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Columbia Missourian

District brings Blues in the Schools to Columbia fourth-graders

By Jessica Thomas
February 15, 2013 | 4:44 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Blues in the Schools, a music education program, has been added to the Columbia Public Schools fourth-grade curriculum, according to Thumper Entertainment, the group that organizes the Roots ‘N’ Blues ‘N’ BBQ Festival.

Blues in the Schools is a national program that brings artists to elementary schools to teach students about the history and culture of blues music. Students also learn communication skills and write and perform an original song. It is one of The Blues Foundation’s programs, but is supported locally by the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Foundation.

The Blues in the Schools program started at Grant Elementary School in 2007, Thumper president Betsy Farris said. The program is now in place at 11 of the 19 Columbia public elementary schools.

"The program has been such a success it has been written into the Columbia Public Schools curriculum," Farris said.

The news release said the foundation board of directors wants to expand the program to all 19 Columbia elementary schools by the end of the year. Right now, the board’s goal is to raise funds and awareness for the program.

Farris said a further hope is to expand this program to other grade levels in elementary school, but right now the focus is on providing the program to all fourth-graders in Columbia.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.