There's Max with his harmonica, his new best music-making friend, thanks to the Alabama Blues Project Summer camp. I can't say enough about this experience.
The CS Monitor carried an article describing the Alabama Blues Project as a "change agent", and we are inclined to agree. And add our own exclamation points. Here's the background:
The Alabama Blues Project was co-founded by Bond in 1995 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It is now a nonprofit group directed by Paula Demonbruen. This year, it began providing instruction in five Tuscaloosa after-school programs, in addition to its blues club for children and programs in other schools in Alabama.
In July Ms. Demonbruen led the annual summer Blues Camp in Tuscaloosa. Former camper Jonathan Blakney, 20, came back to help teach.
"It comes out of African music," he says of the blues. "Some of the African beats and rhythms survive."
Field hollers, spirituals, work songs, simple ballads, and shout and chants were among the 19th-century forms that evolved into the blues.
Mr. Blakney and Blues Project program director Cara Lynn Teague describe how early blues players made homemade instruments. Wires were hung on a wall to create a stringed instrument, a plow handle attached to a washtub and strung with rope became a washtub bass, and tobacco tins were used to create a harmonica-like instrument.
At the summer camp, the children learn about specific blues musicians. Lowell Jeff, 13, gives a report. "This is about Microwave Dave," he says. "His first gig was in a local church in Texas."
You can hear blueswoman Hattie B. clapping just behind us- she's been part of the Tuscaloosa blues community for a long time and she made no secret about how much she enjoyed this event.
Thanks to the inspiring art teachers which worked with the kids on visual representations, the walls were of the performance hall were lined with self-made album covers for each of the music artists present.
Here's Maggie Slough's amazing self-portrait.
Max poses with his awesome album cover.
Max's band warms up for their performance.
Yes, we're going to do it again- and again... for the incredible combo of local history, music, and art. Max is still nagging me to sign him up for the fall session, and homeschoolers who have an interest should contact Cara because I know they are currently planning to work with homeschoolers more, and our excitement makes a good incentive. The website is mere mouse-click away.