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13th Annual Blues Challenge

Thank you to everyone that turned out to support the 13th Annual Blues Challenge hosted by the Blues Society of Western PA on April 29, 2017. The venue, the Cornerstone at Tondidale, filled early and the crowds surged throughout the day. What a testament for the Blues and live music!

What an amazing day!!! Blues, blues and more blues kept coming our way. Thirteen acts accepted our challenge. All had very different dynamics. All brought their A game. Thank you to the acts for your hours of preparation. Thank you for arriving early, staying late, sharing the music, sharing the hugs and smiles. It was a pleasure to work with all of you. You all did yourself proud. Thank you to: The Blues Devils, Mitch Littler, The Bo’ Hog Brothers, Chris Sutton and Charlie Barath, Elias Khouri Band, Bobby Martin, Somethin’s Cookin’ Blues Band, Roddy Barnes and Ian Walters, Tina Daniels Band, JnK Blues, Matt Barranti Band, Ron & the Rumpshakers and The Shiners.

That said, the judges definitely had a difficult job ahead of them when they arrived for a very long day. Their tenacity, their experience and their love of the music made it all worthwhile. They followed the rules set forth by the Blues Foundation. Their decisions were done carefully and based on that format. Many traveled many miles to join us. Thank you to: Ed Jonnett, John Gifford, Mark Puskarich, Teri Pealer and Ella Schaffer.

The winning acts...

First place band...Matt Barranti Band

Second place band...Tina Daniels

First place solo/duo....Chris Sutton and Charlie Barath

Second place solo/duo...Roddy Barnes and Ian Walters

Guitarist of the year...Jason Caliguri

Kudos to Mike Feight Sound (Mark and Mike). They worked a very long day and tirelessly met all of our needs. The best compliment from a very seasoned blues fan....’the sound was great, we did not have to use our earplugs’.

Thank you to the Cornerstone for your gracious hospitality and for your endless efforts to meet our needs.

Thank you to Jim Stewart for sharing the news about the upcoming Blues and Roots fest in July. Jim explained its purpose (to raise funds to create a vocation facility for autistic young people), how the project was created, their projections and an outline of what to expect, how we can support their cause/fest.

Thank you to Mark Puskarich for sharing information about the upcoming Blues for a Cure fest in June. Your ongoing effort to assist cancer research is amazing and appreciated.

Thank you to our sponsors: R Bar, Get off My Case, Terry O’Brien Legal Services, Shale’s Rinkside, Wooley Bully’s, Moondog’s, Jeree Recording, Hollowood Music, James Street Speakeasy and Molsen/Coors Lite. Your assistance enabled the Blues to ‘go live’ once more.

Thank you to Debi Pace for your work compiling that very smart looking program. Thank you to Cyndi Fink for the 2017 Blues Challenge logo/design.

Thank you to our emcees for the day: Don Luisi, Robert Morris Blues Radio; Rob O’Friel, WYEP Blues radio; and Jim Hamel, musician, board member and staging coordinator.

Thank you for our photographers, Tim Martin, Bill Gabriel and Jean Zvodnek. All threel worked a long day to capture those special moments to share with the Blues fans. Those official pictures will be ready very soon.

Thank you to our hardworking volunteers: Cyndi Fink, treasurer and judging coordinator; Renee Dellera, judging assistant; Sue Mayer (board Member), timing coordinator; Laura Dimunzio and Pam Arthur, timing assistants; Angie and Jesse, drum techs; Tuck Majeran, Vice president and back stage coordinator; Barbara Gangone, membership secretary and merchandise coordinator; Ellie Mueller, board member and sales coordinator; Tracy Randell, merchandising and sales assistant; Bill Gabriel, sales assistant; Terry O’Brien, door ticketing coordinator; Alison Mulvaney, board member and door ticketing assistant; Laura Dimunzio, door ticketing assistant. Thank you to Tuck Majeran for returning the drums. Thank you to Terry O’Brien for picking up the backline and Jim Hamel for returning the back line. The volunteers and their ongoing efforts at each event and behind the scenes makes them the unsung heroes of the Blues.

Thank you to the Jimmy Adler Band who braved the Penguins playoff game delay and still delivered a smoking show.

When the ‘final curtain’ finally closed on the Blues Bash Weekend/Blues Challenge...the compliments were many, the music ever so amazing, the fans pleased. All appreciated the setting and the tremendous efforts put forth by each and every act.

When it is all said and done, the outpouring of support and commitment is very humbling.

Thank you for supporting the Blues Society of Western PA and its ongoing mission to promote and preserve the Blues.

Yours in Blues,

Jonnye Weber

President, Blues Society of Western PA

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