BITS

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bis fruteland 2003 Ballenger Creek Middle School

Fruteland Jackson performing at Ballenger Creek Middle School

Why We Do the BITS Presentations:
The Blues are an American art form and an important part of our country's heritage, born in the South during a time when people were not all treated as equals. The music reflects a dark time in our nation's growth, yet it also shows the ability of the human spirit to find ways to overcome and express itself in a way that reveals a deeper truth. By teaching about the origins of the Blues and focusing on common ground we can find in the music, the BITS presentations offer a unique way to introduce the history woven into the music as well.

In-School Blues Presentations:
This program brings accomplished area Blues musicians into local schools to educate students about the history and significance of Blues music. There is no charge to the schools, because BITS is funded by money raised at Frederick Blues Society events throughout the year, with some additional funding from grants and donations.

A BITS presentation lasts about an hour and can be performed in an auditorium, a classroom, or any space large enough to accommodate the audience and musician. The presentation usually starts with a song, but the musician will also talk about what makes the music, the chords and progressions of 12-bar Blues music, and the musicians who created the art form. There is usually also time allotted for questions from students. Because the BITS program is free for the school, we can take presentations to all schools including, suburban private schools, rural public schools, orphanage schools, vocational institutions, or any other educational establishment that requests the program and reach a wide spectrum of students.

Young People Playing the Blues:
Students at BITS presentations in the schools began asking the musicians how they could learn to play that kind of music. The BITS program encourages and helps them find mentors/teachers and this part of the Blues in the Schools program has become an integral part of how the Society is working to keep the Blues alive. Some of the BITS kids have taken their music to the next level, playing out with others at several area restaurants and special events. People there often tell us how wonderful it is to see talented young people performing and so clearly enjoying playing traditional Blues music.

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