2013 marked the 23rd anniversary of Tj’s Blues in the Schools program, Hope, Heroes and the Blues. What started with a small grant from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation has grown into an internationally renowned music and educational program, which has so far, has been performed on five continents for over 450,000 students. The age span has always ranged from pre school, k -12, as well as at Universities and frequently special workshops and conferences for teachers.
The purpose of Hope, Heroes and the Blues is to not only interactively communicate the musical highways & byways of the Blues, but also to serve as a entry point of learning into African American culture, past & present. The late August Wilson said ” In centuries to come, historians will use the Blues as the chronicles of Black History”. That being said, Tj has been doing just that for 37 years and this particular program for two decades. This program speaks to so many diverse demographics of students simply because the Blues, though born out of African American culture, is a window into the soul of all our shared history and lives.
For certain, Hope, Heroes and the Blues uses the music itself to tell most of it’s story (it’s no dry lecture.) It is a celebration of and within itself. Tj loves performing for all age groups. The music & topics discussed are always age appropriate and approached in a nurturing way. Sensitivity is the key to engaging students in all of my programs, no matter what their age.
“We sing the Blues, to lose our Blues” is truly the philosophy of the music as well as Tj’s programs. Students, learn and make a myriad of interdisciplinary connections, including History, Social Studies, English, Math as well as Music. They also learn, by example, how to positively channel their own angst and blues, into music, creative writing and other arts forms in general.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Hope, Heroes and the Blues program, please contact Tj.