On Saturday night, the auditorium at VHS was filled with families and students who came out to see the 8th annual Blues Project. The theme this year was "Black & Blue: The Fight for Freedom." A celebration of Black History Month through one of the truly great American art forms, the Blues. Scott Cvelbar, along with the students of Benjamin Franklin Middles School, Valparaiso High School, and various staff members performed many songs from the Civil Rights era.
Throughout February, the kids at Ben Franklin have learned learned about Black History Month, and particularly examining the history of the Blues. The Blues Project was an opportunity for the students to express what they learned by performing the songs that illustrated their topic of study.
Songs included "I Shall Not Be Moved", "Strange Fruit", "Uncle Sam Says", "Black, Brown and White", along with many more Blues songs that expressed the struggles of African Americans.
Talented students from all grades participated and showed their skills in vocals and instrumentals. Students such as Ian Norris, Jenna Dambek, and Andrew Walits participated in the event along with their fellow classmates.
"We practiced after school, during jazz band, and our own time," said Walits.
Not only do they enjoy playing, but the Blues Project means a lot to the students involved and is a great way to inspire others to start playing instruments.
"Basically, the main purpose of this is to recognize all of the talent in the middle school, and High School, anyone's talent really. We hope to motivate them to stick with playing music," said drummer Ian Norris.
Cost per person was $5 and all the proceeds went into improving the event for next year including better equipment.
Other musicians such as Fruteland Jackson, Dan Hawthorne, Tom Adamson, and featured vocals from Ben Franklin teachers such as Scott Cvelbar and Greg Kenworthy showed their love for Blues Music, music skills, and desire to further the education of history for students.
The crowd was interactive and clapping as the students performed. Students from both schools came together to remember the music from the Civil Rights Era and show their musical talent. After another successful year, the Blues Project promises to keep message of Black History Month alive and learn more about American History.