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24 Hours of the Blues in Williamsport
By jared mondell
June 29, 2011
Jimi Hendrix once said, “Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel.” Most musicians start off learning blues music because of its ease to play and fall in love with it because of the feelings it evokes. Starting on Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m. the Uptown Music Collective will present their third annual 24 hour Blues-a-Thon fundraiser. This year’s event will take place on the front lawn of the Uptown Music Collective during the daylight hours and inside the school at night fall.
The idea of the Blues – A – Thon fundraiser came from the mind of Uptown Music Collective Executive Director, Dave Brumbaugh. “The Blues is so important to the evolution of modern music, it is one of the seminal styles from which so much of what is played today comes from,” says Brumbaugh.
The Uptown Music Collective has always had a Blues Workshop and has always stressed the styles importance to its students; the Blues-A-Thon is an outgrowth of that. “It’s a fundraiser, but more than that, it is an educational opportunity not only for our students but for all participants and the audience as well. It’s also an opportunity like local professionals like Doug McMinn and Sean Farley, as well as Blues legend Bob Margolin to share their passion for the music with young people. Imagine you’re a 15 guitarist with the opportunity to stand next Bob Margolin who stood next Muddy Waters and countless other greats and jam on a blues! Wow!”
Modeled after events like Relay for Life and other marathon fundraisers, participants of the Blues-A-Thon will pledge to perform a set number of hours. Each participant will then seek sponsors to support them on a per hour basis and the individual bringing in the highest number of sponsorship dollars will receive a Blues-A-Thon prize pack. This event and is open to musicians of all ages, styles and instruments who know how to play a basic 12 bar Blues and would like to help support the school. This year’s the goal is to raise $5,000 for the school.
This year’s Blues-A-Thon will feature a variety different segments including a Blues Jam for Beginners, Jazz Blues, a Stevie Ray Vaughan style jam and segments featuring Female singers, different Uptown Music Collective Workshops and more. There’s something for everyone, for more information check the schedule below.
7- 8 p.m., Bob Margolin; 8-10 p.m., Uptown Music Collective Teachers Jam; 10-12 a.m., Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues Jam; 12- 2 a.m., Uptown Music Collective Young Blood Blues Band; 2- 4 a.m., Swing and Uptown Blues Open Jam with Dave Brumbaugh; 4-6 a.m., Bebop Blues and Beyond with Dave Brumbaugh; 6- 8 a.m., Jam Band Blues; 8-10 a.m., Wake up w/ Zeppelin&60's & 70's Blues Rock; 10-12 p.m., Blues Jam for Beginning Blues Players; 12-2 p.m., Delta Blues w/ Doug McMinn; 2- 4 p.m., Uptown Music Collective Adult Blues Workshop Jam; 4- 6 p.m., Blues Songbirds (Female Blues Singers); 6-7 p.m., Bob Margolin.
This year’s Blues-a-Thon is sponsored in part by the Billtown Blues Association as well as Franco’s Lounge and Gustonian Gifts. Media sponsor for this event is Backyard Broadcasting. The event will feature national blues recording artist Bob Margolin, who will perform with the participants and solo during the opening and closing ceremonies of the event. Margolin is a blues guitar player and singer carrying on the “old school” Chicago Blues style and creating original music today. From 1973-1980, he played guitar in the band of Chicago Blues legend Muddy Waters, touring, recording, and learning to play Muddy’s powerful music directly from the master. In 1980, he started his own band continues to tour today.
Margolin is a four-time nominee for the Guitar Handy Award, a two-time winner of the W.C Handy Award for Best Instrumentalist in Guitar, and a two-time Grammy Award nominee. Four of the 1970's albums released by Muddy Waters featuring Bob Margolin have won Grammy Awards. Along with Margolin, the event will feature students and teachers of the Uptown Music Collective as well as other local blues musicians.
The Blues–a-Thon is open to spectators who would like to watch sleep deprived musicians jamming their hearts out for a great cause. Donations from the general public will be accepted with all funds going directly to the Uptown Music Collective, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supporting the schools programs where it is needed the most. The event will also be broadcasted live over the website UStream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uptown-music-collective) For more details about this creative fundraising event contact the Uptown Music Collective at 570-329-0888 or on the web at uptownmusic.org
Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the average Collective student is 10 – 18 years old, but all ages and levels are welcome.
Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program also brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including most recently, “The Unforgettable Fire: A Tribute to U2 and Irish Rock” and “Rhythm Nation: A Live Music and Dance Tribute to 80’s Music Videos,” a collaboration with Milissa Augustine Dance Academy.