Within the walls of Columbia College Chicago, you won’t find students listening to professors or counsellors leading kids into arts and craft exercises this week.
Instead, you will find several rooms buzzing with 140 kids who are honing their mettle and fine-tuning their artistic skills.
The 2019 Blues Camp International is in its 10thsession and these kids are getting hands-on experience on guitars, drums, keyboards, horns and vocals from some highly qualified music instructors in the country in this class.
“We are so excited and fortunate to have the most mannerable, dedicated and talented group of student musicians in North America with us this week,” said Fernando Jones, a world-class, internationally known bluesman, educator and songwriter, who founded the camp 10 years ago. “We designed this priceless, fun-filled, experience to impact the life of the “Blues Kid” who simply wants to experience this cultural enrichment opportunity in an organic and nurturing environment with their like-minded peers. Besides, there’s no better way to create our next farm team of musicians.”
The campers begin their day at 8 a.m. with a jam session before going to morning assembly where they receive constructive feedback from the professionals. They spend the next two or so hours perfecting their craft in preparation for a concert that evening at venues across the city. They are split into small groups based on ages and skill level.
The 2019 Blues Camp Chicago, which is run by the Blues Kids Foundation, is dedicated to creating a camp environment that is supportive, encouraging, and focused on each individual camper’s creative abilities, Jones said.
On Tuesday, they performed at the old town school of Folk Music, and on Wednesday to to a capacity filled Reggie’s on State Street. The culminating event will take place Friday, July 12, at the Hard Rock Cafe, 63 W. Ontario.
The 2019 Blues Camp Chicago is made possible in part, thanks to a host of sponsors including, Mary Barnes Donnelley Family Foundation, Lefort-Martin Fund, The Chicago Community Trust, Jim Dunlop USA, Chicago Federation of Musicians (Local 10-208), Hohmer, Dr. Eddie Bleier & Friends, Network for Good, Tom Leibman, Chicago Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., D’Addario Foundation, Columbia College Chicago, Alligator Records, Shure Sound Extraordinary, the Hodges Family, Motor Row Brewing and Edward G. Irvin Foundation.