T hey've got rhythm. They've got music. And this week, the Pikes Peak Blues Community will set out to prove that they know how to bring the local blues community together for a day of music and learning. On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Manitou Springs Business of Art Center will host the first annual "Celebrates Our Next Generation" event, a daylong symposium on blues music featuring workshops and performances by local and national acts.
"The purpose of this event is not only to entertain the public, but also to educate them about blues music and technique," says Amy Javaherian, who, along with Carrie Goodman, is a co-founder of the PPBC.
Established in May of 2003 as an incubator program under the auspices of the Business of Art Center, the PPBC's goal is to "enhance the vitality of blues and American roots music by supporting live music and education." The burgeoning local organization is able to maintain nonprofit status through its relationship with the BAC, which provides the use of its impressive, newly renovated Venue 515, as well as logistical support. Having already sponsored several events during the summer, the PPBC is looking forward to this event as an opportunity to bring the blues to whole new audience and a whole new generation.
Featuring interactive workshops on playing guitar and harmonica, as well as swing dancing demonstrations and a presentation by the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale on vocal improvisation and performance, the event will offer a potpourri of blues culture, culminating in a VIP party and a live performance by Debbie Davies, one of the nation's top blues talents.
"We obviously wanted to offer something for everyone," said Javaherian. "We're even going to have activities for school-aged children."
According to Javaherian, celebrating the blues has truly become a collaborative effort. Earlier this year, after discovering that the Seattle-based Experience Music Project had sent local schools teaching materials to use in tandem with the PBS miniseries, The Blues, (produced by Martin Scorsese) the PPBC decided to get involved by sponsoring a lyric writing contest for schoolchildren.
"We got eight area musicians to judge the entries we received, and we're going to recognize the winners," says Javaherian. In addition to receiving a gift certificate, the top young lyricist will have his or her words set to music by the local band Metro Blues. (The group will perform the multi-generational collaboration during their set as part of the festivities on Nov. 8 from noon to 1 p.m.)
With a mailing list of over a thousand local supporters, and a growing membership, the PPBC is already making an impact on the music scene.
"We've got a very large blues community in town," said Javaherian, "and this event is about giving something back. We're not just putting our hand out and asking for money; we're trying to deliver on our promises and provide people with a chance to celebrate the blues and educate younger generations."
Who could ask for anything more?
-- Joe Kuzma
Pikes Peak Blues Community "Celebrates Our Next Generation"
The Business of Art Center
515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Sat., Nov. 8 from 10:45 a.m. to midnight
All events free except for VIP Party and Debbie Davies concert ($10, $15, $25) and the Harp Maintenance Workshop ($35)
For a full schedule of the day's events go to www.pikespeakblues.org