Weisberger Elected IBMA Chairman

Jon WeisbergerVeteran songwriter and bass player Jon Weisberger was elected chairman of IBMA’s board of directors today, as the World of Bluegrass conference got underway in Raleigh, N.C.

Weisberger, who had been co-chairman, replaces Stan Zdonik, who was chairman for three years and spent a dozen years on the board. Cindy Baucom was elected vice-chairwoman.

Elizabeth Wightman, who had been serving as interim treasurer, was officially elevated to the post, and Craig Havighurst was chosen as secretary. He replaces Dan Keen.

“It’s a load off,” Zdonik joked as he left his final board meeting.

When Zdonik took office, IBMA was in a downward financial spiral.

“When I came in, I said to the membership, ‘it’s time for us to reinvent ourselves. After three years, I hope we’ve been successful in getting started down that path.”

Weisberger is a one of the most prolific songwriters in bluegrass these days, and was selected last year as IBMA’s first songwriter of the year. He’s also a journalist and plays bass with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    What are the chairman’s prescribed duties within the organization? I couldn’t find any bylaws online…

  • David Smith

    I guess I’ve been following Bluegrass Today for a while now. I predicted who would make the first comment on this story and even what the comment would be – and I was correct.

    Here’s my next prediction: the IBMA Chairman’s prescribed duties are in line with the top goals of IBMA.

    1. Build our customers ability to succeed in the changing business environment.

    2. Reach new audiences for bluegrass through media and events.

    3. Increase and diversify IBMA resources, in order to further all goals and improve organizational stability.

    4. Explore partnerships with other organizations to drive new opportunities.

    I do not know Jon Weisberger, but I have followed his professional work within the genre of bluegrass and I feel that he is an excellent choice for the chairman position.

    • Darren Sullivan-Koch

      I think it’s a perfectly reasonable question, David. Do you disagree?

  • Dennis Jones

    This is the Cyber Bully who beats down any dissention or opinions other than his across the www, even The IBMA-L. Elected without the knowledge of or any input from The Membership…does this smell bad to anyone else?

  • Derek

    I know Jon quite well. He knows more about bluegrass than anyone I’ve ever met. He will be good in the job. Not everyone is going to like his leadership, and those will probably be the ones that have a problem with the IBMA in general. But oh well. That can’t be helped. And Dennis, are you saying that Jon is a cyber bully?

    • Dennis Jones

      Yes Derek, it’s well documented on The Bluegrass-L, IBMA-L and the old Bluegrass Rules forum. If someone disagrees with him, he bullies and browbeats people. “Last Word Jon” is what he is called.

      • jim nelson

        I’m afraid I disagree, Dennis. Jon knows whereof he speaks and is not hesitant to state his case. Some people have a problem with that, but there is a huge difference between having a strong opinion with the facts to back it up and browbeating people. To accuse him of cyber bullying borders on libel.

        • Dennis Jones

          Jim, do you follow Bluegrass-L? The most recent incidents involve D.J. Anderson who returned after a long absence only to be driven away in short order. You won’t have to look far to find other examples. One persons “strong opinions” are another’s being bullied. Ask Lynwood Lunsford.

  • Derek

    Well, I’m sorry that has occurred. I’ve certainly never seen that. Nor do I really care. There are a lot worse people in the business.

  • Lynwood Lunsford

    IMHO, it’s just another step in the downward spiral of the organization.

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  • Lenny Nichols

    Congratulations, Jon.

  • Alisha-Bear

    Congratulations, Jon. 🙂 You seem to be quite the man for the job. I don’t know a ton about you, but what I do know, is good. You seem to be extremely well-versed in the “ways” of Bluegrass and will do a fine job, I’m sure. Here’s to more great years ahead for the IBMA, along with you. Congratulations, again, and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.


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