We had the good fortune of connecting with Anni Beach and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anni, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Managing a huge band of children all learning to play bluegrass and perform seems pretty daunting at times. But then we play for people and they are so happy hearing children play the old songs and when I see their smiles and sometimes tears I know I am doing something good. And that makes me so happy. When a child comes and shows me a tune they can pick on the banjo, wow! I am way up on top of the moon. So my happy comes from the daily knowledge that young people and myself are continuing to learn and especially learning how to be a band.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was a teacher, administrator, and counselor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Navajo Reservation beginning in 1969. After marrying in 1985, we moved to Chandler and began a new phase of life. I worked part-time as the Religious Education Coordinator at Williams Air Force Base and also became a substitute teacher for Chandler Schools which I dearly loved. So I have an extensive background in making things happen. And I was born with a character trait which I call Tenacity. Nothing is easy. But I have learned to not look too far ahead. Do what’s needed to move forward. I learned that teamwork has it’s place but in managing a large band of all ages and diversity, there must be one leader. My band is very successful because there is a definable philosophy and the goal has always remained the same: to make ourselves and others happy with our music. I am proud and thankful that I have been able to maintain this work for 28 years and have a sustainable structure for when I must step away (meaning death). We are highly unique in the bluegrass world because we believe that bluegrass is everyone’s music and we are very diverse in all ways. Our mission continues to demonstrate that belief and we hope to not be so unique in the years to come. That keeps me on track and working hard and having the most fun anyone almost 80 could ask for.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My Jam Pak Home would be the place to start. It’s filled with antiques, mementoes, photos, musical instruments, animals, and an occasional show in the backyard called the “Beach House Review”. We would eat at least once at Singing Panda as it’s close by. We would have people over for a jam and a potluck. I am not big on spending money so much of what we do is have parties at home. AZ El Mucho Taco on Alma School and Warner in Chandler. A cozy excellent place to get the real deal food.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout must be to all the members of my Jam Pak Band community. Their faithfulness to be part of something that requires learning music and participating as a loving community is not for those unwilling to take risks and step outside of a personal/political comfort zone.

Website: www.jampak.org

Facebook: Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band

Youtube: You Tube: Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band

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