Education

Since our inception one of our major goals has been to educate the area youth about the great American art form known as The Blues. Here's some of the details about the series of Blues In The Schools programs we've presented.

Blues In The Schools 2015

Blues In The Schools - Library Edition
2:00 - 3:30 pm Saturday November 14
Champaign Public Library

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is excited to bring another in our series of educational blues programs to the community. At 2:00 pm on Saturday November 14 our instructors, Gus Wood, for blues history and Josh Spence on harmonica will present a 90 minute program at the Champaign Public Library. The program is geared to school children grades 4 through 6, but kids of all ages are invited. Thanks to a discount from Hohner harmonica, school children will be provided with their own harmonica to learn on and take home with them.

Stay tuned for more details as this event approaches.

Spring - 2015
South Side Elementary School
& Westview School

[Blues Foundation's BITS Logo]

This spring, Prairie Crossroads Blues Society conducted another of our Blues In The Schools programs, this one at South Side Elementary School in Champaign. Classes were presented March 11 & 12 and April 8 & 9 with grades 3, 4 and 5 participating. Our BITS instructors, Gus Wood for blues history, and Josh Spence for blues harmonica taught the series of classes. The program includes a performance by a local blues band for the kids.

[Jiggy & The Source]

Huge thanks goes to South Side Elementary teacher, Karinsa Moline, for her part in arranging the BITS program. We also appreciate the support of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for help with some of the funding, and we also receive a discount on the harps from Hohner Harmonica.

Thank You Page
Check out the awesome Thank You notes from the South Side Elementary School students after the PCBS Spring 2015 BITS program.

PCBS Education Chair, Sandy Hannum helped arrange a blues concert for the students at Westview School. Jiggy & The Source performed at the school on Wednesday March 18.

If you'd like PCBS to conduct a Blues In The Schools program at your school contact us at: prairiecrossroadsblues@gmail.com.


Donate to our Education Fund

You can now earmark your donations specifically for our Education programs. It's a great way to help us achieve our mission of educating about the blues and be a part of bringing up the next generation of blues musicians and fans.

This PayPal link will direct your donation in any amount directly to our educational efforts, including our "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) program.


We're always looking for new partners and fresh ideas. If you can help, let us know.


Blues In The Schools 2014

BITS Urbana Library Poster

Blues In The Library - Spring 2014
Urbana Free Library
Saturday May 31

PCBS continued our Blues in The Schools programs with a 90 minute workshop for grade school kids Saturday May 31 at the Urbana Free Library. Gus Wood was our blues history instructor and Josh Spence taught basic harmonica instrcution. Each student received a Hohner harmonica to keep at the end of the program. The kids and parents loved it and the library wants us to come back and do it again. We'd be happy to.

Thanks in part to a grant from the Orange Krush Foundation and help from Hohner USA and of course a huge thanks goes to our excellent instructors. We're excited to reach out to the youth of our community and share our love of the great American tradition known as the Blues.

Don Moyer's Boys & Girls Club
3 Week Program - Spring 2014

[Gus Wood BITS at Don Moyer's Boys & Girls Club] Prairie Crossroads Blues Society presented a three-week educational program at Don Moyer's Boys and Girls Club designed for kids in grades 3 through 5. Each Thursday from April 17 thru May 1 Gus Wood taught the kids about the history of the blues, and Josh Spence instructed them in basic harmonica playing.

We want to send a huge Thank You to the Orange Krush Foundation for their generous grant that helps make this awesome Blues In The Schools program available to the youth of the area. We also want to thank Hohner Harmonica for their discount on the harmonicas to assist our Blues In The Schools (BITS) programs.


Donate to our Education Fund

You can now earmark your donations specifically for our Education programs. It's a great way to help us achieve our mission of educating about the blues and be a part of bringing up the next generation of blues musicians and fans.

This PayPal link will direct your donation in any amount directly to our educational efforts, including our "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) program.


We're always looking for new partners and fresh ideas. If you can help, let us know.


Blues in the Schools 2013

Thomas Paine School - Fall 2013

[Blues Foundation's BITS Logo]

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society put on a six-week after school program at Thomas Paine School in the fall of 2013. With the help of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts we taught the students a bit of blues history, harmonica playing and song composition. The program included an all school assembly on Friday Sept 27 with a performance by local blues band The Sugar Prophets. The after school program started Wednesday Oct. 2.

If you'd like PCBS to conduct a Blues In The Schools program at your school contact us at: prairiecrossroadsblues@gmail.com

Louie's Dixie Kitchen& BBQ Fundraiser - Sept. 23, 2013

Thanks to everyone who turned out for our BITS Fundraiser at Louie's Dixie Kitchen & BBQ on Monday September 23. It was a fun chance to meet new people interested in helping spread the value of music to grade school children. We raised a nice amount of money for our Education Fund. Thanks to the entire staff at Louie's for their hard work and delicous food, and Josh Spence and Andy Duncanson for the superb music. We appreciate your support for a great cause.

Champaign Blues & BBQ Fest 2013

Thanks to all the schools and educators who contributed to the FE Moran/PCBS Future Stars Stage at the Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ Fest in 2013. The folks at C4-A, Wiley School and Garden Hills School assembled bands that performed to enthusiastic fans at the fest. Thanks to Joe Asselin, Josh Spence and Aaron "A-Train" Wilson for conducting workshops for PCBS.

Friday June 28th

  • 4:00 - C4A Blues Camp
  • 4:30 - Bow-Dacious String Band
  • 5:00 - Joe Asselin Harmonica Workshop
  • 6:00 - Zack Fedor

Saturday June 29th

  • 12:00 - Wiley Blues Singers
  • 12:30 - Josh Spence Harmonica Workshop
  • 1:00 - GH Strummers
  • 1:30 - Aaron Wilson Drums/Rhythm Workshop

Library Events Spring 2013

Orange Krush Foundation

In the spring of 2013 we received a grant from the Orange Krush Foundation and put together several one-hour programs to introduce children to blues history and the harmonica.

We did two one-hour events. The first was Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Champign Public Library at 200 W. Green Street in Champaign. Then on Saturday March 30, we were at the Urbana Free Library.

Kids at Champaign Public Library

This program was aimed at school children grades 3 through 5, but kids of all ages and parents were welcomed. Courtney Cain, graduate student at the U. of I. in African-American History presented the short history lesson. Doug Schroer, a local musican and educator gave the harmonica instruction. Thanks to the grant and a donation and discounted pricing from Samuel Music we gave each of the kids their own harmonica.

Courtney Cain has graciously made her PowerPoint slides available to all. These slides guide viewers through some of the key moments and performers in blues history. The slides are set to a mash up of classic blues songs. Click on the link in the slide to the left or the link below to view the short presentation.

Blues History slides


Garden Hills School January 2013

[BITS Garden Hills School Children]

We worked with Abby Heras, a teacher at Garden Hills School, to present a Blues In The School program. The Sugar Prophets played at the school on Jan. 18th to kick off the eight week program. Each class included a blues history lesson presented by Courtney Cain, a graduate student in African-American History, and music instruction. Students were able to choose either harmonica or drum lessons. The school already has a guitar ensemble taught by Ms. Heras, you may have caught their performance during the 2012 Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQs Festival, and those students will also learn some blues songs. At the end of the eight week program there might be more performances in the making.

Here's the Garden Hills School children enjoying The Sugar Prophets during the kick off concert on Jan.18, 2013


Thank you to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

A special thank you goes to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. They've been a big part of launching our education efforts and have helped with financial support, contacts in the education community and expert advice. We appreciate their involvement.


Blues In The Schools 2012

Champaign Blues Festival 2012

Thanks to all the fans, musicians, and volunteers who made our PCBS "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) Stage at the Champaign Blues, Brews & BBQ's Fest such a great event. Thanks to Fluid Events and the Orpheum Chilren's Museum for giving us the opportunity to present our series of workshops. It was a pleasure to be a part of the 2012 fest.

Here's the series of workshops we presented inside the Orpheum Children's Museum.

Friday June 29th

  • Blues History presentation Blues Dancing Lessons
  • Interactive Displays - Build your own instrument, etc.
  • Blues Dancing Lessons by bluesCentral
  • Garden Hills Strummers

Saturday June 30th

  • "Blues In The Schools" Highlights (Doug Schroer/David Adcock)
  • Guitar Workshop (Bruce "Bruiser" Rummenie)
  • Percussion Workshop (Michael Powers)
  • Piano and Vocals Workshop (Chrissy Sparks Rigsby)
  • Songwriting Workshop (Brandon T. Washington)
  • Blues Dancing Workshop (bluesCentral)
  • Slide Guitar Workshop (Matt Stewart)


Wiley School - Spring 2012

We're very happy to have started our Blues In The Schools (BITS) program at Wiley School in Urbana with help from the Urbana Arts Grants program.

Our initial BITS program, started with an all-school assembly attended by more than 330 Wiley School students and adults. This special event included a Blues history presentation by Cara Maurizi, Wiley School Fine Arts Teacher, followed by a performance by local blues band, The Painkillers.

[Blues Foundation's BITS Logo]

The next phase of the six-week, after-school BITS program began on April 4. Each session included Blues history, presented by Ashley Howard, and harmonica instruction, from Doug Schroer. Each participating student received a Hohner harmonica, generously donated by Samuel Music, to keep.

Doug Schroer has taught harmonica at C4A as well as the PCBS BITS program and is a talented harmonica player who sits in with many local blues bands including The Martini Brothers. Ashley Howard graduated from the U. of I. with a Masters degree in African-American studies with a particular interest in Blues history.

Thanks to ciLiving for featuring PCBS and our BITS program. Wiley Elementary also featured our program on their website.

This was the first step in being able to bring BITS to the students in Champaign-Urbana.


Donate to our Education Fund

You can now earmark your donations specifically for our Education programs. It's a great way to help us achieve our mission of educating about the blues and be a part of bringing up the next generation of blues musicians and fans.

This PayPal link will direct your donation in any amount directly to our educational efforts, including our "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) program.


We're always looking for new partners and fresh ideas. If you can help, let us know.


Contact info: prairiecrossroadsblues@gmail.com


Last Updated 07/16/2014