fyi...the Alabama Blues Project web site is at http://www.alabamablues.org/
--aj wright // ajwright@...
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 2:02 PM
Subject: [AlabamaFolklife] Alabama Blues Project Update, May 9, 2002
Dear Blues Fans:
It has been a very productive first quarter of the year for the Alabama
In January Blues Camp kids had a reunion blues workshop in Tuscaloosa led by
Ryan Reardon, Jessie Suttle and Big Bo McGee. Students came from Tuscaloosa
Housing Authority and The Boys and Girls club.
Big Bo McGee, played a Martin Luther King celebration sponsored by the
Covenant Presbyterian church. Tragically this turned out to be his last
performance. We lost our dear friend, regular ABP featured performer and
teacher on March 3rd. The Alabama blues community came together for a full
show of support. The Alabama Blues Society and the Alabama Blues Project
collaborated in fundraising and held a benefit concert toward Big Bo's
funeral expenses. The show featured Eddie Kirkland, Microwave Dave and the
Nukes, Kent Duchaine, Candy Shines, Tommy Gardner, Little Lee, Debbie Bond,
Gary Edmonds, and Todd Johnson and close to 2,000 dollars was raised.
Also in March, Eddie Kirkland worked with the Alabama Blues Project band to
present a Blues in the Schools program at Abrams Elementary in Bessemer
(Tommy Gardner: bass; Jessie Suttle: Drums; Debbie Bond: guitar; Ryan
Reardon: Harmonica). Little Lee was the featured performer at the blues in
the school program presented at Hayneville Elementary in Montgomery (with
Frank Jordan: bass; Jessie Suttle: drums; Debbie Bond: guitar; and Ryan
Reardon on Harmonica).
April was a busy month beginning with a school program at Brooks Elementary
in Killen, Alabama. Little Lee was the feature performer with the ABP band
(Eric Simmons: bass; Jessie Suttle: Drums; Debbie Bond: guitar; Ryan
The ABP then presented three days of blues programs at the First Lady's
Children's Arts Festival to thousands of students from around the state of
Alabama who do not regularly have arts programing as part of their regular
school curriculum. Students were exposed to some of the most of exciting
innovative arts and education workshops which included, sculpture, folk art,
ron work, African dance and of course blues music. We were blessed again to
be able to feature Alabama blues legend Eddie Kirkland as well as Little Lee
and the ABP band (Tommy Gardner: bass: Annette Labreque Keyboard: John
Scalaci: drums, Gary Edmonds and Debbie Bond: guitar).
In May we have one more Blues in the Schools program in Montgomery at
Highland Gardens Elementary featuring Little Lee (Frank Jordan: Bass, Jessie
Suttle: Drums: Debbie Bond: guitar and Ryan Reardon: harmonica). This will
our last program with Ryan who is going on to a full time teaching post.
miss him and very thankful for his contribution to the ABP over the last
These blues in the schools programs were made possible through the State
Council Rural School Touring Program. We especially thank the Arts Council
for the continued difference they have made in the lives of artists and
students throughout the state.
May 17 the ABP will be presenting Little Jimmy Reed, (Ardie Dean: drums;
Tommy Gardner: Bass; Annette Labreque: keyboards; Debbie Bond: guitar) at
Birmingham's City Stages 2002.
We are also excited about presenting J. W. Warren 82 year old country blues
guitar player from Ariton. J. W. jammed and performed with teenage
blowing Big in Ariton, Alabama, where she was born. This performance will be
from 7:00-8:30 on Friday, May 17th at Birmingham's City Stages.
We are excited to connect with blues drummer John Scalici who has been
working hard and developing and implementing wonderful percussion workshops
with at risk students, cancer patients and children with autism. John has
also a wide range experience as a touring blues drummer and worked with the
Memphis blues in the schools programs. He has also received extensive
training in African drumming and various innovative art therapy techniques
and utilizing the healing power of music. We are lucky he moved back to
Alabama and has been working with the ABP since the beginning of the year.
Of course now we are gearing up for our Summertime Blues Camp. The camp will
be held in July and students will have the opportunity to learn harmonica,
guitar, bass, singing and percussion. This year's camp will also include a
story telling and folk art component. The latter will be taught by folk
artist Lonnie Holly. We are still fund raising for this so please help by
sending your tax deductible donations to:
The Alabama Blues Project Inc.
2620 2nd Street E
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
Every little bit will help make this happen. Presently we have support from
the Alabama State Council on the Arts and Mercedes Benz International.
However, we still have not all funds we need in place. Your support will be
greatly appreciated. The program will reach children from the Tuscaloosa
Housing Authority, the Tuscaloosa Boys and Girls club as well as children
from the wider community. The students will of course perform and exhibit
their blues art. We will keep you posted as the summer camp unfolds.
Have a wonderful summer!
Warm regards from
The Alabama Blues Project
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