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Reflecting back on 2016

Dear Blues family,

As 2016 is drawing to an end, The Blues Society of Western PA (BSWPA) thanks all of you for making so many new and continuing projects possib...le in ‘our’ quest to keep the Blues alive and to keep LIVE music alive.

Looking back, The Blues Society of Western PA decided to explore different opportunities in 2016. Once such activity was the ‘Music Trails’ show. It was an afternoon combining jazz and blues, exploring the history of Blues today and infusing it with modern twists. It was an exciting and interesting offering.

Another undertaking was ‘Fighting Back, A Celebration of Life and Courage’. Each band that day had a band member who had fought Cancer and was there to ‘fight back’. ‘Our Clubhouse’ garnered much needed funds that day to enable support to be provided to cancer patients and their families during and after treatment. The Blues fans turned out and voiced their approval at a day packed with amazing Blues.

Blues in the Schools went to Children’s hospital and participated in the Music Smiles program. The purpose: Taking music to medical facilities and allowing the families, the patients and the caretakers to take a deep breath and regroup. Amazing work, amazing results.

The Blues Challenge was bigger and better than ever. Our winning acts are now readying themselves to head to Memphis, TN to participate in the 2017 International Blues Challenge. The Jimmy Adler Band and Charlie Barath (solo act) will be giving blues fans from around the world a taste of the type of music that the blues fans in Western PA savor. Plans are in the works to have both acts, including our Blues Youth Showcase representative, to be on WYEP’s Rolling and Tumbling radio show on January 14 at 9 pm. Sean McDowell is preparing to interview these players and air that show on January 29 as a sendoff to Memphis. Plans are in the works for a possible slot on KDKA’s morning show…(keeping our fingers crossed). Yes, the Blues in Western PA will be sending the Blues out to many homes in Western PA.

Bob Breide made the annual Bass Guitar Contest possible once more. Ask Bob. He will tell you that the students at Dilworth are over the top…musically and academically.

The annual New Year’s Eve Blues Bash, just days away, will be a happening event. The show was a sellout way in advance….WOW! It is a stellar party/event that everyone involved…the musicians, the workers and those attending will enjoy.

On a down note, the annual Blues Festival was cancelled. The loss of sales and memberships impacted much of what we, the BSWPA, were able to do. However, the board members rallied and took our message to several other fests in the area….Franklin, PA, Washington, PA and Sharon, PA. Their tenacity and the generous giving of their time to travel great distances are much appreciated. The results…new members, new awareness, more people interested in the Blues.

Wishing all of you much joy, happiness and great Blues in the New Year.

Yours in Blues, Jonnye Weber President, Blues Society of Western PA

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