Photo: Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
Since Billy Branch’s first Blues in Schools Program in Chicago thirty years ago, he has delivered his empowering curriculum to students all over the world. For example, the Ford Foundation funded a 2 week program in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico to demonstrate the common legacy of African-American and African-Mexican cultural roots.
Billy Branch's Blues in Schools interactive program provides students with the opportunity to:
*Develop collaboration & teamwork skills
*Cultivate multi-cultural appreciation
*Enhance their creative expression
*Practice their writing skills
*Broaden their horizons
*Explore their musical interests & aptitudes
*Interact with world class musicians
*Increase their understanding of American History
After writing original songs, learning old Blues standards and developing musical performance skills, the students perform at a local festival or venue with Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues!
Photo: Indianola, Mississippi
Billy Branch spent two weeks in Mississippi teaching 1500 students to play the BB KING SPECIAL on harmonica. On the day of the grand opening of the BB KING MUSEUM, over a thousand students from neighboring towns met at the Indianola High School. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, Billy led the students down the streets of Indianola to the BB KING MUSEUM, playing their harmonicas the whole way! What a way to honor the KING of the BLUES!
BIS students learn to play drums, bass, guitar and piano in long term residencies. The students learn from world class performing musicians.
Photo: Owuor with Macklemore & Ryan
Another Blues in Schools alum who has exploded into the big time is Owuor Arunga. Even at 12 years of age he was a stand out trumpet player and song writer. Now he graces the stage with international sensation Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Whether it's the American Music Awards, the Grammy Awards or Billboard Magazine, these guys deliver with both passion and social consciousness.
Blues in Schools alum, DeAndre Enrico teamed up with another former Blues in Schools student, Ayron Jones to form A.J. and the Way, a hard hitting Blues rock band making waves with original tunes like, Baptized in Muddy Waters" giving reference to their Blues Roots. More on them at: http://www.ajandtheway.com/
Now these cats are full grown musicians playing to sold out crowds!