The Blues in the Schools program provides Columbia’s fourth grade students with access to music education. The program was started in 2007 through the Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation.

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‘Name That Tune’ to benefit Blues in the Schools program

The game-show-style event will raise money for the Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation.

By Tess Hart | March 4, 2014

Tags: Education Music Roots N Blue N BBQ


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As the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival heads into its eighth year in Columbia, the event is starting to attract a lot of attention. Last year, fans came from 36 states and five countries just to enjoy all that the fest provides.

With all the festival has to offer, one of the most beneficial programs it produces is the Blues in the Schools program. The program gives students the opportunity to work with award-winning musicians and educators in their classes.

“The Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation has brought joy and music education to thousands of children by providing the Blues in the Schools program,” says Betsy Farris, president of Thumper Entertainment, the organizer of the Roots N Blues fest. “The program is an outreach to the Columbia community to give the gift of music to kids.”

The Blues in the Schools program offers a range of different options for the 15 participating elementary schools in the mid-Missouri area. Some schools choose to just have one assembly, while others have a weeklong residence. Either way, the fourth grade students get the opportunity to learn about blues history, traditions, diversity, culture and blues legends through hands-on exercises.

“Students benefit from the Blues in the Schools program by learning about self-expression and creative thinking,” Farris says. “They get the opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem by writing, performing and recording their own songs. The program benefits the Boone County area and provides cultural experiences for the residents through student performances.”

The festival’s board of directors hopes to continue to spread the Blues in the Schools program to other schools in the area, and it continuously works on providing ways to raise money for the program.

“It’s amazing how Columbia folks embrace the festival,” Farris says. “There is a sense of pride in having the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival.”

One event the Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation puts on to raise money is called “Name That Tune.” The competition is just like the classic game show of the same name and provides teams the chance to brush up on their music knowledge.

This year the competition will be helped from 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 12 at The Blue Note. All ticket buyers receive a complimentary appetizer feast, Barefoot wine and Broadway Brewery beer.

In the end, both the program and the festival as a whole provide numerous ways to enjoy music.

“Our goal is to educate through music and create union among people of differing cultural backgrounds,” Farris says. “We are an all-inclusive festival. The top two reasons fans come to the festival are the music and the experience.”

This year, fans will get an opportunity to see the fourth grade students benefitted by next week’s event perform on stage at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival.

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