Educational Programs

Educational Programs

MBS works with local organizations to provide blues music materials, present educational programs and provide scholarship funding.

Scholarship Funding 

In 2018, MBS raised funds for this scholarship at our Bowling & Brews event.  MBS volunteers contacted the Madison High School Music Departments for potential scholarship recipients and eventually picked Anthony from East High School. The music director had identified Anthony as a student who was quite dedicated and could truly benefit from additional guitar lessons.

Bill Roberts and Scholarship Student Anthony

Bill Roberts provided 14 half-hour private lessons for Anthony, paid for with the proceeds of our fundraising drive.  Anthony’s mother was very grateful for this opportunity for her son.  As it turned out, they live so close that Anthony could walk there.  Thank you to all the Bowling and Brews participants, and especially to Bill Roberts, for making this happen.

“The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits. It’s better keeping the roots alive, because it means better fruits from now on. The blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues.”~ Willie Dixon (1915–1992)

In 2015, as part of the Blues Kids program at the Packer Community Learning Center, MBS paid for drum lessons for a 5-year old boy with local drummer, Rand Moore, a long time MBS supporter and owner of Drums N’ Moore.

Blues in the Library – Donations of blues-related materials

MBS makes yearly donations to the Madison Public Library for the purchase of Blues-related materials. Examples include the “2003 Year of the Blues” DVD & CD series, “The Blues  Project ” DVD & VHS film, “The Blues” DVD box set, “A Musical Journey” (a 5 CD Deluxe box set), “Best of the Blues” (a 21 single CD Compilation) and the “Wattstax” concert documentary film and CD as well as many other films, books, magazines and Blues recordings.

Working with library staff, MBS has been able to identify places in the library materials where additions are needed. Blues magazines in the periodicals sections of many local libraries catch the eye of the patrons and paging through them plants a seed of interest. Following up by checking out and listening to the music as well as reading books and watching DVD’s exposes many Madison area folks to our great American musical traditions.

In the fall of 2010, the Goodman South Madison Library held it’s Grand Opening in their new building, offering great library resources to the South Madison area. MBS wanted to help out, so in addition to our annual contribution, we provided some music with an acoustic blues performance by Cliff Frederiksen.  All who attended enjoyed the sound of the Blues in the air.

Blues Kids – Getting youth involved

  • With valuable support from the Dane Arts, MBS sponsors a “Blues Kids” harmonica education program with Joe Nosek and Oscar Wilson of the Cash Box Kings and Joey B. Banks of the Black Star Drum Line Performance Group.
  • MBS has worked with several Madison neighborhood centers to host the “Blues Kids” groups including:
  • Over the years, MBS and these great groups have substantially expanded the program including Blues history and appreciation, harmonica and drum playing, song writing, and vocal training.
  • The “Blues Kids” annual performance at our Blues Picnic grew to a large group up on stage regularly playing with the Cash Box Kings. Family and friends in the Blues Picnic audience made the experience a major highlight of the event.
  • Working with the “Hands Across South Madison” grant program of the Town of Madison and the South Metropolitan Planning Council, MBS also sponsored a “South Madison Blues Kids” program in 2008 where the kids performed at a neighborhood senior center and then at a community concert at Penn Park.
  • With terrific support from the staff at Gompers Elementary School, MBS coordinated an April 2004 Blues in the Schools (BITS) program for the kids at the school featuring Reverend Charlie Edmonds. This program connected classes in art, history, and reading in the library to teach the history and sounds of the Blues to a very eager school audience.

Blues at the Museum – Get to know your local musicians

MBS has co-sponsored Blues performances and education programs at the The Wisconsin Historical Museum at 30 N. Carroll Street on Madison’s Capitol Square. These great programs ran on Friday nights during September and October and expose visitors to our area’s great local Blues musicians. The audience learns how the history of the Blues developed over the years culminating in the music of today including Rock, Country, Jazz and more. As the musicians relate their own personal Blues history, the music really comes alive in the hearts and minds of the audience.