About Us

What is Blues in the Schools?

In 1978, the City of Chicago public schools introduced the "Blues in the Schools" (BITS) program which is still going strong more than three decades later and has since spread around the world. Professional blues musicians are invited into schools to conduct classes on the history of the blues, famous blues musicians, different styles of blues, and how to write, sing and perform the blues.

The Loyal Blues Fellowship is proud to have such a program in place. First offered in 2005 in the Quinte region, we have offered several programs featuring, local blues musician Rick Fines and a volunteer staff comprised of fans, educators, and music professionals.

Rick Fines BITS workshop at Centennial Secondary

In 2008 Harrison Kennedy was the featured artist. The BITS programs are tailored to specific age groups, ranging from one-hour sessions for junior elementary classes to week-long "artist in residence" for senior students. The Loyal Blues Fellowship has been successful in providing "Blues in the School" to primary and secondary schools in both the public and separate school boards in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.

How Can I Help?

Join the Fellowship and support our events. Monies raised through membership fees, live Blues shows, music workshops, the annual "End of Winter Blues" and "Frankford Island Blues" festivals, and corporate sponsorship all help to fund this great program.


How Can My School Participate in "Blues in the School" program?

To be put on the e-mail distrubution list for notices of upcoming "Blues in the School" sessions in the Quinte region please send and e-mail to bits@loyalblues.ca Please include in message name of the school our child attends, grade and home room teacher


We would especially like to thank all the corporate sponsors for their continuing support of the "Blues in the Schools" program.


LosCabos Drumsticks

Marshall Canada

Shure Canada

Latin Percussion

D'Addario, Canada

Long & McQuade


Media and Press about our program

Director's Office
Centre Hastings hosts Rick Fines for Blues in the Schools program

28 March 2007, Belleville, Ontario—Blues musician Rick Fines will spend the week of April 2 to 5 at Centre Hastings Secondary School giving workshops in songwriting and playing the blues.

Blues in the Schools presents students with blues history and the evolution of music in North America through story and song. This approach illustrates the huge influence blues music has had on all types of western popular music. Blues is used to teach examples of popular song structure and rhyming patterns, as well as to illustrate historical content.

The main objective of the program is to encourage both storytelling and self-expression through song. Students will examine how self-expression helps to understand and define beliefs, feelings and values. They will discuss the value of story-telling and song structure, such as verse, chorus and bridge. By the end of the week, students will write and perform at least two blues songs.

Rick Fines is a veteran of the folk and blues circuits in North America. He recently returned from Alabama where he took first place in the Sweetgum Bottom Acoustic Blues Competition. His song "Riley Wants His Life Back" won first place in the blues category of 2003 International Songwriting Competition, with B.B. King as one of the judges. He twice won the MapleBlues Award for Acoustic Act of the Year (1998, 1999) and was nominated three times for the MapleBlues Songwriter of the Year award. In 2004 Rick was nominated for the third time for MapleBlues Songwriter of the Year, as well as for the Best Male Vocalist award. His 15 years with Jackson Delta won recognition from both the Juno and the Handy Awards.

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For information, contact:
• Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, (613) 966-1170, or 1 800 267-4350, ext. 2354

Blues in the School Links & Resource Pages

The Blues Classroom - Martin Scorsese PBS series -The Blues

American Roots Music Education

Mr. Blues in the School - Fruteland Jackson's Homepage

The Blue Shoe Project

More Articles about Loyal Blues BITS Programs