Winter Blues Program / Home Grown Blues Musicians

I know I say this all the time, but I think it needs to be said often: the Quad Cities is pumping out some pretty impressive musicians.
Five hundred people witnessed this phenomenon just a couple of weeks ago at the Village Theater when the QC Rock Academy bands battled. On Saturday 12/30/17, you can see for yourself that the Blues is alive and well - thanks to the folks at the River Music Experience and about 19 young people in three bands.

This will be my 4th year documenting the Winter Blues concert, and my 3rd year of documenting winter break program bands during rehearsal. This year at the opening, Bret Dale spoke to the group, welcoming the returning students and all the new faces as well. He challenged them to try new things, like perhaps trying a new instrument. The youth involved this year had a wide range of experience, from beginners to veteran students nearing the end of their time with the program. The instructors took these things into consideration as they put together the three bands that would work together throughout the week.

I spent 3 days out of the week at the RME this week. It's really a pleasure to hear music coming from various spaces around the building as the bands built their set lists for Saturday's concert. Sometimes the bands played together - at other times, I would peek in a room and see instructors and helpers offering students one-on-one instruction to help them learn their parts. Some students stepped up to the challenge and tried new instruments.

I can say without hesitation that the concert Saturday evening at 6 PM will be very, very good. You'll hear blues standards and the results of the kids' hard work this week. And there will even be a few surprises.

I think Ellis Kell would be proud of the work going on at the RME. And the Blues will live on.