Lori Oury: Hats off to Blues in the Schools
Thank you Grand County Blues Society and your outreach program for kids called Blues in the Schools (BITS). Our school, Fraser Valley Elementary, has on several occasions benefited from BITS programs. John Catt, founder of the Blues Society, and Maria Chavez, the BITS coordinator, offer our schools, free of charge, assemblies and workshops so students can experience the blues firsthand and hands-on.
Every year the BITS program comes to FVE with award winning artists and prodigies such as Dan Treanor, Big Jim Adam, John Stillwagen, Yaniv Salzberg, Michaela Rae, and Jaden Carlson. They perform, share the history of, inspire, and teach the kids how to play the blues.
Maria Chavez has been the driving force for getting the blues into the schools. She has arranged all of these events not just for our school but all of the Grand County schools. Maria even helped me arrange to have an artist come in to help my students write songs and provide a band for a musical we created a few years ago called “The Grade School Bluesical.” That June those same kids performed one of their songs, complete with vocals, guitars, and harmonicas, at the Grand County Blues Festival, something I’m sure they will never forget.
Last year, BITS had FVE students put together cigar box guitars for a BITS fundraiser, a unique experience for those students. Recently we were excited to have Dan Treanor return to work with our fourth- and fifth-grade students on harmonicas (given to them free of charge) and baritone ukuleles.
Maria Chavez and BITS have enriched the music program at FVE and all of our local schools. I cannot thank her enough for all she does to support our schools and for keeping the blues alive. Thank you Grand County Blues Society for supporting the arts in our schools and nurturing future musicians and concert audiences for tomorrow.
Fraser Valley Elementary
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