Blues in Schools, Great Northern Blues Society, and the Blues Cafe

A few weeks ago, the Great Northern Blues Society brought us to Wausau, Wisconsin to perform at the Blues Cafe (an amazing Blues festival, you must make certain to attend!).  Along with that, we had the pleasure to perform at a Blues in the Schools event at the University of Wisconsin Marathon Campus.  This was hosted and broadcasted by the amazing Glen Moberg of Wisconsin Public Radio.  We had the absolute pleasure to play and chat with students from Rib Lake, DC Everest, Tomahawk, Abbotsford, and Wausau West schools.

Blues in the Schools are by far, the most rewarding performances we do.  To be able to connect with young people and not only preach the gospel of the Blues, but to encourage music education is a true honor.  You see, music is math... but it's also critical thinking, creative expression, and bonding with others.  I am convinced that music is a gift to all of humankind and weaves us together in ways that are hard to explain.

We played a few songs, chatted with Glen on air, and I had the opportunity to climb on some chairs (I always have to find something to climb on!).  The real magic happened after we went off air: these amazing young people asked us some really interesting and thought-provoking questions about life on the road, music as a career, and continuing education in music.  Wisconsin, you have some amazing people in your schools!  The future is quite bright indeed.  After the Q&A, we invited several students to jam with us.  Norman counted off a shuffle and I got to really have some fun and work on horn lines with a couple of trumpet players and a tuba (YES!  I said a tuba!  You have no idea how stoked I was when he hit the stage!).  We were also joined by a couple of young bassists and a couple of drummers.  I was floored by the talent, presence, and kindness displayed by these great young musicians.

Mike Tatro and the Great Northern Blues Society put together an absolutely flawless experience for these students and for the Norman Jackson Band as well.  They have a true passion for the Blues and for young musicians.  I cannot commend the work they're doing enough.

This was all followed by one of the best-kept secrets on the Blues Festival circuit, the Blues Cafe.  We may not be from up north, but we certainly feel like part of the Wisconsin/Minnesota family!  It was so good to catch up with old friends like Gary Eckhart, Teddy Snider, and John the mighty Blues Hammer.  They have been true friends to us and whenever we get to see them it feels like a homecoming.  I visited with our buddy Todd from the Prairie Dog Blues Fest (another you better check out!) and met Dan Rheaume (he's good people!).

Yes, I climbed on the balcony and the giant chair (man was that thing wobbly!).  I salivate when we enter a venue and I can find ways to interact with the crowd.  I'll leave that topic for another blog, because that is an entire blog on its own.

A great big thank you to all of the Great Northern Blues Society.  I was blown away by your kindness and professionalism.  You are one of the GREAT Blues societies out there.  Keep doing what you're doing.  You're making the entire Blues community proud!

We're traveling down the road as always... so for now, ta ta and toodle-loo!

Never stop. Never, EVER stop!

~Rick

TheNormanJacksonBand.com