It's not just anyone who is able to manage an annual jazz festival. Ray Voss, as president of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society, had a unique ability to ensure the continuing success of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.
He was a committed fan of the traditional jazz style of the 1920s and '30s, and in particular the music of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke. Starting with that musical interest, it was natural that Ray would join the volunteers responsible for bringing the annual festival to life on the banks of the Mississippi River. His first assignment, a modest one, was in the late 1980s, when he volunteered to coordinate the festival's handicapped-parking area.
Ray volunteered each successive year in a variety of roles, willing to serve anywhere he was needed. In 1993, in recognition of his commitment to the festival, Ray was asked to join the Bix Society's board of directors. For the 1994 festival, he served as assistant festival director. The following year, he was appointed festival director, a job in which he was responsible for managing four music venues, 25 festival committees, and 200-plus volunteers. Voss was elected president of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society in 2002, a position he held until his death on February 22, at age 82.