Shows, guitar auctions punctuate Blues in the Schools Week in Grand County
Grand County, CO Colorado
The Grand County Blues Society is kicking off its ninth year of bringing music to Grand County school age children by making Dec. 9-16 the first Official Blues in the School Week.
Blues in the School is a program in which the GCBS teaches the history of America’s indigenous music. It covers the origin and the effect that this music and its creators have had on all popular music since.
The program has brought several artists in for concerts and interactive teaching. Every learning facility in Grand County has been visited multiple times.
All of this has been accomplished without any school funds. The program has continued with grants from The Grand Foundation, the Grand County commissioners, The Lion’s Club, The Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce and private donations from the GCBS and its members.
Maria Chavez has been director of this program from its inception. Dan Treanor, long-time blues educator, Civil War expert and blues artist has been the face of Blues in the School for the GCBS.
The program also created the popular and award-winning “Check out the Music.” This program has placed more than 40 instruments in the local libraries for card-holders to check out, including guitars, keyboards, amps and DVDs.
Awarded the 2007 “Library Partner of the Year” for the state of Colorado, this program is more than 6 years old and going as strong as ever.
Besides “Check out the Music” and going into the schools teaching music, the program also created Blue Star Connection, a program that gets music into the lives of children enduring cancer treatment along with other challenging situations. This program is now nationwide with over 80 kids in 26 states, as well as outfitting nine Children’s Hospitals with various instruments.
So far Blue Star has been to Dallas, Denver, Pittsburg, Kansas City, Nashville, Cincinatti, Oakland and Oklahoma City.
The week-long event will include the final touches on 20 cigar box guitars that will be sold to highest bidders. That will enable the grant to be replenished and used for the program.
The GCBS is bringing in two big shows to feature artists connected to Blues in the School. Festival artist JP Soars, who is the inspiration of this form of guitar building , will work with the kids on Thursday, Dec. 9, at Fraser Valley Elementary School. He will be showing them how they are played, and he can make these things talk.
He will then be performing at the Circle H in Granby on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and again on Friday at Smokin Moe’s with special guest Michaela Rae and the Stingrays. Michaela is 15 and can hold the stage with her guitar skills. She has been a frequent Blues in the School performer here since she was 10.
The week will end with Mike Zito and Samantha Fish at Smokin’ Moe’s on Dec. 15. Mike recorded a live CD at Moe’s during last year’s festival and he is releasing it on this night. He plans to donate $5 of every CD sold to Blues in the School.
The GCBS is a 501c3 non profit and depends on the support of the entire county to continue its work with the local youth. You can find out about them at http://www.grandblues.org and at http://www.bluestarconnection.org.
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Citing staffing concerns and the high rate of illness, West Grand High School will switch to all remote learning for the remainder of the week.