Uptown Music Collective to present the 6th Annual Blues -A -Thon

Uptown Music Collective to present the 6th Annual Blues -A -Thon

June 6th at 7pm through June 7th at 7pm 2014
The Uptown Music Collective is set to present its sixth annual Blues-A-Thon fundraiser, taking place June 6th and 7th 2014.  The event will begin at 7pm on Friday, June 6th on Pine Street as part of Williamsport’s First Friday festivities before moving to the Uptown Music Collective at nightfall, and ending 24 hours later at 7pm on Saturday, June 7th

The Blues-A-Thon, sponsored in part by the Billtown Blues Association, is a unique fundraiser that has been held annually since 2009, and is intended to raise money to support the Uptown Music Collective, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school of music. “The idea is similar to relay for life, however instead of walking, participants pledge to play the blues for a certain portion of the 24 hour event,” said Dave Brumbaugh, Executive Director of the Uptown Music Collective. “For instance, each year I traditionally pledge to perform between 8 to 12 hours of the 24 hours, and then I ask my friends to sponsor me by giving me a certain number of dollars for each hour pledged.” All participants need to find sponsors to support their efforts with all funds raised from the event going directly to support Uptown Music Collective programs and operations with the greatest need.

Through the course of the event, participants explore different styles of blues, from Chicago blues to the rocking blues of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, with many of the hour or two hour slots acting as workshops on individual playing styles of artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf along the way. There’s even a blues based free jazz jam during the overnight session. “Around three or four in the morning things get a little crazy as we move into some deep Blues based Jazz and more free form ideas,” said Brumbaugh. The entire event is under the direction and supervision of UMC staff, teachers, guest performers, and area musicians. 

Over the years a key ingredient in the blues jam has become the guest artist, sponsored each year by the Billtown Blues Association, to open and close the event. Previous guest performers have included celebrated blues musicians Taylor Scott (2013), Dave Keyes (2012), Bob Margolin (2011), and Tas Cru (2010). 

“There’s nothing like learning a thing at the feet of someone who does it professionally. The fact that our students have the opportunity not only to watch, but to play alongside world class blues musicians is such an amazing opportunity,” said Brumbaugh. “Over the years the guest artists have all been so amazingly giving of their time and talent, most showing up to participate during much of the 24 hour event, far beyond the two hours they are contracted to perform. I hope that they get something great out of it too!” To that end David Keyes, the 2012 Blues-A-Thon guest artist said about the event “I am blown away and totally inspired by the energy and talent of the young blues people of the future that I have met here [at the Uptown Music Collective]. This is the future of blues, right here! The Blues – A – Thon is a concept that belongs in every blues society and community throughout the country”.

The guest artist for the 2014 Blues-A-Thon none other than Shawn Holt and the Teardrops, winner of the Blues Music Associations 2014 Best New Artist Debut Award for their album Daddy Told Me. Shawn Holt is the son of Blues Legend Magic Slim and is a star on the rise. Shawn Holt and the Tear Drops will be performing on Pine Street at 7pm to start the event, and also closing the event at 6pm in front of the Uptown Music Collective.  For more information about Shawn Holt and the Teardrops make sure and visit www.shawnholtandtheteardrops.com.

“This year’s Blues-A-Thon is especially exciting! On top of it being our 6th year of doing the event, this year’s event falls on the same weekend as the Billtown Blues Fest. The Blues-A-Thon will be a great warm up to the fest, especially with our guest artist Shawn Holt preforming.  It’s going to be the biggest blues weekend to hit the area in a long time,” said Jared Mondell, Marketing Director of the Uptown Music Collective. The Blues-A-Thon is open to the public throughout and will be simultaneously live-streamed to the internet via UStream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uptown-music-collective).  Donations in support of the school from the general public will be accepted during the event and on the school’s web page via PayPal.
The 24 hours of the Blues-A-Thon will break down as follows:
Shawn Holt and The Teardrops
The Black Strat Blues Co.
Lady Bird Sings the Blues Pt I
Killin' Floor: The Howlin' Wolf Hour
Baby Please Don't Go: The Muddy Waters Hour
In the Midnight Hour: R&B Blues Jam
Crosscut Saw: An Albert King Blues Jam
Crossfire: A Stevie Ray Vaughn Blues Jam
Bebop Blues and Beyond
Crossroads: Where Rock and Blues Collide
Little by Little: The New Blues
The Young Blood Beginning Blues Jam
The River City Blues Band
Doug McMinn
The River City Blues Band
The Black Strat Blues Co.
The Blues Brothers Teacher Jam
Shawn Holt and The Teardrops
Established in April of 2000, the Uptown Music Collective (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school of music) has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area, with an enrollment of over 125 students. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs old, but is open to all ages and levels. Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including most recently, With A Little Help From My Friends: A Tribute to The Beatles.

The Uptown Music Collective is committed to providing comprehensive music education to dedicated music students in the Williamsport community and surrounding areas. The school feels strongly about the role of music in creating well-rounded, thoughtful young people, and works to establish characteristics such as self-discipline and personal responsibility in each of its students through healthy habits such as practice and self- control. Uptown Music Collective students consistently perform at high levels not only musically, but also in their respective schools and as valuable members of other community organizations. 

In the weeks leading up to the Blues-A-Thon, Uptown Music Collective teachers have been working to prepare their students and instill in them a healthy respect and appreciation for this essential American music form. “The Blues is so important to the evolution of modern music, it is one of the seminal styles from which so much of what is played today comes from,” said Brumbaugh.
This year’s Blues-A-Thon is sponsored by the Billtown Blues Association. Media sponsor, WZXR and all of Backyard Broadcasting.  The Uptown Music Collective is located at 848 W. 4th Street.  For more information call (570) 329-0888 or visit www.uptownmusic.org.

(Information from Jared Mondell
Admissions and Marketing Director)

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