Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest Continues Tradition Of Educational Outreach


OTTAWA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) -– The Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest organization is set to launch the 12th edition of their long-standing Blues in the Schools program on Monday, March 1. The two-week residency program, which sees professional artists/educators visit 18 area schools this year, will run through March 12.

The program starts with a series of assembly-like presentations. A variety of musicians visit two schools per day, performing a total of 72 presentations over the course of four days. The following phase involves classroom-size core groups, with students enjoying a more formal workshop approach. These sessions include a look at the heritage of blues music while examining its influence on other genres. Song writing, singing, and exploring various instruments is also involved. The workshop phase culminates with students performing for their families, teachers and peers. Ultimately these students are offered an opportunity to perform at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, during the festival's Blues in the Schools day.

Initiated in two Ottawa-area schools in 1999, Blues in the Schools has seen tremendous growth. This year, visiting artists/educators and local musicians will deliver the program to more than 7,000 students in Ottawa-area schools. "The intent of the program," says Bluesfest executive director, Mark Monahan,” is to expose students from all backgrounds to music and to encourage them to use music as a positive outlet in dealing with the world around them."

Blues in the Schools is a charitable undertaking, which is financially supported by the not-for-profit Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest organization, with essential support from its private-sector partners: Holiday Inn© Hotel & Suites; Steve’s Music Store; and the Ottawa Citizen. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers