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Blues In The Schools News

Blue Barry here. I’ve been pretty busy with the BITS (Blues in the Schools) program since September and schools got cranked up again.  It has been a great pleasure to play with a harmonica student of mine as well.  Fifteen year-old Ben Kreider has been helping me out on harmonica, guitar, mandolin, and genuine love for music. We started out with a couple of shows at Whittle Springs Middle School in September and had a great time playing for the kids!  We were well received, treated like kings, and got lots of positive feedback, and even another show out of it.  Next we hit up Maynard Elementary School with about five shows for kindergarten through about 5th grade. That took us through September, into October. The last day of October we got to do two shows at Christenberry Elementary School with about 90 kids in each show. A wonderful place to play! Really nice stage. They gave us treats, and water, and were as nice as anyone could be. The shows were well received and the kids, like all kids, had some pretty good questions. They really enjoyed listening to Ben and asking him questions. I think he turned 16 the day after that show! Anyway it has been great fun playing at all of these schools. We play a little of everything from country blues, one-chord stuff, to harmonica chugging, to Piedmont Blues, Mississippi blues, taking them through Memphis and Chicago with lots of different styles of music, from each area.  Or as many as we can get in.   Ben is also a killer guitar player. I let him show off a lot because the kids love him, and he’s better than I am on guitar. He plays some mandolin now and then, and that’s also a hit. His harmonica work really knocks them out.  They love to see a kid do this, and we encourage everyone to play some kind of music. “YOU can do it!” That’s our mantra! We also talk about the instruments we play, how they work, talk about the amps and microphones, and answer most of their questions. The good folks at Christenberry will have us back for some more shows soon. We’ll be back at Maynard Elementary again in January. Got a couple of shows coming up this month at Spring Hill Elementary school as well. It’s a lot of running around, but the smiles on the kids faces say it all. They high five us, give us hugs, it’s great. At Christenberry we had a faculty member sit in with us on the second show paying djembe. So there you go!  That’s what we’ve been doing.  Hope you guys are doing as well, and having at least this much fun.  Thanks to everyone who has helped us out, carried our equipment, turned the lights on, unlocked the doors and made us feel welcome! This is my 21st year of doing BITS, and the program is still going on strong! Life is good! We’re continuing to plant those blues seeds in the hearts of our youth! I guarantee it will grow somewhere. I remember the first time I got knocked down by blues music. Never recovered. Some of these kids will never forget either. You just have to hear it once. One Love, Blue Barry and Ben!

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