Joan Cartwright, E.D.
Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.
1711 NW 38th Avenue
Lauderhill, FL 33311



This letter from our Vice President Lydia Harris summarizes the impact of our 2010 Programs and Events





December 2, 2010

Broward County Commissioners

Via Email to: 

Dear Broward County Commissioners,

As Vice President of the Advisory Board for Women in Jazz South Florida (WIJSF), I am eager to seize this opportunity to acknowledge the support and extend appreciation to the County Administrator and each of our County Commissioners for the FY 2010-2011 funding received this year.

As a result of that support, we have been able to provide music history and performance based educational programming to a multigenerational and multicultural audience.

From our presentations to elementary and middle schools, we identified untapped talent that we showcased in local community performances.  Many of the music students of Parkway Middle School were given their first opportunity to share their choral, jazz band and solo/duet talents because of your endowment to our organization. Imagine the pride felt by many of their parents, mentors and families watching their children in public performance for the first time!

Educational sessions coordinated with library directors and school principals at Parkway and Walker Elementary Schools taught children musical principles rarely explored in this day and age of declining funding for the arts. Through the exploration of excerpts from the nine publications of WIJSF Founder and Executive Director, Joan Cartwright, M.A., our musical history curriculum raised the consciousness of hundreds of young minds in the Broward School District. From the anatomy of a song to aspirations of being a musician, your support of this investment in our cultural future has opened the doors of possibility for many of our Broward County Students.

Your insight into the needs of the community to seek alternative methods to promote the arts resulted in an extraordinary find that has drastically changed the lives of two middle school students. From Dillard High School, The Sons of Mystro emerged as the first violinist brother duet of color that I have ever seen! The years of support their families provided to them became popularized with your generous funding initiative that brought them to live performances for hundreds, and YouTube videos that can reach millions. They have subsequently been sought after to accompany and open for other local artists with their “spicy, stirring strings” that left audiences of all ages in standing ovation.

The performance opportunities made available for our member musicians to share their talents as contributors to the Community Musicwomen program, continues to tell the stories of the first ladies of jazz and blues. Our performances were highlighted by sing-a-longs not only in the schools, but also with our valued senior community.  Testimonials continue to be heard praising the journey down their personal musical “ Memory Lane ” through the songs popularized, during their heyday, as radio, TV, and recorded music became available to the masses.  At the Daniel Cantor Senior Center, part of the Jewish Federation of Broward County, swollen feet tapped, arthritic hands clapped, reminiscing eyes teared and shaky voices sang to the tunes of young lives remembered.

Your decision to support WIJSF also provided education to musicians and other artists through our “Business of Music” panel in conjunction with ArtServe.  Our humanity thrives on the artistic vision of those who dedicate their lives to various art forms. Without the pictures, sounds, shapes and crafts of these artisans what would be the need for TV, radio, museums and curio cabinets?  Yet, sadly, the term “starving artist” is frequently an accurate description for those who offer pleasure for our senses as they share their talents based on giving, rather than economics.  And, ironically, artists are undervalued, until a niche is made for them in our global marketplace.  Part of the funding that you have delivered to our artists provided them with marketing, promotion and financial management information to combat the “starving artist” syndrome.  This program was attended by The Sons of Mystro as part of their preparation for success as entertainers.

All of the musicians that participated in this funded program were paid for their performances, including a stipend to Parkway Middle School Jazz Band and Vocal Ensemble. The Sons of Mystro are continuing on their income generation and personal economic development with additional local performances, since being featured in this amazing, multifaceted, cultural program.

We have chronicled this journey on video and in pictures on our website and at Please visit the sites and listen to the music, see the smiling senior faces, read from the curriculum taught to the children and note the graphical marketing expertise used to promote each event for the enjoyment of our community. This is the visual where we can see our tax dollars at work.

WIJSF is building bridges to maintain the connection between the arts and the people of Broward County. Our partnerships with the City of Lauderhill and the Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce connected the arts to business in the recent Lauderhill Jazz Jam, as part of the Business Expo, luncheon with Les Brown and golf tournament with nationally renowned professional athletes. This connection has resulted in our participation with an international business incubator in the City of Lauderhill and is placing WIJSF in alignment with plans being made for the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center and other cultural centers in the region.

Again, I thank you for the opportunity you have given WIJSF to serve our community, through the schools, business partnerships, educational services, involvement of senior citizens in the arts, and the creation of economic opportunity for a multitude of musicians. We look forward to the next privilege we are given to serve the citizens of Broward County, through future Broward Cultural Council funding initiatives.


Lydia Harris

Board of Directors Vice President, WIJSF, Inc.

Cc: Bertha Henry, Broward County Administrator

       Estelle Loewenstein, Chair, Broward Cultural Council

       Joan Cartwright, Executive Director, WIJSF, Inc.

June 2, 2010

Message from the President:

The Notion of Appreciation

Learning to be appreciative of the many blessings and opportunities that come our way is often placed at the bottom of that important list of things we need to do. We take our loved ones, colleagues, work, material possessions, opportunities, conveniences, even ourselves for granted, by allowing cattiness, ill-will, personal frustrations, and self-hatred to foster unkindness toward each other. We exhibit behavior that no real lady would carry in her purse.

When I look at Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., the vision of Joan Cartwright and her efforts to blaze new pathways for female artists, around the globe, I am in awe. I observe her working tirelessly, using her knowledge, skills and extensive experience as a musician together with her passion for uplifting women artists. As the new President of this worthwhile organization, I would like my first message to the members to foster appreciation and respect for this transformational woman of song. When someone in any area of our lives, affords us opportunities, strives to support our efforts, we are riding on their wings and we must recognize and appreciate that gift.

My spirit was filled with complaints and pessimism, until 1989, when the hurricanes Hugo, Marilyn and Jeanne opened my eyes. During Hugo, a nagging, invisible voice urged me to move from the bed where I lay waiting for the wind to stop howling. I heeded the voice and moved. Within seconds, a huge tree crashed through the roof and landed exactly in the spot where I had been lying. It was eerie and I was thankful. In1995, Marilyn slammed St. Thomas and for six hours, I was in a closet, after the terrace and sliding glass doors blew off my house and water gushed in. Eighty percent of the homes and businesses on were destroyed and 10,000 people were homeless. This was my “Ah ha moment.”

When we stepped out of the closet, my husband and I were just grateful to be alive. Though I lost my favorite things, I was appreciative of things I took for granted. For six months, we had no electricity or telephone. But the generator provided a hot shower and ice for a cool drink.

Hurricane Jeanne, in 2004, was the fourth storm that I weathered. I noticed that people were kinder, more considerate and appreciative, after the storm. But the “hurricane afterglow” is short lived. Once people get their conveniences back, and get back to their routine, compassion, concern and kindness for others at work, in social circles and at home tend to dwindle.

In our world much is available but more is desired. The question is, “Will you appreciate more, if you don’t appreciate what you have?”

Things change in the blink of an eye. Loved ones pass on, jobs are lost. Opportunities are overlooked because we are mentally and spiritually blind. We don’t appreciative the small blessings in our lives. Don’t wait until it’s too late to show your appreciation or express your gratitude to someone. It should not take the threat of harm or severe weather to make you take notice, to become more human. I embrace the notion of appreciation on a daily basis and realize that my life is joyful because of my attitude shift. The blessings in my personal life and work grow, daily.  You begin by appreciating the beauty of a sunny day, a relaxing walk on the beach, time spent with family and friends, your own talents and gifts. Start practicing and preaching the notion of appreciation by saying “Thank you,” more and more.

On behalf of all of the members, supporters and stakeholders of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., I say “We appreciate and thank you, Joan Cartwright! Thanks for being that lighthouse, a beacon of opportunity for women in jazz.”

For the Love of Music, Divine Blessings to You All,

Dr. Anita Davis-DeFoe, President, WIJSF, INC.