We are a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization of blues music supporters celebrating 25 years in Boise, Idaho. (1992-2017)
We have a strong commitment to using the power of music to inspire and educate local youth. We bring musicians into schools to introduce blues music and engage students in making music. Our Blues in the Schools (BITS) program began in 2006 and is free to schools.
Boise Blues Society ensures an active social calendar for local blues fans, organizing or co-sponsoring dozens of blues-focused events every year. We showcase local acts and bring in out-of-town musicians for performances and workshops.
Have a question? Contact us. Want to get involved? Join us as a member, help us expand our reach with a tax-deductible contribution, sign up on our mailing list, or lend your skills and energy as a volunteer.
Boise Blues Society Board of Directors:
David Light – President, Treasurer
Although Dave Light started playing harmonica at the age of four, it wasn’t until living in Louisiana that he became immersed in the blues. Dave spent his spare time in the French Quarter of New Orleans listening to street bands play the highly emotional sound of the music called “blues.” Hooked on the blues, Dave went back to California where he befriended David Barrett of the School of Blues. Barrett is a great harp teacher and player as well as the most prolific writer of harmonica teaching books in the world today. It was then Dave started learning how to play blues on the harp. In 1991 Dave and fellow musicians formed the blues band Trials and Tribulations. They played most of the major blues venues in the bay area for more than five years. In 1994 David Barrett started the Harmonica Masterclass and Dave Light helped teach enthusiastic harmonica players all over the US including New York, Austin, Chicago, Long Beach and San Jose. “I believe over the five year span we must have taught over 1500 professional, intermediate and beginning harp players.” Dave was raised in Idaho and after being gone for 25 years is living back in Boise helping promote the appreciation of the “Blues.”
Ken has been a professional musician for 53 years and got his start playing in high school rock ‘n roll bands in Boise in the mid-60’s. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Elementary in 1963 and Boise High in 1967. After college at the University of Colorado and Portland State, he moved to Boston for 22 years where he led his own bands and also played with such artists as Junior Walker and The All Stars, Chuck Berry, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Johnny Adams, James Montgomery and Michelle Willson. In 1993 Ken returned to Boise to help start the Blues Bouquet, Idaho’s first Blues nightclub. He is the keyboardist with The Hoochie Coochie Men, and that band was the house band of the Blues Bouquet and backed such artists as Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell, Coco Montoya, AC Reed, and Billy Boy Arnold. Ken also plays with The Blues Directors and Carmel and The Closers and plays music gigs several times a week in a variety of formats. During the day he is a part-time wheelchair van driver for a local elder care facility.
Mike Witmer – Vice Pres; Education Chair
Mike Witmer started playing in a garage band in high school on Mercer Island, Washington. In his first year of college a dorm mate introduced him to the first Paul Butterfield album and that solidified his music taste for the next half century. School, career and family kept Mike from performing music, but he hosted a blues music show on KSVR in Mount Vernon, Washington for a number of years before moving to Boise. While in Mount Vernon he started a blues band, Scratch Daddy, which played around the area including the Mount Baker Blues Festival the year Johnny Winter headlined along with Ana Popovic, Sonny Landreth, Jason Ricci and others.
Upon moving to Boise “Mojo” Mike continued to host his blues show, now on RadioBoise, KRBX. Mojo Mike’s Blues Revue airs Monday nights from 7:30-10pm at 89.9 and 93.5fm. He currently plays with the “house band” of the Boise Blues Society, the Blues Directors and his own band, Jake Leg. Mike continues to be a huge fan of the blues and enjoys his opportunities to share his love on his radio show, through performing, and especially working in the Blues in the Schools program of the Boise Blues Society.
Bill Arnold – Membership
Bill has two passions, his profession and his music. His interest in music fully erupted when the Beatles began their tour on the Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1960’s. He mowed lawns to earn enough money to purchase a Gibson SG, and has been in love with guitars ever since. He played in an ill fated garage band in high school that went nowhere…but was fun, and then devoted his time to earning a PhD, becoming a board certified licensed psychologist, tenured full professor of psychology with the University of Texas System, and running a successful private practice for 40 years–most recently in criminal forensic psychology in the Boise area where he still consults. He was appointed by the governor and served 8 years on the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners, and has been President of the Idaho Psychological Association. In the area of music, in 1978, he met a musical soulmate, and played a number of clubs over the next 12 years, ending with two bands in South Texas on the US-Mexico Border, with the most successful being “Los Blues Guys.” Over the past 10 years he has played guitar on 3 church worship teams in the Boise area. Most recently, he is presently serving on the City of Eagle’s Arts Commission and has established a band, Billy Blues Band that is in the start-up phase, still developing as the fun part of his “retirement plan.”
Dale K Wilson – Fundraising; Education
Dale Wilson began playing harmonica in 1973 at age of twelve after receiving a harmonica and the John Mayall album “The Turning Point” as a gift from a family friend. In his teen years Dale picked up the guitar and added it to his arsenal. Dale began performing in clubs in and around Portland Oregon at age of twenty-one. While in Portland, Dale was a forming member of “The Lost Leggos”, was a member of “The Fat Cats” and performed in duos and house bands in clubs. Dale began moving back and forth between Portland and Boise in 1998 and finally settled in Boise for good in 2001. After the birth of his son in 2002, Dale took a hiatus from performing on a regular basis. During this break Dale began a career in social work and now works as a clinical social worker and uses his music to promote social and personal change. In the last few years Dale has returned to performing more often and can be seen at venues around the Treasure Valley with “The Anderson Wilson Project”
Audra Kerby – Merchandising
Audra has been a music fan as long as she can remember. Raised in Wichita, Kansas, she graduated from Wichita State University in 1994 with a degree in paralegal studies. She also spent a lot of time at the Grand Emporium, her dad’s former blues club in Kansas City, and now works with him on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise twice a year and attends various blues festivals doing promotional work for the Blues Cruise. She moved to Boise in 1998 and eventually became involved with the Boise Blues Society by volunteering her time helping with merchandise and working the door at events. When she isn’t working full time as a litigation paralegal at a Boise law firm, she is a mom to three children, adoption reunion search consultant and genealogy research buff.
Rocky Cook – Corporate Sponsorships
AND Bob Kohnke is Blues in the Schools Coordinator
PO Box 2756, Boise ID 83701