The Grand County Blues Society(GCBS) sponsors 5-6 blues influenced school shows in East and West Grand County schools each year. The shows are fun and interactive and are meant to introduce children to the roots of music. “The kids are interested and eager to hear the music and experience the sounds and instruments.” said Maria Chavez, President of the GCBS. “We want to keep the blues alive in kids of all ages but it is a program that our Blues Society founder, John Catt was passionate about. I really believe that creative arts are important to developmental growth.”
This spring GCBS hosted Dan Treanor, an award winning musician & teacher. The first assembly was a harmonica workshop at Grand Kids Learning Center in Fraser. GCBS donated a harmonica to each child, & Dan spent an hour giving them some basics on how to play a harmonica. Dan did 3 other interactive, educational assemblies at Granby Elementary, Indian Peaks Charter School & Fraser Valley Elementary-where he taught about the roots of the blues, & how it developed in America. Treanor, a lifelong Denver resident has donated his time and energy to the program for nearly 20 years. “Giving back to the kids is a great feeling especially if we can connect” adding “I love all genres of music and love sharing music with young people. It’s fantastic.”
The Blues In The Schools (BITS) program has given out several thousand harmonicas over the years and volunteer board member, Retta Yarbrough said, “We are on the right track” as we strive to bring musicians and educators together to assist in sparking interest and teaching students about Blues music and its culture.
Yarbrough said, “I think the BITS program introduces kids to a very tangible look at music & musicians.” They get to hear from a professional musician what it’s like to do music as a full time job. “Our program brings the music that they hear everyday via radio or wherever to a real life level.” The program gives them a chance to envision what it might be like to pursue a very creative life in music. It also exposes them to different styles of music as most of the performers we bring in do a number of different styles of music in addition to blues.
One of the BITS program goals is to interact with the kids. Performers teach styles, tones, instruments or whatever they want to highlight. Trainor an accomplished musician and Harmonica player “Blues is a great way to get your feelings out.”
Last year the Blues Society presented five shows that included Fraser Elementary, Grand Kids Creative Learning Center, Granby Elementary and Indian Peaks Charter School. A goal of the program is to bring the music to all Elementary and Middle Schools throughout the county as much as possible.
“I am very proud of the work we have done over the years,” said Maria Chavez, President of the Grand County Blues Society. “We have taken Blues in the Schools to every school in Grand County and shared the history of the blues with kids of all ages and hopefully inspired a few along the way.”
For more info. check out: grandblues.org