Our BITS program has turned 20 years old! It 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 at Fulton High School in 1997 with BARRY FAUST and STEVE MICHAEL performing to a packed house, 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:
Dear Don and the Smoky Mountain Blues Members,
I hope this afternoon is finding you well. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
This afternoon Barry and Rich provided an amazing experience for our young people here at Halls-Powell. The program was very interactive and allowed our members to be exposed to blues music. Many questions were asked and answered and plenty of dancing was had. Overall, I would say a good time was had by all!
I passed along to Rich and Barry that I would love to host BITS again sometime soon, possibly this summer if schedules align.
Thank you again for providing this experience to our members!
Assistant Executive Facility Director-Halls/Powell
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley
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.