The Blues Project 2014 edition might have been the best ever. Let me state my case - First, we had the amazing Greg Guy from Legend's running sound. Not only was this guy amazingly nice and easy to work with, but he knew his stuff and the sound was the best its ever been. Second, for the first time, we had elementary students join us this year. 5th graders from Northview teamed up with Northview alumni (and current VHS sophomores) to collaborate on This Little Light of Mine. Wow - you should have been there. Third, we had amazing guest musicians - Gerry Hundt, Tina Guess, Fruteland Jackson, Planetary Blues Band, Mayor Jon Costas, Rocco Calapari Jr. and Sr., and McGuffin. Unique and memorable performances, all of them. Third, for the first time, we had students from the VHS jazz program, headed by Miguel Rosario, join us. In fact, they opened the show with an amazing rendition "Go Down Moses," which really kicked things off right. Forth, there were fantastic student performances; I loved the backup girls on Respect, Julia Fink's vocal on Keep your Eyes on the Prize, Logan Conrick's blues guitar licks, and I could just go on and on. And lastly, the story of the Civil Rights movement was powerful and vivid. What an amazing story of triumph and inspiration, and to realize how important music was in making it happen just made each performance, for me at least, hit a little deeper in my soul. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it happen and everyone who came out to the show.
Check out the write up in ValpoLife about this year's concert: http://www.valpolife.com/entertainment/tv-movies-music/39972-blues-project-salutes-history-and-young-talent
Dress Rehearsal will be at Valparaiso High School from 5:30pm – 8:30 on Friday, March 15th. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE THERE AT 5:30 so I can talk to everyone about how they are to enter the stage, where they need to be before their song, etc. Once all your songs have been rehearsed, you may go. Keep in mind that since this is the high school. Everyone must respectfully remain in the auditorium during rehearsal and not be wandering the halls. Everyone who is part of the show (stagehands, vocalists, instrumentalists, etc.) must attend. This rehearsal will follow the same song order that the show will on Saturday. Please refer to the list below to know when your song will be performed. You may leave after all your songs are completed. If you are not present for your song, you will be replaced on Saturday. Be sure that when you come on stage that your instrument is tuned to a tuner and ready to go. If you are a guitarist, also bring a guitar cable. We will play the songs in the order that it will performed on Saturday, which is listed below, but actually dressing up is not necessary. There are no mandatory dress rules for the show, but a good rule of thumb is to look classy.
During the concert, you should make your way backstage two songs before you go on, and check in with Mrs. Stipp to let her know you are there. There are only three places you should be during the show – on stage, backstage, or in a seat. You should not be wandering back and forth through the hallways during the show. After your performances are done, FIND A SEAT and enjoy the show.
Arrive at the High School at 6:15 on Saturday for the show. The doors will open to the public at 6:00 so arrive a little early to avoid a pile up at the main entrance. It will be a long night and there is not food available, so be sure to eat before you come, or bring a snack if you need it.
Things are sounding very good. Its crunch time, so be sure that you’re really practicing your songs and listening to them everyday. You should know them like the back of your hand. We will have music stands available during the show, so realize that you don’t have to memorize anything if you don’t want to, but be sure to bring your own music if you need it. If you have any questions about anything or need to practice your part, etc., don’t hesitate to find me sometime during the school day (I can always write you a late pass to your next class, so don’t hesitate to come down to room 005 between classes), or email me at email@example.com
Song Order for Dress Rehearsal
1. Go Down Moses
2. I Shall Not Be Moved
3. Strange Fruit
4. Uncle Sam Says
5. Black, Brown and White
6. Death of Emmitt Till
7. Alabama Bus
8. Why (Am I Treated So Bad?)
9. The Welcome Table
10. Waiting for My Child to Come
11. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
12. Ride on Red
13. This May Be the Last Time
14. Alabama Song
15. A Change is Gonna Come
16. In the Mississippi River
17. This Little Light of Mine
18. Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
19. People Get Ready
21. Crying in the Streets
22. We Shall Overcome
One of my favorite parts of the Blues Project each year is the poster design. We have a school wide contest to see whose artwork might represent the theme the best. Honestly, I'm always surprised at how few submissions we get, but there always seems to be one or two that really stand out. And from there, Zach Hall (who also plays a mean guitar, by the way), puts it through photo shop and "posterizes" it, if you will. Inevitably, I'm amazed at what we we end up with. This year was no different. The poster contest winner was 8th grader Emma Adams, whose vivid, colored-pencil artwork rose to the top. After Zach worked his magic on it, here's the final design. I love how it captures the Civil Rights theme of the music this time around. And I especially love the signs the protesters are holding. They are the "I Am a Man" posters from the sanitation workers strike in Memphis that Martin Luther King Jr was attending when he was assassinated. I love the pith of the slogan, the way it places you at a significant moment in history, and, of course, its similarity to the Bo Diddley/Muddy Waters tune, "I'm a Man." Dig it. Share it.