by Spring Harris
Following the SEG President's Reception, several SEG past presidents along with some musically talented SEG members entertained attendees at the Presidential Jam. This popular event has become a staple of the Annual Meeting on Tuesday night. Emceed by SEG past president Peter Duncan (Microseimic), the event serves as an opportunity for members to dance the night away while also contributing to the Foundation. Although not required, attendees are encouraged to donate in support of the Foundation's efforts across the globe.
The Presidential Jam began informally when SEG members who gathered at the Annual Meetings discovered that they shared a love and talent for music. These members began meeting in the evenings after Annual Meeting events to jam in someone's hotel room. According to Duncan, the idea of taking the jam sessions public was realized when he and Guus Berkhout were standing in line at an Annual Meeting event listening to a professional quartet. Berkhout commented, "why does SEG pay for musicians to play when we have so many musically talented members?" The idea took off from there, eventually encouraging student participation and more recently becoming a fundraising opportunity.
In recent years, musicians in the Presidential Jam have been recruited by Duncan or have contacted him directly and asked to join the Jam. At last year's event in Las Vegas, Robert (Bob) Mager co-produced the Jam with Duncan. Mager, who played the pedal steel guitar, put together and distributed a song list before the meeting. He also helped set up the first Presidential Jam rehearsal, which according to Duncan resulted in one of the Jam's best performances to date. Unfortunately, Mager wasn't present at the Jam in Houston as he passed away earlier this year. This year’s Presidential Jam was dedicated to him.
This year's event featured the musical talents of Rob Ferguson, Brian Russell, Craig Beasley, Murray Roth, David Lumley, Rob Stewart, Peter Duncan, his son Jeff Duncan, Guus Berkhout, Brian Kalinec, Eric Vershure, Janet McGuire, Randy and Mike Herbert, Jamie Rector, and many others.
They took the stage at 8 p.m. when the President's Reception officially ended. The doors to the event were opened to everyone, allowing a mix of SEG student members and delegates to enjoy a band that included three past-presidents, three Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal award winners, and one Cecil Green Enterprise award winner playing popular songs like Sweet Home Alabama and Black Magic Woman. Shoes came off as couples took to the dance floor. The doors to the event were manned by Microseismic employees collecting donations for the SEG Foundation, while Peter Duncan took some time off stage to pass the hat, this being Texas, it was a cowboy hat, throughout the dancing crowd.
When asked what he wanted people to know about the Presidential Jam, Duncan said, "we do this for fun. And the whole point is to get together and celebrate this affinity that geophysicists seem to have for music." The event raised US $4,654 for the SEG Foundation.