Category Archives: Blues in the Schools

News about our Blues in the Schools program.

TONIGHT’S Fat Tuesday Celebration Nearly Full!

UPDATE TUESDAY 11:30AM: We just sold out the original allotment of advance tickets for tonight’s Fat Tuesday Celebration, and have added a block of 20 seats we were holding back for door sales. You may still purchase advanced tickets until 3pm, then if any are left, they will be available at the door for $25. But best option is to get them now ($20+3.31 fees/tax)… Going to be a wang dang doodle of a party tonight!!

Get your tix early to the BBS annual Fat Tuesday Celebration and Fundraiser for our Blues in the Schools program. One of our biggest shows of the year! Four top local blues bands! Saturday, Feb. 28. Door at 5:30pm, music starts at 6pm.  Tickets & Info!








FAT TUESDAY IS PARTY TIME … at one of our biggest events of the year! Boise Blues Society ushers in its 25th year of bringing the best in blues music to Boise and Treasure Valley with its annual Fat Tuesday Celebration and Fundraiser.

Mardi Gras decor all around, theme food & full bar available, large dance floor.  Come early for best seat selection and dinner. The first band goes on at 6pm.  Playhouse Boise, 8001 W Fairview, near the intersection of Fairview and Milwaukee. 

All proceeds from this event help support the BBS Blues in the Schools program, which provides free blues education and live music programs free-of-charge to any area school, and scholarships to young promising musicians. Everyone involved, including the musicians, venue, sound personnel and more, donate their time and talents to this show. We appreciate each and everyone of you for supporting this great cause!

Help Blues-in-the-Schools Play Your School!

Treasure Valley schools, parents, students, blues fans! Help us bring our free Blues-in-the-Schools program to your favorite school – elementary through college level programming available. Contact Ken Harris (BBS President and Blues Directors bandleader) at or 208-440-4590. For more info:




Apply For 2017 Youth Musician Scholarships – Due May 1st

Do you know a promising young musician with an interest in blues music?

Announcing 2017 BBS Student Scholarships! Current students from 1st through 12th grades with an interest in blues music, we would like to hear from you! Winners receive $500 each to further their music education. 

Boise Blues Society is accepting applications until May 1. Details and application at

Help us help the next generation of blues musicians!



Blues-in-the-Schools Visits BSU Music Class

Boise Blues Society took its innovative Blues-in-the-Schools educational wing of the organization to Boise State University on Nov. 19, leading Professor Rodney Zuroeveste’s Introduction to Jazz class, in the Recital Hall at Morrison Center. The program, an encore performance from last school year, featured teaching from various members of The Blues Directors band on the relationships of blues and jazz, including how the roots of each came from early American culture and music traditions.

Keyboardist Ken Harris, vocalist JT Tyler, and drummer Barney Southard all took turns speaking about their own crafts.   Ken spoke of the histories of early American music styles and traditions, blues and jazz music theory, and note bending on the various musical instruments present. JT introduced “Hound Dog” with words about the progression of the blues through different stylings. Barney did an inspiring piece addressing and demonstrating different drumming styles, including New Orleans blues and jazz drumming.

The band played many popular numbers as examples of their teachings, from boogie woogie to traditional blues to familiar standards. Among the easily recognized offerings were “Route 66”, “The Thrill is Gone” with JT on lead vocal, and “Shame Shame Shame” with Carmel Crock at the mic. JT asked for a singer from the audience to join him for part of BB King’s immortal “The Thrill is Gone” and one young man gave a highly entertaining display of “scat singing” with him.

Prof. Zuroeveste  even joined the band for several numbers on the saxophone to the obvious delight of his students.

Another interesting piece was Greg Addy’s performance on his homemade cigar-box guitar and description of its beginnings. It seemed likely that no one in the audience had seen or heard the unique instrument. Those of us in the Blues Society may remember when Portland’s Ben Rice played his cigar-box guitar at last summer’s Blues Festival and again at his Sapphire Room show sponsored by BBS.

The class seemed quite interested throughout and about half of them even stayed past the official closure for a rousing version of “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down”, and gave an enthusiastic ovation. The band seemed to enjoy having another opportunity to play for a campus audience, one member commented that it’s a different experience than when the Blues-in-the-Schools program is presented to younger audiences.

For more information about the Boise Blues Soceity Blues in the Schools program, you may call Ken Harris at 208-440-4590.


The first Boise Blues Society Fall 2015 Blues-In-The-Schools program took place on October 14th at Iowa Elementary School in Nampa, with the entire student body and most staff members present. The BITS band included BBS president Ken Harris on keyboard and vocals, Mojo Mike Witmer on bass, Bobby Peters on drums, Carmel Crock on vocals and percussion, Leif Skyving on harmonica and vocals, and Joshua Lamansky on guitar and vocals.

After some staff school announcements, the program started with a brief explanation on the formation of blues music out of African Rhythm and melody augmented by British ballads and Presbyterian hymns. After demonstrating American slave re-conceptualizing of the German diatonic harmonica, the music kicked off with the Jimmy Reed shuffle “Baby What You Want Me To Do.”

Next, Carmel  sang the 1962 Ikettes’ soul blues “I’m Blue”, and then Leif sang Junior Wells’ rocking “Messin’ With The Kid” with Carmel going out dancing with a teacher and then through the crowd of seated kids. The Blues trademark “bending of notes” was variously demonstrated, even on Bob’s rack tom drum! Josh ended the student body portion of the program singing Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me.”

Music Teacher Bill Weaver’s 4th grade class remained after the assembly for a question-and-answer session, with students asking about “being a musician” and howling with delight when they found out that some of the BITS musicians were their grandparents’ ages! Finally, Mr. Weaver led his students in trying out some blues scat singing backed by the band.

The school reported to us later that the kids continued to talk about the program all day. Mr. Weaver said he had a music meeting that same afternoon and told all his colleagues about the quality show and the educational experience that his school received. “Thank you for taking time to make Iowa ‘Bluesy’,” he concluded. Also, the school nurse called to say a special needs boy, who ordinarily cries all day and doesn’t want to be at school, DID NOT CRY AND STAYED THE WHOLE DAY after our BITS session. Bob had let him sit at the drums before the session. It seemed the BITS program went over great at Iowa Elementary.

Ken Harris,
BBS Board President

Photo from a previous BITS program: