Backstage Pass to the Blues

The Backstage Pass outreach program has brought world-class Blues musicians into close contact with students from pre-school through high school in Columbia, Montour, Luzerne, and Lycoming Counties since 2015.  The Blues musicians who perform at Destination Blues share their talents, knowledge, and experience to promote love for and respect of music among young people, students at our public and independent schools.

 

We tailor the programs to each school’s needs, whether assemblies mixing “lectures” with a band playing, or individual performers conducting classes in Blues history, musicianship, and the music business.  We support the programs through grant funding, sponsorships, donations, and income from the Festival, so we can provide it at no cost to the schools involved.

From participants...

Did you know?

The Blues have influenced every genre of American music that we listen to today, but too few people who live in our region know the history or have had the opportunity to interact with Blues musicians.  Geography, ethnicity, and economics all play roles in this fact: In our rural and economically-challenged region, professional musicians do not perform frequently – non-white performers even less so.  Two festivals in neighboring counties (Billtown Blues, based in Lycoming County, and Briggs Farm, in Luzerne) have built a strong foundation for Blues in the region.  Our festival’s outreach will dramatically expand opportunities to see people of many colors performing and telling the story of where our shared musical heritage comes from.

Did you know?

The Blues have influenced every genre of American music that we listen to today, but too few people who live in our region know the history or have had the opportunity to interact with Blues musicians. Geography, ethnicity, and economics all play roles in this fact: In our rural and economically-challenged region, professional musicians do not perform frequently – non-white performers even less so.  Two festivals in neighboring counties (Billtown Blues, based in Lycoming County, and Briggs Farm, in Luzerne) have built a strong foundation for Blues in the region.  Our festival’s outreach will dramatically expand opportunities to see people of many colors performing and telling the story of where our shared musical heritage comes from.

"I just wanted to tell you how much my daughter, Ella, her friends, and the rest of the kids at Millville Junior-Senior High School ejoyed your Blues presentation last week: They really loved it, learned some things, and had a great time!  Thank you so much for putting it all together.  They all really appreciate it, and so do we!"

-- Millville, Pa., parent

The Exchange thanks the PPL Foundation for its generous support of the "Backstage Pass" programs: In the summer of 2017, the Foundation gave $5000 to underwrite acquisition of sound and lighting equipment that will travel with our musicians from school to school and to other venues as well, as we bring music to communities throughout our region.
Many thanks to First Columbia Bank & Trust, our initial and most generous "Backstage Pass" supporter, as well as the Magee Foundation and the Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation for additional support.
The Exchange thanks UPMC for its support of "Backstage Pass" through Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.
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