I was asked by Taltree Arboretum to help put together a elementary workshop that highlighted music and nature for elementary campers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lake and Porter County. Day campers were bused into the Arboretum and spent four hours learning about music, art, and nature while experiencing the beautiful piece of earth at Taltree. The kids rotated through various stations where they learned a couple chords on the ukulele, learned how to blow a harmonica, made a egg shaker, learned how to write a blues song, participated in Call and Response singing, and make a music video. It was great fun, and at the end of the day, all the campers got to go home with a harmonica, and egg shaker, and a few lucky campers who got their name pulled from our raffle took home a colorful ukulele as well. Thanks to Ellen Kapitan and everyone at Taltree for organizing this workshop and all my Blues Project instructors for their hard work throughout the day.
The Blues Project ventured to Chicago's Millennium Park to rock the 2017 Blues Fest this year! This year was the first year that the world's largest free Blues Festival was moved to Millennium Park from Grant Park, and it was a great location. We were invited to play on the Blues Village Stage, which was a scenic location with some Roman Pillars behind us and a pleasant breeze that kept our smokin' hot musicians nice and cool. Many thanks to Fernando Jones and the Blues Kids Foundation for inviting us to play and for their gracious hospitality.
The Blues Project was honored to be a part of a really cool "Connected Paint" event at Central Park to celebrate Valparaiso's new Heavilin Elementary School! In addition to the food, music, and fun, Heavinlin students and families painted small square canvases that were then put together to form a huge Heavilin Logo. ABC 7 Chicago covered the event for the evening news, and you can check it out here: abc7chicago.com/2059918/
The Blues Project had the distinct privilege to open up for alt-country pioneers, the Bottle Rockets at the historic Memorial Opera House in downtown Valparaiso last Saturday night in a benefit for Respite House, a halfway house for substance abuse victims in Porter County. Maybe it was because everybody was there for such a noble cause. Maybe it was because we were super stoked about seeing the Bottle Rockets. Maybe it because It was close to sold out. Maybe it was because we had a great group of kids onstage that were really gelling. I don't know exactly why, but it was one of the most fun concerts I've ever been a part of. The crowd was really enthused and supportive, and it was just a good night all the way around. Here's hoping we can do it again next year. Do yourself a favor and check out the good work that is being done at Porter County's Respite House, and some of the photos from the evening's performance below.
The Blues Project was lucky enough to participate in WVLP's annual "Stars Over Valpo" concert at the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts last Sunday evening. Julia Fink, Ollie Grcich, and Kelsey Minko delivered a stirring rendition of the traditional spiritual "Now Let Me Fly" alongside some of the best musical talent in the region including Chad Clifford, Jim Chaddock, Brant Vogel, The Code Names and many more. It was a great show that we were honored to be a part of. Thanks to everyone at WVLP 103.1 FM!
It was a great night at Chesterton High School this auditorium this past Saturday as the Blues Project presented their 2017 Concert finale, a celebration of Black History in the Mississippi Delta. I couldn't be more pleased with the hospitality of CHS and their staff who welcomed us into their facilities with open arms. By all accounts, it was the best sounding Blues Project that we have put on, and props must be given to our great sound man, Greg Guy, and the work of Zach Hall, who also worked tirelessly to get things dialed in. Thanks to Mr. Kenworthy, Mrs. Saavedra, Mr. Yeager, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and everyone else who helped to make this year's Blues Project concert finale a huge success. From what might have been our best Field Holler ever, to Lucas Hallal's soulful rendition of Muddy Waters's "Rollin' Stone," to a moving performance of "The Death of Emmett Till" by Amanda Allen and Cameron Basile, it was a night filled with powerful stories and perfomances. Our historical "tour guide" for the evening was Rensselaer Central High School history teacher, Dan Hawthorne, who helped bring the music and personalities of the Mississippi Delta to life. Be sure to check out the write up and photo gallery from Valpo Life:
It was a real treat to sit and talk with Ang (Jim Anderson from the Chicago Kingsnakes) this week for an upcoming episode of his radio show, "Confessin' the Blues" on Lakeshore Public Radio 89.1fm, WLPR. It will air this Friday night at midnight and can be streamed from their website http://lakeshorepublicradio.org/.
Be sure to check out the treasure trove of past episodes with some of the best blues artists in the region at
http://lakeshorepublicradio.org/programs/confessin-blues. Thanks, Ang!!
The Blues Project had a blast performing on the Living it Up radio show on WVLP tonight! Thanks to John King and everyone at 103.1 FM for inviting us on, and giving these kids the experience of live radio. If you missed it, you can tune in this Tuesday night (2/28/17) at 10pm on 103.1 FM (or stream live @ https://www.wvlp.org/) to hear a rebroadcast of the show.
The Blues Project house band will be performing at Four Fathers on Sat., October 22 from 3-5 as part of their 2016 Viking Funeral release party. Come early and stay late to enjoy one of the finest craft breweries in the region. Four Fathers is located at 1555 W. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN.