By Patrick Gormley
The SAM Foundation has partnered with the Blues Society of Western New York (BSWNY) in providing a free monthly music program open to all school-aged youth in grades K through 12.
The Youth Mentoring Program was founded in 2014 and has been offered at several different locations across WNY. In 2017, the program found a permanent home at the West Falls Center for the Arts.
Working with local blues performers, the Blues Society has created a welcoming space for young, aspiring musicians of all capabilities. Program participants, and those accompanying them, learn about the history of blues, the art of improvisation and how varying instruments come together in one session to play a blues song. Educators also connect the history and culture of blues music to components of jazz, country, r&b and rock ’n’ roll.
In 2019, BSWNY Education Chair Fran Denk approached the SAM Foundation about sponsoring and promoting the Youth Mentoring Program. Through matching funds, the SAM Foundation has been able to support the Blues Society’s youth programming and keep it free for all participants.
The next Youth Mentoring Program will be held at 2 p.m. on March 14 at the West Falls Center for the Arts.