JUNE 18, 2010
The audition-only blues camp for kids pairs all-star staff with budding musicians.
Eugene, OR — Twenty-two hundred miles from the blues capital of the world, 12-year-old Savanna Coen has been studying the original, long-gone masters of the genre, from Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy to Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton — and belting out the numbers around town for the past year. Her tutelage paid off recently when she was notified that she has won one of just 10 spots for out-of-staters, to attend a first-of-its-kind blues camp in Chicago, taught by some of today’s modern blues masters.
Blues Kids camp, run by award-winning educator and musician, Fernando Jones, will begin with a kick-off picnic at Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation — onsite at the original Chess Records building — in Chicago on Sunday, July 4. Instruction will begin the next day and go through Friday, July 9.
Students, intermediate through advanced, grades 6-12, will receive professional instruction at the camp’s location at Columbia College Chicago. Campers are put into ensembles and work throughout the week not only on classic blues songs, but learn about blues history, culture, songwriting, and musicianship. The week culminates in a Thursday performance at the South Shores Cultural Center and a black-tie gala performance at the legendary Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Club.
Savanna auditioned by YouTube video, performing the Etta James standard At Last, which she also performed during Kidz Rock this past spring (http://tinyurl.com/23qzbyn) at Cozmic Pizza. Though she has been performing regularly throughout the Eugene area for two years, it has mostly been with a single guitarist. At camp, she will front an eight-piece ensemble, including several guitarists, a pianist, bass player, drummer, and harmonica player.
Savanna will perform just before leaving for camp on the Saturday Market stage on Saturday, June 26 at 10:00 p.m. Then, when she returns, she will kick off Kidz Rock Downtown at the Broadway Plaza on July 14 at 7:00 p.m. On July 28th, she will sing the national anthem at PK Stadium before the Ems face off with the Spokane Indians. Saturday, August 7, she will perform at the Willamette Valley Blues & Brews Festival. Friday, August 27, she will participate in the Rooster Jam on the Broadway Stage at the Eugene Celebration. And on September 11, she will again appear on the Saturday Market stage at noon.
For more information about the camp, visit www.BluesKids.com. To hear more of Savanna’s music, visit www.savannacoen.com.