Keeping the Future of the Blues Alive

On Friday, December 30 at 6 PM, the Redstone Room will be host to the Winter Blues Jam. This event is the culmination of a week’s worth of workshops and rehearsals for area youth (ages 8-18) who came to the River Music Experience to learn about the Blues.

Hal Reed and Bret Dale headed up this year’s Winter Blues week, with local musicians coaching and instructing the 4 groups of young musicians in their bands and as a large group for workshops on various aspects of music. The absence of Ellis Kell was noticed – but not in the quality of the learning experience. The Winter Blues staff dug in with a determination that they would carry Kell’s dream forward. They have done so with a grace and reverence that would make Ellis proud.

Reed and Dale both spoke of the loss and change with the group at the beginning of the first day. They wanted the students to know that this was Ellis Kell’s favorite time of year, with Winter Blues as his favorite of the RME’s programming. Winter Blues was designed to create the future for Blues music, helping keep the Blues alive. Now Dale, Reed and others will pick up that torch and carry it forward.

Dale worked closely with Kell for the past few years, and not only learned from Ellis but also has new ideas for expanding the RME Outreach. Since Ellis Kell’s passing, former students and other local musicians have stepped forward and offered to help fill the gap. The River Music Experience and its educational programs are integral in keeping music education alive in the QC area. Expect to see some changes in the RME's Ambassador program in the coming months.

So head on down to the RME on Friday. The future of Blues will be stepping on the Redstone Room stage at 6 PM. Word has it there may be a demonstration put on by some of the Winter Blues Alumni this year. Tickets are $5 at the door. Think of your entry price as a donation towards music education for area children, and our musical future... as that is exactly what it is.