has shown, and are never afraid to call and ask her for advice.  


Most Memorable

Ray Otstott 1948-2019

Ray Otstott

 

Musician and music lover, Ray joined our board in 2017.  He was our Membership AND Merchandise Chairman, no small task, and one he embraced with gusto.   His photos from music events are found  throughout this site as he was never without a camera and he always found a way to capture the moment.  HAs a guitarist himself, his enthusiasm and knowledge of the instrument made him one of the most interesting people to sit down and have a conversation with.  
Ray was a generous spirit, with a great sense of humor, an intelligent wit, and a team player.    He wrote some great music reviews, they are sprinkled throughout our newsletters over the past two years.  If you were looking for a good show to attend, all you had to do was ask Ray what he had tickets for.  You were guaranteed to hear outstanding guitarists in every genre.  


. We lost Ray to pancreatic cancer in April and we continue to miss his presence.  

Ray's generosity extended to donating our 2019 raffle guitar.  The Candy Apple Red Fender Squier Strat is a beauty, and it was from his personal collection.  Feel free to purchase a raffle ticket from our online store: you could win it for yourself.  It is collecting autographs from blues artists all year long, and some of the names now include Robert Cray, Samantha Fish, Ana Popovic, CoCo Montoya and Tinsley Ellis, to name a few.  

Nick Polyzos 1950-2019

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One of the longest running members on the Board, Nick  Polyzos has been with us since our early days.  

When he wasn't enjoying music, he was traveling, with many adventures with family, or you would find him on the lake with one of his best friends fishing, rafting or boating. 


He was dedicated to Charlotte Blues Society and as a Board Member at Large, we  called him "The Keeper of the Big Bang"  Nick made sure our Drum & Cymbals are available for every Blues Sunday event, helped to work the door on our Blues Sundays, and was one of the first to volunteer for outside events, whether it was Taste of Charlotte, or our merch/membership table at Blues shows around town.  He was also our official time-keeper for our Blues Challenge every year. 


His smiling face was always visible and Nick lived with gusto and was doing what he loved up until the last.  

We will miss him.


Robin Rogers Our Beloved Songbird

Robin Rogers

Robin Rogers was not just a gifted blues singer, songwriter and  harp player, she was passionate about spreading the word about Charlotte Blues Society and the Blues Foundation.
Her love of the music and outgoing personality on and off stage was legendary.  Her passion was kinetic and it carried over into her involvement with Women in The Blues and many charities.

She won the first Best Self-Produced CD during the IBC in 2002, was signed to Blind Pig Records, where her last album "Back in the Fire" debuted on the Billboard Blues album Charts in the Top 3.
Robin lost her battle with cancer in 2010, only days after she was told she was nominated for Best Female Contemporary Blues Artist award.  She made her husband and band partner Tony promise to go to Memphis the following May for the Awards ceremony.  
Tony was accompanied by a  huge contingency from CBS for moral support and because we all believed Robin had earned this award and we all wanted to be there for her.   On the night of the BMA's, the room erupted in cheers when the envelope was opened and her name was read.   Robin was not just a favorite with fans, she was loved by her peers and had  gained their respect over the years.


A recipient of multiple Blues Blast Music Awards,  Robin was an ambassador of the blues to the end.
Her legacy continues to inspire performers young and old.

Her absence on the stage and within the blues community is distinctly felt.

Robin was one of a kind, a precious light in the music world who continues to glow in all who knew or heard her.


An 8"x 8" brick in front of the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis TN has her name on it, donated by members of Charlotte Blues Society.  Installation of the brick is fall of 2019...those attending the IBC in January 2020 will be able to see her name among the many others represented there.  
We love you Robin Rogers,  Unconditionally.  

Marie Rink

Marie Rink

A more enthusiastic audience member and CBS Member could not have been found anywhere.

Marie Rink was at every event, and laughter followed her onto the dance floor, where she spread smiles throughout the room. 

Marie's spirit was infectious.  She loved to see everyone enjoying themselves, and when one music event was over, it was not uncommon for her to grab a few people and encourage them to join her at another performance just down the road.

Marie was the epitome of the phrase "young at heart" , exuding boundless energy that was fully charged by music.
We were blessed by her presence in our group.  We strongly believe those who dance, laugh and make the most of each moment, may have been lucky enough to stand or dance with  Marie at least once and a bit of her vibrant personality rubbed off.


We lost Marie in 2016, but her spirit lives on.