BluesEd students had an amazing summer of special Guest Clinicians lined up for them in 2016. Thanks to our generous donors we are able to have several touring professional musicians work with our students. We were delighted to welcome Bruce Katz, Brad Cordle, Heather Newman, Nick Schnebelen and Justin Shelton as guest clinicians.
Brad Cordle, Omaha's own "Crown Jewel of Blues," offered our students three vocal clinics where he worked with our students on breath control, stage presence, interacting with the band and audience and learning lyrics. Brad was accompanied by pianist Brian England.
Bruce Katz and his bandmates, Chris Vitarello & Ralph Rosen, gave our students an impressive clinic filled with Blues history, Hammond organ tips and tricks, Bruce's experience touring with The Allman Brothers and other musicians, plus his background teaching at Berklee College of Music. Students were treated to a private concert also. Later that evening Bruce and his band let a couple of our BluesEd students sit in on a few songs with the band during his show at The 21st Saloon.
BluesEd alumni. Heather Newman, and Nick Schnebelen, gave our students a clinic before their performance at Playing with Fire. Heather, being an alum, understood what the students wanted to hear as she was in their position not that long ago. Heather & Nick played some then invited students to come up and play with them. Sprinkled in between all the playing was a great deal of wisdom passed down on songwriting, stage presence, the business side of music and much more.
Our final BluesEd guest clinic of 2016 was a harmonica clinic given my Justin Shelton, of Hector Anchondo band. Justin gave an outstanding "harp" clinic for our students (and some siblings and parents joined in too!) on the basics of harp playing all the way up to advanced skills. By the end of the clinic our students were playing full Blues tunes on their harps. It was wonderful to hear!
All of the guest clinician's experience and advice only enhances our students educational training during their time in BluesEd. We are grateful to the guest clinicians for sharing their time, talent and the stage with our students.
Thanks also goes out to The 21st Saloon (96th & L) for hosting several of our clinics this season. There is no better place in Omaha to see live Blues and support live music!
This Saturday night, August 27th, is the second in the Playing with Fire concert series this summer. For 13 years now, Playing with Fire has given our BluesEd bands the chance to open the concert for well-known, International touring blues artist and this year is no different!
BluesEd band, The Redwoods, open the stage at Midtown Crossing at 4:30.
Local Lincoln favorite, Levi William and his band follows.
Next up is the one-man band extraordinaire, Steve Hill.
Finally, the one and only, living legend Walter Trout!
All Playing with Fire events are free!
Green space opens at 3:30. Bring your blankets, chairs, picnic baskets & beverages.
Parking is free for 3 hours in the Midtown Crossing Garages and then it's only $1/hr thereafter.
Please see this link for more Midtown Crossing info: http://www.midtowncrossing.com/media/1580/mtc_faq.pdf
After the concert on the big stage, join us at Cantina Laredo in Midtown Crossing for the AfterBurn Jam. Our BluesEd students have the opportunity to play with the headliners from Playing with Fire. Drink specials and appetizers available.
We'll Keep the Fire Burning all night long!
Name: John Staples
School: Burke High School
Instrument: Guitar, Bass & Vocals
College & Major: Iowa Western Community College, Music Major
How Long in BluesEd: First Year
How long have you been playing: 7 years
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Future People, it really introduced me to the Alabama Shakes.
Who is your favorite Blues artist? Gary Clark Jr. By far my favorite modern blues artist, he gives me hope for the future of blues rock.
Favorite BluesEd moment: Walking outside the OEAA awards with the homies in Dilemma. I felt like we got to appreciate music together and become a lot closer as friends.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: Playing music in any of my 5 bands, or playing Pokemon go. Team mystic, yo.
Name: Graham Brooks
School: Papillion La-Vista South High School
Band: Voodoo Vinyl
Instrument: Alto Saxophone and Electric Guitar
College & Major: Simpson college, BM in Vocal Performance and a BS in Mathematics
How long in BluesEd: 5 years
Favorite BluesEd workshop song: Red House or Soul Man
Favorite Blues artist: Jimi Hendrix
Favorite BluesEd moment: IBC at Memphis, the gigs at Sumter Amphitheater, Playing with Fire, and Jazz on the Green, to name a few.
Hobbies outside BluesEd: Classical Voice, Ice Skating, Video Games, Ping Pong, Fantasy Football, Chess
Name: Erik Shouse
School: Graduate of Skutt High School
College & Major: I will be attending Iowa State to study Computer Science.
How Long in BluesEd: I have been in the program for 5 years.
How many years have you been playing: I have been playing drums for 9 years now.
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song:
My favorite Dilemma workshop song in the years past is probably "Down in the Swamp." This is mainly because of how well the song fit both Dilemma and the program as a whole. I also think we played it very well so we played it for many years.
What is your favorite Blues artist: My favorite blues artist has to be Led Zeppelin. While not all of their music is blues, a lot of it is, and I take a lot of inspiration from John Bonham in all aspects of my playing.
What is your favorite BluesEd moment: My favorite BluesEd moments tend to be the weird ones. For example, in Dilemma's 3rd year, we played a show called BloodStock (picture below) that was simply a blood donation drive that wanted music to be played. So we were sitting there playing for a group of people all sitting there with needles in their arms. It was very "interesting".
Another favorite part of BluesEd was this year when I had the wonderful opportunity to play in 5 out of 6 bands in the program. It was great for me to get to know the other participants in the program as I wouldn't have been able to get to know them otherwise.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: As far as hobbies go, I play a lot of video games. Feel free to add me!
LoL IGN: Shoufe
Editor's Note: We would like to give Erik special recognition as a BluesEd student. Erik has provided his personal drum set for the majority of BluesEd performances for the past five years which meant he had to arrive early to each show and set up the drums and then stay late to tear them down after each show. Erik has put in a great deal of extra time as a BluesEd student musician. Thank you Erik! (Yes, we are proud parents!)
Our 15th year Season Finale is upon us! All six of our BluesEd bands will be performing at one of the finest venues in town: The Waiting Room Lounge in Benson on Sunday, August 7th. This will be a don't miss event as we say goodbye to our students leaving us for college. Our seniors have provided tremendous leadership on and off the stage for our BluesEd program. Several of these students have been in the program for 5 years and have grown into excellent musicians and amazing people during their time in BluesEd. Following all bands will be the traditional Senior Jam with 12 students performing!
Order of bands:
2:00 - 2:45 - Front and Center
3:00 - 3:45 - The Redwoods
4:00 - 4:45 - Voodoo Vinyl
5:00 - 5:45 - Far & Wide
6:00 - 6:45 - Us & Them
7:00 - 7:45 - Dilemma
7:55- Senior Jam
This event is FREE, yes...FREE! However, if you are under 18 and not attending with a parent, you will need to bring a notarized parental consent form found on the Waiting Room's website or click here.
We would highly encourage any young, talented musician from ages 12-17 to attend this event. Our bands play at some of the finest festivals and venues in town. We are a nationally recognized program for students to hone their skills as musicians and offer many opportunities to perform throughout the summer. Auditions for the 2017 season will be here before you know it!
Name: Neil Osborn
School: Graduate of Skutt High School
Instrument: Bass Guitar, Keyboard, Electric Guitar
College & Major: Iowa State University for Aerospace Engineering
How long in BluesEd: This is my first year in BluesEd.
How many years have you been playing: I've been playing piano since I was 7 years old. Guitar since I was 13. I actually picked up bass most recently but with my previous music knowledge I was able to learn quickly.
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: My favorite BluesEd workshop song has been Ain't No Sunshine. Its pretty straightforward on bass but taught me a lot about how to phrase my bass lines in a blues and jazz context. It has also come to mean a lot to each member of Dilemma and is now the song that I associate Anna with the most.
Favorite BluesEd moment: My favorite moment from BluesEd was after our OEAA concert which several other BluesEd bands participated in. The members of Dilemma that could stay out that night all watched the other artists perform. My favorite had to be Edem Soul Music. Her voice is truly amazing and she is a great Djembe player as well. Being able to perform with these other local acts was such a great opportunity that I am very thankful for.
Who is your favorite Blues artist? I'm not going to lie... I don't really listen to a lot of blues! I'm more of a jazz kind of (blue?) guy. Every modern genre certainly has blues elements though and one band that has caught my attention these last few years has been the Alabama Shakes. I was able to see them live when they came to the Stir Cove and I was blown away! They manage to fuse blues and indie rock in a much more passionate way than others.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: Music dominates my free time, whether it is writing, producing, or listening to new releases or live performances. Some of my favorite artists include Radiohead, Animal Collective, and BadBadNotGood. I probably practice on piano more than my other instruments, but I am always writing new music. I just released an ambient album on bandcamp that I've been working on for a while so if you're into that kind of thing you can check it out at https://neilosborn.bandcamp.com/releases
Name: Sheridan Macy
School: Millard West
Band: Us & Them
Instrument: Vocal, but also play bass
College & Major: UNL - Double Major in History and Global Studies with a minor in Spanish, and most likely Political Science and a second non-Western language (like Hindi or Arabic)
How long in BluesEd: 1 year
How many years have you been playing: Singing for as long as I can remember
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree or Woman Across the River
Who is your favorite Blues artist: Stevie Ray Vaughn and/or Tracy Chapman
Favorite BluesEd moment: Definitely playing at Jazz on the Green. I loved that set and it was a lot of fun to perform in front of that many people.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: I like to draw and read. I'm really into languages so I've been trying to teach myself Italian for a while. I also listen to a lot of music and I play ukulele.
Music brought us all together and now we turn to music to heal us.
On July 2nd, our dear Anna Jane Abbott, an 18 year old vocalist for our BluesEd band, Dilemma, passed away after an asthma attack led to cardiac arrest. Our hearts are completely broken. We want to honor Anna & help her family the best way we know how and that is through music.
Please join us for a very special concert on Sunday, July 24th for the Anna Abbott Benefit Concert at The 21st Saloon on 96th & L Street in Omaha. Music starts at 1:30. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Ten amazing bands performing including Anna's vocal coach, Susie Thorne with two of our BluesEd Clinicians, Ron Cooley and Carlos Figueroa. $5 cover and all proceeds from this event go to Anna's family to help with their final expenses. Hawks BBQ is catering and all net profits will go towards the family. The 21st Saloon is donating all net proceeds from bar sales to the family as well. We have some very special T-shirts, bracelets, temporary tattoos and stickers all for sale with all proceeds going to the family.
We have three goals for this event:
1) Celebrate Anna's life!
2) Raise awareness of the risks and dangers of asthma. To that end we have Dr. Linda Ford, national expert on asthma, speaking to our audience.
3) Make a significant financial contribution to the family through the proceeds of the concert to help them pay for their overwhelming medical and funeral expenses.
Line up for this event:
1:30 - The Redwoods
2:15 - Grace & Logan
3:00 - Far&Wide Blues
3:45 - The Beryllium Takeover
4:25 - Susie Thorne, Ron Cooley & Carlos Figueroa
4:55 - Dr. Linda Ford, National Asthma expert
5:05 - BluesEd Alumni band with Ben Curran, Camie Hemphill, Dain Armbrust &Kevin Fries
5:45 - Luke Heffron band
6:30 - Voodoo Vinyl
7:15 - Middle Folk
8:00 - Dilemma - Anna's band
Dr. Linda Ford, National Asthma expert, will be speaking at 4:55. Don't miss this very important education on the risks & dangers of asthma.
Please click on this link to learn more about our sweet, talented and beautiful Anna: Anna Jane Abbott
If you are unable to make the concert but would still like to contribute to the family, please click here: Helping Anna's family Heal.
Name: Michael Solberg
School: Lincoln Southwest
Band: Us & Them
College & Major: Music
How long in BluesEd: 3 years
How many years have you been playing: 9 years
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Woman Across the River
Favorite BluesEd moment: Playing with Fire
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: Basketball
This year our annual BluesEd Benefit Concert and fundraiser will be this Sunday, July 10th, at Alley V near Oak View Mall. We have plenty of room at Alley V for everyone to come out and see all six BluesEd bands, play games and go bowling. In addition, we will have many silent auction items and raffles. All donations at the door receive an Alley V play or bowl card for free. A portion of all food & drink sales at Alley V will go back to BluesEd so please plan on eating your meal at Alley V too.
Name: Ross Grieb
School: Elkhorn South
Band: Far & Wide
College & Major: UNL for Economics
How long in BluesEd: 1 year
How many years have you been playing: 8 years
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: I Wish
Who is your favorite Blues artist: He's not purely a blues guy, but Eric Johnson has has a big influence on my technique and sound. Of course, SRV, Robert Johnson, and BB King have also influenced my playing.
Favorite BluesEd moment: Definitely Jazz on the Green. The guys in the main act wer just so chill and easy to talk to, plus it's always fun to play for a big crowd.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: I lead my own indie rock band called The Whale Factory, we just released our first album in early May (available now on iTunes). I spend a lot of time reading, lifting and studying business.
It's finally here! We've been practicing for months and now we are ready to SHOW OFF at the BluesEd Showcase, Sunday, June 5th from 2 - 8:00 p.m. at The 21st Saloon on 96th & L Street in Omaha. This is a FREE show! And all ages!
Blistering hot music by BluesEd. Ice-cold drinks by 21st Saloon and mouth-watering BBQ by Hawks BBQ!
Order of performance:
Dilemma at 2:00
Us & Them Blues Band at 3:00
Voodoo Vinyl at 4:00
The Redwoods at 5:00
Far&Wide Blues at 6:00
Front & Center at 7:00
Name: Ethan Foxall
School: Brownell Talbot
Band: Us & Them
Possible College & Major (Or what you will be doing after high school): University of Nebraska at Lincoln for Premed
How Long in BluesEd: 4 years
How long have you been playing? I have played the drums since I was 8.
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Down in the Swamp
Favorite BluesEd moment:
Playing with Fire at it's new location at Mid-Town Crossing last summer. There was such a big crowd and then getting to jam with the Boogie Boys at Cantina Laredo afterwards was a so cool. They are so talented.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: I play golf, and the jazz band at school. I also sing in the choir and played football and swam.
We know you have many choices of worthy charities for #OmahaGives!, over 700 of them! But we would be so grateful for your donation to BluesEd. Our program works with young musicians and teaches them the art of Blues music while performing in a band. Currently our program boasts 44 students in 6 performance bands & 4 more in our Intern Program! To keep our tuition low we rely on fundraisers such as #OmahaGives. Simply click on the Donate Now button to be routed to the Omaha Gives website. Thank you for your continued support!_
Join us today, Sunday May 22nd, at the 21st Saloon from 4:30-8:30 for our Keep the Blues Alive Festival!
4:30 - Far & Wide
5:30 - Dilemma
6:30 - Us & Them
7:30 - Special Guests: The Navigators!
Enjoy live music while we raise money for our BluesEd program. We will be accepting donation via the Omaha Gives website at the door & throughout the night. Your donation is tax-deductible. The more donations we receive the better our chances of receiving bonus dollars from the Omaha Community Foundation. Please help us Keep the Blues Alive as we have done for 15 years!
If you can't make it today you can still schedule your donation and won't be charged until May 25th. Simply click on the DONATE NOW button here:
How can you help BluesEd during Omaha Gives!?
• Schedule a gift! For your convenience, you can schedule gifts right now! We encourage you to donate early if you cannot participate on May 25. Click here to make your donation: https://www.omahagives24.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=overview&fwID=1177
• Donate to us on May 25!
• Spread the word! Tell your friends that you will be giving to BluesEd during Omaha Gives! on May 25 and that you need their help.
• Post about Omaha Gives! on your social media pages. Let your friends and followers know how they can give and how their donations can help us win matching and prize funds.
• Cheer us on! On May 25, watch the leaderboard on OmahaGives24.org and update our progress on social media.
• Save the date. May 25, 2015 will be a great day of generosity in Omaha. Get excited and ready to share your enthusiasm for BluesEd throughout the day.
• Thank you for your ongoing support of BluesEd!
Name: Erin Mitchell
School: Millard North High School
Possible College & Major (Or what you will be doing after high school): After high school I will be moving to Arizona with my best friend to start my gen eds, travel, and record music.
How Long in BluesEd: 4 years
How long have you been playing? For as long as I can remember
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Down in the Swamp
Who is your favorite Blues artist: John Mayer
Favorite BluesEd moment: The moment when I had two girls come up to me after our performance at the Slowdown a few years ago and ask for a picture and autograph from me--it was so surreal
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: Painting, yoga, photography, writing, traveling.
BluesEd is proud to be participating in Omaha Gives! - a 24-hour charitable challenge organized by the Omaha Community Foundation. Mark your calendars for May 25th because we need your help! We will be joining over 700 local nonprofits to raise money together and compete for matching funds and prize money. Just click on the picture below to support BluesEd.
Thank you for your support!
Tips & Tricks:
Name: Thomas Palensky
School: Papillion-LaVista South High School
Band: Voodoo Vinyl
Instrument: Bass Guitar
Possible College & Major:
Metro Community College (Planning on going to UNO afterwards). Majoring in computer science.
How Long in BluesEd: Since Q1 of 2014
How long have you been playing? for about 6 years
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: Stevie Wonder - Signed Sealed Delivered
Who is your favorite Blues artist? Stevie Ray Vaughn
Favorite BluesEd moment:
Performing at Memphis, as well as jamming with other people from other bands
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: Jazz combo band Three Day Weekend, independent family band Mark Street Trio, home music studies and composition.
Omaha Gives: Keep the Blues Alive Festival
BluesEd is participating in Omaha Gives, a charitable giving day for non-profits, sponsored by the Omaha Community Foundation and American National Bank. Last year over 700 non-profits participated and over $8 million was raised! It was also our first year to participate in Omaha Gives and we exceeded our expectations and raised over $2000!
In an effort to bring more awareness to BluesEd & our participation in Omaha Gives we are hosting a "Keep the Blues Alive Festival" at The 21st Saloon on 96th & L in Omaha on Sunday, May 22nd starting at 4:30. We will have 3 BluesEd bands perform: Far & Wide, Dilemma & Us & Them and one Alumni band: The Navigators.
Our goal is to raise $4000 through donations during the actual day of Omaha Gives (May 25) but also through donations scheduled early. (Donations are now accepted at www.OmahaGives24.org.) The more donations we receive the greater our chances of receiving bonus dollars through the Omaha Community Foundation and Omaha Steaks. The minimum donation is $10.
Omaha Gives has become a vital part of our financial well-being. Thanks to donors through Omaha Gives and our own BluesEd fundraiser on July 10th we are able to keep our tuition low. Without these fundraisers we would not be able to purchase equipment, offer special clinics, maintain a website, or send a band to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. We appreciate your support!
Far & Wide: 4:30 - 5:15
Dilemma: 5:30 - 6:15
Us & Them: 6:30 - 7:15
The Navigators: 7:30 - 8:30
Name: Jeremy Boyd
School: Millard South High School
Band: Front and Center
Possible College & Major: Drury University in Springfield MO
How Long in BluesEd: 5 years
How long have you been playing? I have been playing the electric bass since I was 13 and the upright bass since I was in 4th grade.
What is your favorite BluesEd workshop song: This year, it is Broken World, but over the years I have enjoyed many different songs, my favorite would have to be Right As Rain.
Who is your favorite Blues artist? Jonny Lang
Favorite BluesEd moment: It would have to be playing Jazz on the Green, it was an amazing experience to be able to play in front of that many people.
Hobbies outside of BluesEd: I volunteer at Heartlight Choir, which is a choir for kids with developmental and physical disabilities. Other than that I enjoy doing tech (lights and set design) for the drama department, playing in the pit orchestra and hanging out with my friends when I'm not working at Runza.
The following article was printed in the March 2016 edition of the Blues Society of Omaha's Blues Notes. Students from the BluesEd band, Voodoo VInyl, played at the Youth Showcase as part of the International Blues Challenge in January. The band members then wrote about their experiences to share with the BSO and BluesEd.
VOODOO VINYL’S BEALE STREET ADVENTURE
CARMEL - Carmel’s first impression of Beale Street was, “Cool! The lights, the people, the energy it was all so awesome! I thought about all the legendary musicians that had performed there and made all the history happen on Beale Street. It was a really memorable experience for me.”
BILLY - It was a very cool experience. The opportunity to play and see so much blues was truly amazing. I especially enjoyed being able to play right on Beale St., right in the middle of all the action.
GABI - One of the most exciting parts of my year was to be a part of the youth showcase in Memphis. Not only the opportunity to play, but being able to experience International bands playing Blues was amazing. I met new people and played with some of the most talented artists in the Blues industry.
ELYSE - This has honestly just been one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. I may have been in the same room with my band over the span of 300 hours, but in the past 48 I’ve gotten to know them better than ever. Everyone here s so talented and kind and I’m just so grateful that Voodoo Vinyl has been given the opportunity to experience the IBC and all of the talents that engulf it.
GRAHAM - The Memphis trip was different from any other travel I have ever done. I stepped onto Beale Street and I was immediately immersed into an entirely new way of life. A community based on feeling and emotion, rather than geographical location or religious values. I’ve played blues music for a while, but I had never experienced Blues on the Beale Street level before. People came together from all over the country, and all over the world, to communicate in a mutual language that only Blues lovers will understand.
My favorite moment would probably have to be Gabi’s solo in the introductory information session and student jam. I know that people back in Omaha freak out about her incredible talent, and with good reason, but watching the international crowd go just as crazy over that talent was extremely pride-
ful to me. I know we have a lot of incredible talent within all of our band members, but going up on a world stage, against the best of the best in the entire world, and still receiving praise above and beyond the norm; that was really special. Cole also killed it in all of his Jams, as well as the others who participated.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible for Voodoo Vinyl as a band and as a group of individual student musicians.
First, thank you to the BluesEd Program. You put together a bunch of misfits with a taste for what middle and high school students see as “unpopular music” and gave us the opportunity to learn and grow, and succeed. You saw po-
tential in all of us, and trust me; I’ve heard stories from some of them about their “awful” auditions. Thank you for choos-
ing Voodoo Vinyl to represent this amazing program. We hope that we represented the program well.
Secondly, I would like to thank the Blues Society of Omaha, for sponsoring Voodoo Vinyl at the festival. All bands, youth or professional needed a sponsor in order to participate in the festival, and we are extremely fortunate to have an active group of people that are interested in the development of the next generation of blues musicians. We could not
have made it there without your belief in us. Your support motivates us all to be better musicians and promoters of the
Thirdly, I would like to thank our fans. Without you we are nothing but seven kids with a passion. You inspire us, you give us the opportunities, and you push us to continually get better. We hope to continue to provide the entertainment you enjoy, and all of the things we’ve taken away from the Memphis trip should improve us that much more, individually and as a whole.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the parents of every band member. Your support throughout the years has been instrumental
in the development of our talents. You paid for instruments, you paid for lessons, you drove us to and from rehearsals
and gigs; you are the ones who should be most credited with our success. Especially as a youth band, parent involvement is an extremely important dynamic to have, and one that can mess up good, talented groups. We are so fortunate to have the best parents in the world by our sides, guiding us on our path to success.
Thank you, Graham Brooks
PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE ON VOODOO VINYL’S BIG ADVENTURE TO THE IBC
Beale Street, Memphis, TN, Jan 26-30, 2016
The parents of Voodoo Vinyl band members that were fortunate enough to be able to go to Memphis for the Youth
Showcase at the International Blues Challenge had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are very grateful to the Blues Society of Omaha and BluesEd program for the support they provided to our sons, daughters, and families. We are also most appreciative to the 21st Saloon for setting up the pre-trip gig for Voodoo Vinyl to further hone their Beale Street set. It is difficult to sum up our feelings from this amazing trip to one of the top places of musical convergence in the world, but we’ll give it a shot in the form of a “Top 10” list
(and obviously we still needed more than 10!).
#13 - Quickly realizing that the IBC event was really well organized and the environment was very safe for the youth
#12 - Finding one of your favorite artists on the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame (e.g., Sam & Dave, The Blues Broth-
#11 - Two words: Ribs @ Rendezvous
#10 - Taking an afternoon break from the lively current scene on Beale Street, some toured the Gibson guitar factory, while others soaked in blues, soul, and other uniquely-Memphis history & memorabilia at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
#9 - Hearing one of the IBC lead organizers express utmost admiration for the health of the Blues Society of Omaha and its BluesEd program!
#8 - No matter where you wandered, sensational blues music filled the air (inside and out) around this incredible gath-
ering of extraordinary talent at the IBC!
#7 – The lead singer of Markey Blue (with whom Voodoo Vinyl played at Playing With Fire) remembered “the great horn
band” from Omaha.
#6 - Meeting fun people from all over the world, finding out what band they were in, then later seeing just how extremely talented they were on stage!
#5 – Hey, we got to watch our kids jam on multiple stages on and near the one and only Beale Street!
#4 – Simply having the opportunity for the band and parents to relax, have fun, and enjoy a real bonding experience to-
gether – we’ll never forget it.
#3 - Supporting the Hector Anchondo Band, watching them set the stage of the packed Jerry Lee Lewis Café & HonkyTonk absolutely ON FIRE! Then the next evening, the whole Hector Anchondo Band was cheering on Voodoo Vinyl at the Blues City Café (and let us tell ya, “we” really rocked!).
Congrats to the Hector Anchondo Band for making it to the finals! No small achievement given there were 121 bands full of talent! Omaha rocked Memphis: BSO! BSO! BSO!
#2 – When gig time finally came, Voodoo Vinyl truly nailed their set with precision, flair, and confidence! Watching the glowing reaction from the packed crowd of fellow musicians was truly heartwarming.
And... #1 - Watching our sons and daughters have a great time with each other, strolling up and down Beale Street
“band only”... priceless.
- The parents of Voodoo Vinyl
Please see a very special "Alumni Advice" column below from Khayman Winfield who is Hector Anchondo's drummer. The Hector Anchondo band was in the finals at the International Blues Challenge this past January. It is the first time any band from Nebraska has made it to the finals. Khayman's comments are absolutely golden and worth reading and re-reading by BluesEd students.
A little behind the scene comment here, Khayman had just had a severe house fire the night before I contacted him to write this column. Even though his living situation and practice facility was in complete turmoil, Khayman still took the time to write this tremendous piece of advice for our students. You are one classy human being Khayman! We wish you the best.
Name: Khayman Winfield
Band: When I started in the Youth Artist Development Project, we didn't have a band name, when it became BluesEd and we named the bands, I was in The Blues Wanderers and the other band was The Side Effects.
Years in BluesEd: I started in BluesEd before it was even BluesEd, it was the Youth Artist Development Project (2001) and there was only one band back then. 3 guitarists, me, one singer and the guy who started the program, Doug Baker, played bass. I believe I was 10 when I started and 17 when I left the program.
Any Current Music Projects: Right now, I am in the Hector Anchondo Band touring nationally.
What was your Favorite BluesEd moment: My favorite Blues Ed moment was really a collection of moments. We used to get to open Playing with Fires down on the river and I was lucky enough to get to open and share the same stage as Johnny Winter, Malford Milligan and other incredible musicians. The times we had running around Playing with Fire with members of the different bands and our friends, I will never forget! By far, some of the fondest memories of my childhood!
What advice would you give to current BluesEd students: As far as advice I would give, STICK WITH IT!!! Don't get discouraged because you play a bad show, or have a bad solo. No one plays the perfect show every show, the trick is being able to mess up and roll with it. Mistakes are going to happen, they are inevitable! How you play through it and how you show it are the things that set apart rookies from pros.
Also, don't take your time in BluesEd for granted! Every single musician and person around you, you CAN learn from. The lessons I learned in BluesEd have been INVALUABLE to me in my music career AND in life. Thanks to BluesEd, I had a HUGE jump on people who weren't in the program on understanding how to jam with people, how to play with other musicians, how to be professional on and off stage at shows (because believe it or not, people DO notice how you act off stage), how to play with dynamics and MANY other things. Always think about this, does it make the song better or does it make me sound more impressive? It should ALWAYS be about the song. What can you do to make the song better?
I cannot stress how much my time in BluesEd has helped me further my musical career beyond the program!! Pay attention when you're in workshops, even if the clinician isn't talking to you. You never know what you may be able to learn! But above all else, enjoy every second of it! You will never get this time in your life back. Enjoy every show and every practice! The memories that you're making now will fuel you through any tough times you may have in life or your musical career.
On March 6th, BluesEd held it's Kick-Off Meeting for the 2016 season with our largest group of students ever in the program. We now have 44 students in 6 performance bands and several more students in our Intern program.
Introducing our BluesEd Class of 2016!
Apologies to the few students who were missing from the BluesEd group photo: Gabi, Jeremy, Ross, Sam, Michael, Jack & Nathan.
These students are all new to BluesEd this year. Welcome to BluesEd!
We are excited to have you join us.
Students and parents had a chance to hear from BluesEd Directors about the upcoming performances & expectations for BluesEd this season. Additionally, BluesEd Clinicians, Ron Cooley and Carlos Figueroa spoke to the BluesEd students regarding their expectations this year. Ron instructed students on the importance of charting music. Carlos spoke to students on practices, performances and workshops. Hope everyone took great notes from our experienced & talented Clinicians. Our BluesEd students and parents also had a chance to hear from one of their own, Graham Brooks on Voodoo Vinyl's experience at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January. Graham spoke from his heart about how attending the IBC was an amazing experience for him & his band. See more about Voodoo Vinyl's experience here: BluesEd blog.
Thanks to all of the BluesEd students and parents for your attendance and attention at the Kick-Off Meeting. Now, let's get this party started!
Photo credit: Paul Hawkins.