Programs

blues-in-schools

Blues In The Schools

The GCBS has been a pioneer in the realm of Blues in the Schools. Under the leadership of board member Maria Chavez, all of the school-age kids in Grand County have been immersed in the blues. Not only have they been entertained by the all the programs that have come their way, they have been on the stage, creating their own “bluesical” and giving performances on the festival stages over the years.

The program is a necessity for any self-respecting blues society, but the GCBS has taken the kids very serious and have spent countless hours teaching them about the art form.

Dan Treanor at a Blues In The Schools presentation.Each year has been a musical adventure created by Maria’s passion for not only the music but her passion for young people. The GCBS has funded all the programs by raising money and finding grants. No school has ever had to pay for any of the visiting artists.

The GCBS brought long time Colorado bluesman and educator Dan Treanor (left) in from the start. Known as the “blues guy” by Grand County youth, Dan has spent many hours with the kids now. They have grown up with his stories of the origin of the blues.

The GCBS has also brought Michaela Rae Knox in when she was just a ten-year-old. She wowed the young girls and boys and became a role model for some. We think she might have given her first autographs at the Fraser Library.

The Saskatoon Blues Society couldn't have said it any better, “Music education enables students to interact with sound, simultaneously engaging mind, body, and spirit. Through creating, performing, and listening to music, students experience the ways in which music evokes and conveys thoughts, images, and feelings. Music education makes a valuable and unique contribution to students' intellectual growth, and integrates intellectual and emotional development. Shared experiences in music significantly contribute to the development of a healthier society through activities that respect and reflect the diversity of human experiences. Music education enables all learners to explore, create, perceive, and communicate thoughts, images, and feelings through music. These experiences are unique and essential, and make a significant contribution to learners' lifelong development as educated citizens.”

“Music education enables students to interact with sound, simultaneously engaging mind, body, and spirit.”

—The Saskatoon Blues Society

bits_cigarboxes

We have been creating cigar box guitars with the kids for the past three years and our friend JP Soars, master of the instrument and great inspiration to the kids has come all the way from Florida to help assemble and teach the kids how they are played. This has been one of the more exciting programs we have done. You can see the video on our website, remember, the GCBS is always there to seed other organizations if called upon. We are only a few years from graduation of our first ever “BITS” students. There is nothing we are prouder of! As we find out every year,” you’re never to young to have the blues!

The BlTS is funded by donations and grants. Without these funds, the Blues in Schools would not be possible. If you are interested in joining the fun and providing a Tax Deductible Donation for financial support for our BITS program, please click the “Donate Today” button at the top of the sidebar. All donations are tax deductible. We are a 501c3 organization.

BITS - Fraser Elementary School with Dan Treanor

Check Out The Music

In 2006, the Grand County Blues Society (GCBS) partnered with the Grand County Library District (GCLD) in order to get instruments into the hands of young people displaying an interest or affinity for music. This began the endearing “Check Out the Music Program.” Through this program, folks throughout Grand County could borrow instruments from their local library, using their library card. Acoustic guitars, electric and bass guitars with amplifiers, keyboards, youth-size guitars, drumsticks and drum pads were donated by GCBS to Grand County libraries and were available to the public—for FREE!

The popularity of the Check Out the Music (COTM) program grew daily as word was spread about it. With that popularity came some great triumphs:

  • Local musicians donated their time to give free guitar and keyboard lessons at local libraries throughout Grand County.
  • Supporters like the Grand County Commissioners, the Grand Foundation, and the Fraser Valley/Winter Park Lion’s Club sponsored the program and provided instructional materials (DVDs, instruction manuals etc.) for check out. They donated funds to purchase additional instruments to loan. They even gave compensation to local musicians and purchased youth guitars for lessons in the library.
  • In 2007, the Grand County Blues Society was presented as “Library Partner of the Year” award by the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL), an honor given annually for unique and successful community/ library alliances. Specifically, the awards committee of CAL thought the partnership creating “Check Out the Music” between the GCBS and The Grand County Library District “showed ingenuity and the willingness to think outside of the box to offer a unique and well-used library service.” Only two other awards of its kind have ever been presented. Upon receiving the award, GCBS challenged other library districts to loan instruments to their public.
  • In 2008, the Delta County Library District took on the challenge and adopted the program for their community. GCBS donated an electric guitar and amplifier, and an acoustic guitar to get them started. By March 2009, Delta had several guitars, both electric and acoustic, for check out, with a strong demand for all instruments.
  • In 2009, the Lopez Island Library in Washington followed suit to set up a successful COTM program at their public library.

 

Today, the “Check Out the Music” program is running strong and continues to contribute boundless heart and soul to our Grand County libraries. It has taken a village to support it, and the Grand County Blues Society is grateful to all for its successes.

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