Prairie Crossroads Blues Society
Blues in the Schools 2013
Champaign Blues & BBQ Fest
Does your school or organization have a youth-oriented band? Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is in the process of assembling performers to participate in this summer's Blues Fest. We are part of a Blues In The Schools/Future Stars Stage and would love to talk to you about acts that want a chance to play at the biggest blues event in Central Illinois. We're also looking for a few performers who's primary focus would be on education, perhaps featuring a specific instrument or style of blues.
Contact us at; firstname.lastname@example.org
This spring 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 have done two one-hour events so far. 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.
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, Blues History slides
Garden Hills School
We worked with Abby Heras, a teacher at Garden Hills School, to help her put on a Blues in the School program. The Sugar Prophets played at the school on Jan. 18th to kick off the program, which ran for eight weeks. 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 drums. 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
Fall programOur Education chair is working with educators to put together a Blues in the School program for the start of school next fall. We are applying for some grant funding and this year's focus school, suggested by Sam Smith at Krannert is Thomas Paine. The music teacher at Thomas Paine, Brandon T. Washington, is assisting with the planning and suggested our program take place in the fall 2013 semester.
We're always looking for partners and new ideas. If you can help, let us know.
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.
Thank you to Krannert
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.
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.
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 is currently teaching harmonica at C4A and is a talented harmonica player who sits in with many local blues bands as well as playing with The Martini Brothers. Ashley Howard is a graduate student in African American studies with a particular interest in Blues history.
This is the first step in being able to bring BITS to the students in Champaign-Urbana.
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 this year's fest.
We hope to be back next year.
Friday June 29th
- Blues History presentation Blues Dancing Lessons
- Interactive Displays
- 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)
Check back for further details as the education program grows. And, as always, if you'd like to get involved, go to our Membership page to sign up as a PCBS member. For more information or to share your ideas, send us an email.