Musician Hal Reed is the resident artist for the first 2023 Mississippi Valley Blues Society Blues in the Schools program this week.
Since 1990, this educational community outreach program has introduced the history and cultural significance of American Blues music to Quad City-area K-12 students and has become an integral part of area music teacher`s curriculum, according to a news release.
“We are fortunate to have the Mississippi Valley Blues Society in our community. The artists they bring into our schools & community are not just outstanding performers. These artists are great educators that teach about their genre of music and their craft,” said Mara Goodvin, general music teacher at Ridgewood Elementary, Rock Island, where Reed appeared Monday.
Reed will also appear for an MVBS event at the historic Hauberg Estate Events Center, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1300 24th St., Rock Island. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.,
February is Black History Month. Blues music was created within Black culture and became the roots of all popular American music. “Very simply, the blues is African American folk music,” said Kevin Burt, award-winning touring blues artist and Iowa native.
Davenport-based MVBS is one of the oldest blues-music organizations in the U.S. It started in 1984.
Reed has a four-decades long tenure in southern gospel, soul, and blues music. He has headlined for several gospel festivals and toured over the last 30 years as Men of Blues and Mississippi Journey.
Through performances and educational programs, Reed’s ongoing efforts have made a substantial impact in keeping blues music alive. He has organized more than 15 BlueSkools sessions at the annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. He earned a spot in the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2021. As a blues education presenter, he takes students on a journey from the origin of the music to the blues of today. He begins his session demonstrating with the drums of Africa, then illustrates how the music evolved into the United States and finishes with a performance of blues as it is played today.
“I hope to impress the students on the importance of Blues music influences on the various styles of music they enjoy now.” Hal states. “My goal is to impress that every form of American music stems from what originated in Africa.”
The mission of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society is to ensure the future of a uniquely American art form by fostering greater public appreciation through performance, education and preservation of the Blues Heritage.