ISB Convention Overview:

Although the ISB was founded in 1967 and involved a variety of summer gathering experiences over the years, we hosted our first full-on international convention in 1984 at Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL with Executive Director and Convention Chair, Jeff Bradetich at the helm. (More info about our ISB history here.)

Poster for 1984 ISB in Chicago

Over the last 33 years we have held a biannual convention at locations across the United States. These experiences have helped us to developed a tried and true schedule format. It involves the performers and makers competitions on Monday and Tuesday at the beginning of the convention week, and a full schedule of over 100 concerts, classes, masterclasses and exhibits beginning Tuesday morning and concluding Saturday night. There is also dedicated, week-long programs for Young Bassists and for Adult Learners (non-professional bassists and bass lovers).

Winners 2015 age 15-18 competition2

Monday Night: The convention officially begins on Monday Night. This year Gary Karr will give a Keynote Speech in honor of our 50th Anniversary as an organization, followed by performances from Sam Suggs and Mike Forfia, our competition winners from our 2015 convention. We will announce Monday’s competition winners, and 2015-2017 ISB president, Douglas Mapp, will present me with the symbolic presidential tailpiece as I step into that role.

ISB Symbolic Presidential Tailpiece (photo by. Judy Kirtley)

Tuesday – Saturday Schedule 9 – noon: Our Tuesday – Saturday schedule begins at 9 am with just a few events focusing on clinics, workshops, lectures, and panels, and continues until noon, increasing the number of events, and adding in some concerts in the 11 am hour.

Exhibit Hall 3

We break from noon – 2pm for lunch and social time together, and so everyone has some dedicated time to visit the vendor rooms and booths. There will be a noontime bass jam for enthusiasts, a college bass ensemble showcase, some special lunches, and probably a few films shown during these hours.

Then we ramp up for a busy afternoon from 2 – 6 pm with as many as 5 or 6 concerts and presentations happening simultaneously, except for the 5pm hour when only two events are scheduled.

We break again from 6 – 7:30 pm for dinner and social time.

Diego Zecharies, left, with Barry Green

Then we all meet together at 7:30 in the largest auditorium for announcements, drawings for prizes, Solo and Makers’s Competition results, special recognition awards, and other fun and touching scenes from center stage to melt your heart and fill you with bass love!

The evening headlining concerts are at 8pm and 9:30pm.

After that we all go to the ISB After Hours hang for with your all your heroes. Come enjoy snacks, darts and pool, adult beverages, and listen to or take part in the After Hours Jam Session lead by Miles Brown.

Rinse. Repeat.

We all head our own way on Sunday, longing for the next convention two years hence.

For a full 2017 Schedule of Events, check out this site (and please share the schedule with others!)

Nicholas Walker
ISB 2017 Convention Chair

Nicholas is the President of the ISB, and is an Associate Professor of Music at Ithaca College.