One of the Most Active Blues Education Programs of Any Blues Society in the Country
Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) has one of the most active Blues Education programs of any Blues society in the United States. Each year, MVBS plans and coordinates four to nine weeks of Blues in the Schools (BITS).
A typical week-long residency includes 10-12 performances and workshops in schools, libraries, and/or community centers in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. Each artist also provides an open-to-the-public presentation for all ages. All performances are free and expose a wide array of our community to the rich history, heritage, and sounds of Blues music.
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Photo by Peggy Brisbane
Photo by The Free Lance-Star
Photo by Joel Beeson
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Photo by Robbie Mendelson
Photo by Gary Collver
Photo by Alain Hiot
Some of the artist residencies who have participated in 10-12 performances and workshops in schools include:
David "Honeyboy" Edwards, John Jackson, Billy Branch, Henry Butler, Willie King and the Alabama Blues Project, Hawkeye Herman, Rev. Robert Jones, Rich DelGrosso, Fruteland Jackson, Dave Berntson, Tas Cru, Kevin Burt, and Bruce Katz.
Blues in the Schools
Learn what the most important critics of our efforts have to say
Quotes from students and teachers who have attended one of our blues education programs.
"He demonstrated his love of music. I appreciated how he interacted with the students, really listening to their questions and trying to make a connection with them. One of my favorite parts was his closing remark to the students, That anyone can make music, so it might as well be them."
"I really liked this experience because I learned about music history. I also learned a little bit about Memphis where my dad’s family lives. I got to talk with my family about this, it also inspired my friend and I to learn guitar and harmonica. Thank you. Especially Rev Robert Jones Sr."
"Thank you for all you do and for bringing blues musicians into our schools! The students and teachers are always inspired by the musicians you bring!"
"I like the way he moved from one thing to the next and I really like that he knew a lot and the fact that he could play various instruments. Thank you for coming!"
"Thank you for bringing Robert Jones to our school. I enjoyed when he played music on the fiddle. I thought he made really good music with all the instruments he played. Thank you."
"My favorite part was when he was playing the violin and the guitar. I really enjoyed that he played the instruments. I valued that he is important. I noticed he played really good."
"My favorite thing about the show was when you rapped and you sing very nice and you’re a very good rapper, Mr. Rev Robert Jones. I noticed how you would acted like Elvis. But my most favorite part was when you said the bulldog song."
"My favorite part was when Mr. Jones was rapping. I really enjoyed when he was talking about different music. I valued when he made a song for his daughter."
"I really enjoyed the show that he put on. I learned someone stuff about music. One of my favorite parts was when he was doing the song “Wade in the Water.” I also likes the part when he played the banjo and how he said it was homemade."
"I really like how Rev. Robert Jones could play many instruments at once. Sometimes dance! I did learn how music isn’t just something you listen to but there is a lot of culture behind it. Thank you so much for letting him come to our school!"
"Robert Jones was very funny and made the performance very entertaining; I liked Mr. Robert’s passion for music; I loved the harmonica part and was shocked when he said he played it for 43 years!"
Some highlights from our decades of fostering greater public appreciation through education.
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