Grand County Blues program strikes a chord with local students
Harmonica, harp, blues harp, Mississippi saxophone or pocket rocket ” no matter what people like to call it, the instrument and the Grand County Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools program has been a hit with youths in Grand County.
Once again GCBS invited and hired Denver’s blues musician Dan Treanor up to Grand County to do two all-day blues educational workshops at the Fraser and Granby elementary schools last week. Treanor has been playing the pocket rocket (his favorite name for it) for at least 40 years and has volunteered for the GCBS program for about 15 of them, estimating he’s taught more than 60,000 kids about the blues and the harmonica. He likes to call it the pocket rocket “’cause you can take it out of your pocket and rock it.”
For each school, Treanor taught individual workshops for the different grade levels where the kids learned the history of blues music and how it plays an instrumental role in current-day lifestyles. Fraser Valley Elementary School third, fourth and fifth graders also learned how to hold and play harmonicas and received one to keep. At the end of the day, selected harmonica students then performed at an all-school blues assembly.
These students played “harp” with Treanor as he played guitar and then he got all the students involved by singing “call and response” songs.
“It’s great to see all the kids involved. Each time we have an assembly, the kids get more and more excited that the blues are back in town. It was the most vocal the students have been during an assembly,” said Maria Chavez, director of the Blues In
The Schools program. “I greatly appreciate the teachers, especially music teacher Lori Oury who supports our programs.”
The following day at Granby Elementary School, Treanor did all-day mini blues assemblies in the different grade levels. The fourth grade class was also taught how to also hold and play harmonicas and received one to keep. “These kids were very excited to learn the blues and also got excited about actively participating in the mini assemblies. It was great working with Colleen at the Granby Elementary School who was very enthusiastic to bring the blues into the school.”
With regular funding, GCBS is able to help enrich its BITS program by doing more blues education in the classroom setting, after-school programs and community events in both East and West Grand County school districts. Every year, the blues society is proud to be able to educate the kids on the origin of the blues. “Lessons help them understand how it affects modern-day music and helps them take their blues away.”
The program is made possible by grants and donations, with a special thank you to the Grand County Commissioners and Safeway for their support in this year’s programs and keeping the blues alive in all ages.
“Grand County is going blue thanks to you,” said John Catt, GCBS founding board member.
Other sponsors include Sky-Hi Daily News, Spot On Promotions, the Grand Foundation, Fraser Valley Lions Club, Real Estate of Winter Park, KCMV, Kai Turner, Cooper Creek Square, Smokin’ Moe’s, WCW Drywallers, Channel 17, the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce and Category 5 Amplification. To make a donation visit http://www.grandblues.org.
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