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 band members.
#12 - Finding one of your favorite artists on the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame (e.g., Sam & Dave, The Blues Brothers).
#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 gathering 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 together – 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