Bringing the Blues to Northern B.C.

Brandon Wint and Rick Fines
Students at iCount High School in Moricetown B.C.

At the National Arts Centre, we strive to be a catalyst for performance, education and learning in communities across Canada.

From February 26 to March 6, we are thrilled to be partnering with RBC Bluesfest so that we can deliver, for the first time ever deliver, RBC Bluesfest's Blues in the Schools (BITS) program to a classroom in Northern B.C.

For over a decade, the NAC's Hexagon project has been a leader in supporting education outreach across Canada and around the world through high-definition, next-generation  videoconferencing. It’s allowed us to “tele-mentor” musicians and teachers with students from as far as Iqaluit, New York City, Beijing and Oslo.

It’s that same technology that will connect Blues in the Schools instructors with 10 to 15 students at iCount High School in Moricetown B.C. (Wet'suwet'en First Nation), a small community located just north of Smithers.

Instructors Rick Fines and Brandon Wint will deliver one-hour sessions from the NAC's Hexagon studio in Ottawa to the B.C. students, who will be at the multiplex in Moricetown, close to iCount High School.

Blues in the Schools was created to promote, preserve and perpetuate the art, culture and heritage of blues music, and to examine the music’s influence on other genres. RBC Bluesfest brings artists/educators to Ottawa and pairs them with local musicians for a two-week residency in Ottawa-area schools. The 2014 RBC Bluesfest Blues in the Schools program runs in Ottawa from February 24 to March 7.

Integral to the program is the mandate of reaching out to students and involving them in a universal form of communication, namely music. Music reflects the feelings of the times. Through Blues music, students can learn how an oppressed people empowered themselves with song in order to cope. Our intent is to integrate students from different ethnic backgrounds and in this way teach harmony and coping skills that will lead to a more fulfilling school experience.

We wish the Moricetown students and Blues in the Schools teachers a fulfilling week…and great music.

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