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Chicago School of Blues: Past & Future Shows

Feb 10, 2018 57th St. Friends Meeting Chicago Illinois
Jan 25, 2017 Sullivan House H.S. Chicago Illinois

Linsey Alexander gave students a chance to try out his guitar. He did some blues and funk songs, and had the youth stomping and singing along!

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Apr 20, 2016 Bobby E Wright MEntal HEalth Ctr Chicago Illinois
Apr 16, 2016 North Lawndale CCC Planning Conference Chicago Illinois USA
Mar 9, 2016 Chicago Friends School Chicago Illinois
Nov 7, 2014 Tutor Mentor Conference Chicago Illinois
Jun 13, 2014 Skinner West Elementary School Chicago Illinois

Music teacher Lisa Maatouk welcomed the CSB Band for an outdoor student field day: Jon McDonald guitar, Curtis LaBon drums, Larry Taylor vocals, J.R. Bootsie Lee on bass, Barrelhouse Bonni McKeown keys.

Apr 22, 2014 Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago Il

The musicians, mentors and elementary school age Little Brothers and Sisters all had an equally fun time playing and sharing their newly-created blues verses.  Thanks to Ellen and to all the Big Brothers and Sister mentors.  And to Larry Taylor's three kids who took pictures!  Featuring: Larry Taylor vocals, Jon McDonald guitar, JR "Bootsie" Lee on bass, Curtis LaBon drums, Barrelhouse Bonni McKeown, head teacher and keyboard player.LarBonJRCurtJon2SMALLER_resized.JPG

Mar 23, 2014 Beverly Art Center Chicago Illinois US

Look who showed up at the BAC for "Sing Your Own Blues Tune" Sunday among people of all shapes, sizes and ages, to sing their tunes: Priscy, of Priscy's Productions, a West Side youth service group; and Shirley King, Daughter of the Blues, who helped lead the aspiring singers.  Great time! Thanx Ladies. 

Feb 27, 2013 Beverly Public Library Chicago Illinois

Abb Locke, who played saxophone with Howlin' Wolf and the Rolling Stones among many others, plays a few tunes with Barrelhouse Bonni tells of the hardships that led him to leave Cotton Plant, Arkansas, with his saxophone, for Chicago in the 1950s. Joyce Collander, librarian at southwest Chicago's Beverly Library, presented the program attended by people of all ages.


Nov 2, 2012 Spencer Tech Elementary School Chicago Illinois USA

Led by Miss Taj and Barrelhouse Bonni, a group of honors students from K-3 at Spencer Tech learned to sing "Let the Good Times Roll" for an assembly.  Larry Taylor's band, led by Jerry-O on guitar, backed them and followed with a concert for the elementary students and teachers.



Oct 29, 2012 Westcott Elementary School Chicago Illinois
Aug 9, 2012 Winston Plaza Mall Melrose Park IL
Mar 22, 2012 Walter Peyton HS Chicago Illinois

Thank You CPS and Walter Peyton Prep H.S. for the opportunity to be featured at this special annual Black History Month Essay and Art Contest Banquet.  We look forward to next year's performance. CPS_Banq_322_12_ALL4596.jpg

Jul 23, 2011 Rep. Danny Davis Health Summit Chicago Il USA

DDavisBonHealthFrKeybd72311.jpg   DDavisTaj72311.jpg  Rep. Danny Davis, Bonni and Taj at the Health Fair before the CSB teachers hosted a workshop for a West Side teen service group.

May 19, 2011 Tutor-mentor conference Matteson Illinois USA

 TutrMentr511bonniTajsmall.JPGtutrmentr511LadiesSingBonni.jpg  After CSB's session at the Chicago area 2011 Tutor Mentor conference, one teacher-mentor wrote: "I'm always focused on lesson plans. I forget how powerful music and movement are. I'm amazed that blues music has so much more depth than I gave it credit for.

May 14, 2011 Green Festival at McCormick Place Chicago Illinois US
May 3, 2011 Spencer Tech Elementary School Chicago Illinois USA

SpencrTajKids511.JPG   SpencrBarryWesRay511.JPG  Barry on bass, Wes on drums, Killer Ray on guitar... with third and fourth graders singing "The dog ate my homework" and "Sweet Home Chicago."  We rocked the house. Teachers and kids danced in the aisles!  Spencer school's motto is "look beyond the immediate."

Feb 18, 2011 Douglass Library Chicago Illinois usa
Jan 14, 2011 Rudyard Kipling Elementary Chicago Illinois USA

Miss Taj, Barrelhouse Bonni and guest singer Gloria Shannon led two assemblies totalling 400 students through blues and civil rights classic songs like "We Shall Not Be Moved" and "Sweet Home Chicago," and we talked about feelings: what we do when we're happy, sad or mad.  One teacher confessed to assigning extra homework when she's mad! Thanks to music teacher Christine Wyatt for hosting CSB.


Dec 9, 2010 Coles School Violence Prevention Summit Chicago Illinois USA

Thank you Apryl Moore Beasley and the staff. Miss Taj and Barrelhouse Bonni had a ball introducing a class of 3rd graders and one of 7th graders to expressing themselves, as an alternative to violence, by way of the blues! Some student comments:

THIRD Graders (below, Ms. Brown's class, which happens to be all boys!): "I learned that if you are mad you can make music to let out your emotions."  "I learned about old music from back in the day." "I learned that your feelings are important."  I learned that you need a beat to do the blues."  "I learned that you can express music, and it makes you feel good."

SEVENTH Graders: "I learned about the music. I learned about when you have a problem, what to do to solve the problem." "I learned how to walk away from my problem and that blues can cool me down, and how to write a blues tune."


Apr 30, 2010 Donoghue Elementary Chicago Illinois

Guest singers Larry Taylor and Gloria Shannon joined the regular band for an assembly concert at Donoghue Elementary School on the South Side in April 2010, as the buzz from the band members' fall workshops, sponsored by Rock for Kids, was still alive after the Chicago winter.After the assembly at Donoghue, kids gathered around her like grandchildren.

Mar 6, 2010 Sam's Uptown Cafe Charleston West Virginia

For the last night of the Chicago Blues tour of Charleston WV in March 2010, the band played a club date at Sam's Uptown Cafe. Manager Chris Bukant made sure the town turned out and was seen joining the dancers on the floor at the end of the last set. Even the politicians threw their hats in the blues ring, as Del. Meesha Poore sang a few songs with Killer Ray.

Mar 5, 2010 Simpson Memorial U.Methodist Church Charleston West Virginia

Chicago School of Blues band shared the spotlight at Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church with two local African American historians Organizer Anthony Kinzer, left, of WV Center for African-American Art & Culture Inc. invited local music historian and retired bass player Rabbit Jones to share his recollections in the program “From Blues to Gospel and Back.” Rabbit" Jones, the oldest living member of AFM Union local 136 is the collector of decades of pictures, posters and records. Band members from left next to Rabbit: Barrelhouse Bonni, Larry Taylor, West Side Wes, Killer Ray Allison.CSBandAnthonyRabbit2.JPG

Mar 4, 2010 WV State University Institute West Virginia

BandPlayWVStateHORIZ_resized.JPGWest Virginia has a little known history of great horn players from the pre WW II swing era. That's because both black and white bands swung through the coalfields on their way from the east coast to the midwest. Today's horn players are related to or learned from the masters who stopped often in the Appalachian states. Bob Redd on trumpet and Dugan Carter on sax played in their own jazz band, Full Flavor before joining the Chicago School of Blues onstage at West Virginia State University, a historically black college. Guest singer Larry Taylor from the West Side of Chicago invoked the spirits of Howlin’ Wolf, Johnnie Taylor and James Brown. West Virginia’s first lady of soul, Lady D, arranged for the concert and got to sing a little too. The diverse crowd enjoyed the diverse show!

Mar 4, 2010 Emmanuel Baptist Church Charleston West Virginia

The band was glad to bring their music to a wide-ranging group of youngsters who gather at this church for an afterschool program.

Oct 16, 2009 Chalmers Elementary Chicago Illinois

West Side Wes already knew some of the teachers at Chalmers, which is right in his neighborhood. The school-wide assembly, sponsored by Rock for Kids, proved to be a relaxing break for both teachers and students, as well as passing on some very important musical history and keeping the blues alive.

Oct 1, 2009 Donoghue Elementary Chicago Illinois

Donhue1209CCGetDown.JPGOct. – Dec. 2009: Afterschool weekly blues workshops, Donoghue Elementary Guitarist Killer Ray Allison and bass player C.C. Copeland were able to show kids the basics of their instruments. Kids had a chance to rap to the blues, and also learn the words to classic blues tunes. During over two months of Friday after school workshops at Donoghue Elementary, the blues guys figured out how to meet the hiphop kids halfway. Rap rhymes were done to a funky guitar and bass riff; students learned how to sing the old stuff too. Let the good times roll! See the video under LINKS. This Chicago School of Blues program was sponsored by Rock for Kids.

Aug 14, 2009 Rock for Kids Family Concert Chicago Illinois

SunTimesCSBAug09_resized.jpgRayAbbWesCCBonni2009814RFKPhoto.jpg In the Chicago Sun-TimesDave Hoekstra wrote on Aug. 21, 2009: "Last week Rock for Kids hosted a two-hour workshop at Buddy Guy's Legends. The organization hooked up with Chicago HOPES, a branch of Chicago Public Schools that tutors children living in shelters. Chicago HOPES brought 115 children and mothers from Chicago shelters to Legends, which donated the space. "Barrelhouse singer-pianist Bonni McKeown tutored the children on blues lineage, playing with a band that included blues guitarist Ray Allison, bassist Carl Copeland, saxophonist Abb Locke and drummer West Side Wes. The kids in the audience were ages 1 to 15."

Jul 1, 2009 Homeless Shelter Workshops Chicago IL

Sponsored by Rock for Kids in various locations around the city, these Chicago School of Blues summer workshops offered children an informal opportunity to write and sing their own blues tunes and get a close up look at the musicians' instruments.


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