Blues Project seeks to keep genre alive

Blues Project seeks to keep genre alive
September 10, 2012
By Sarah Robinson
The Crimson White

The Alabama Blues Project, a non-profit organization that exposes kids to Blues culture, has begun its fall after-school camp program.

Founded in 1995 by University of Alabama graduate and musician Debbie Bound, ABP was created to educate children between the ages of seven and 18 on Alabama’s Blues heritage, which is the root of today’s music.

Professional musicians from all over the state teach the children music lessons on the instrument of their choice.

Teaching at levels ranging from beginner to advanced, these artists are what some describe as the “best of the best” Blues artists in the state of Alabama.

Unlike most musical programs, ABP teaches music by ear, keeping with the traditions of the impromptu music genre.

Not only does the camp help maintain the Blues culture through performances, history lessons and writing, but it also serves as comfort when kids are faced with personal problems.

When the April 27, 2011 tornados hit, ABP campers were able to momentarily escape the harsh reality that followed the devastation by surrounding themselves with their camp friends and doing what they enjoyed, playing music.

Camp session was cancelled the week of April 27, 2011, but it resumed the following Thursday in preparation for the kids’ final performance at the Bama Theatre, which was shortly approaching.

“An overwhelming majority of campers showed up the following Thursday, because they needed to be with friends, have fun and maintain a sense of normalcy,” Amy Castleberry, UA alumna and ABP intern, said.

The award-winning organization also provides children with opportunities to showcase their musical talent. ABP holds an open house ever year for friends and family.

Giuliano Godorecci, a sophomore majoring in music, psychology and classics, graduated from ABP a year ago after being the guitarist for the advanced band. Godorecci recalled his fondest memory at camp being their performance in Memphis, Tenn., at the biggest International News Conference in the world.

“We got to play in New Daisy Theatre, where people like Nirvana and Bob Dylan played,” Godorecci said. “It’s a very beautiful, big stage.”

Inviting kids from all over the county, ABP has established a diverse group of kids, allowing the campers to meet friends from all walks of life and build friendships with kids they may have not have been given the chance to meet if it weren’t for the program.

The program has transcended the music and established what Godorecci referred to as a nice community and atmosphere.

Castleberry looks at ABP as an essential program, especially when the government is cutting arts programs for the public school system and leaving kids without free access to learning the arts.

Executive director Paula Demonbreun also values the program’s focus on keeping music programs around. She believes everyone has a basic understanding on the significance of music.

“We all know how important music is,” Demonbreu said.

Anyone interested in the program can download a registration form at or call (205) 752-6263.
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