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Blues in the Schools (BITS)

bitsOur BITS program is the flagship outreach of the SMBS.  Our main program is a history of the Blues, from its roots in the slave trade and the Mississippi Delta, through its migration to various regions in the U.S.  We match local musicians with area schools and other youth-oriented organizations to combine a history of the Blues with a live music performance.  It is a uniquely American art form that we feel is worthwhile to share with our youth.

Since our program’s launch in the mid 1990’s, BITS has reached thousands of kids.

In 2016 alone, we have reached over 1,200 children.  In March, a four piece band visited Halls Middle School where approximately 1,000 students and teachers attended the performance.  Please see the article here.  In June, the Smoky Mountain Blues Society was named Volunteer of the Month by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley because of their newly formed relationship with the Clubs.  The program is free to the schools and organizations, subsidized fully by the SMBS.

Below is a letter of commendation from a satisfied area teacher:

Yesterday, my Development of Rock and Roll class at Bearden High school was treated to a lesson/performance by Barry Faust, a former teacher at BHS and a friend of mine.  Playing harmonica, acoustic guitar and dobro, he played several early blues songs by artists including Son House, Robert Johnson, and Willie Dixon, and he provided historical context and insights which made the performance even more memorable and valuable.

My class and I are very much appreciative of Barry’s willingness to share his expertise with us.


Matt McWhirter
Teacher, Bearden High School

If your school or organization is interested in having a BITS program, please contact Don Linde by email.  Please give as many details as possible, such as the number of children you expect to attend and their ages.  Also, if you wish to support our ongoing efforts to keep the Blues alive for our youth, please visit the Donations section of our website.  We thank you for your support.

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