Education & Outreach Programs for Preserving a Legacy
Beginning on January 28, 2012, a month-long endeavor of education and outreach programs began. This programming was part of SPA’s blues project: Preserving a Legacy: A Tribute to Houston’s Blues. The project was funded by an Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We worked to present a multidisciplinary project that celebrated and documented a historically significant period in Houston’s music history.
The project consisted of a photography exhibition, three free public performances, two blues music master classes, two harmonica lecture/demonstrations, an oral history project for local high school students, and concluded with a concert at Jones Hall on February 29, 2012 by Houston’s own blues legends.
SPA’s education department worked on this month-long series of outreach programs for Preserving a Legacy: A Tribute to Houston’s Blues, in partnership with the Houston Blues Museum, the Houston Public Library (HPL) System, local blues musicians, author Roger Wood, photographer James Fraher, and the Houston Blues Society. Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues Exhibition
Down In Houston was a photography exhibition (January 28th - March 10th) on view at the African American Library at the Gregory School; the opening reception for the exhibition was on January 28th. Photographer James Fraher and author Roger Wood collaborated on the book Down In Houston: Documenting a Blues Community where these photographs were published.
Community Historians were upper-level students from Yates High School, Wheatley High School, Westbury High School and Worthing High School. These students engaged in an oral history project as well as a number of other community activities for Preserving a Legacy. They worked with community mentors to collect and preserve the oral histories of local and prominent blues musicians from Houston. They presented their own personal reflections about the project at the Creative Conversation on the evening of the culminating blues concert. Blues Harmonica Lecture Demonstrations
Sonny Boy Terry facilitated two harmonica lecture demonstrations at the Smith Neighborhood Library and the African American Library at the Gregory School on February 7th and 18th respectively. In these lecture demonstrations, he taught young Houstonians how to play the blues on the harmonica.
Three free public performances were held at several HPL locations (February 4th, 9th, & 15th) by up-and-coming blues musicians Rebecca Laird, Bella Adela, Adrienne Barakis, and Eric Hoovestol, as well as legends Milton Hopkins and Trudy Lynn. Rebecca Laird and Eric Hoovestol are guitarists and winners of the Jimmy T-99 Nelson Scholarship Award for Youth by the Houston Blues Society.
Blues Preservation Panel
The Blues Preservation Panel Discussion on February 25th at the Gregory School Library featured local blues musicians and blues community historians shedding light on issues related to the preservation of the historic blues legacy of Houston. Blues Museum Houston President Jo Vaughn, Mrs. V from KPFT Houston’s Blues on the Move, will moderate the discussion by a panel to include blues legend Texas Johnny Brown, Houston Blues Society President Boyd Bluestein, blues documentary filmmaker Marc Lempert and blues oral historian Erin Norris.
Blues Music Master Classes
Yates and Wheatley High Schools hosted Blues Master Class led by Blues legend Texas Johnny Brown and Milton Hopkins respectively.
The Performance Prelude featured archival pieces from the Houston Blues Museum on display in Jones Hall as well as the musical talent of Ezra Charles and his son Jake Charles prior to concert on February 29th.