The Blue Shoe project
The Blue Shoe project. Every Child Deserves a Music Education
The Blue Shoe project

Program Details 2

The Mr. Blue Shoes program is a one hour, live music program for presenters interested in providing a meaningful educational program to their audiences on the subject of Blues music. The program starts with Mr. Blue Shoes entering the venue, with the house lights down. He begins a mysterious instrumental intro to capture the attention of his audience. They may not see him, but they hear him.

No words are spoken, only the melodic tones emitted from his signature Butterscotch-colored Fender Telecaster Guitar, appropriately named “The Bumble Bee”. He builds rapport with the audience, chiding them to strum the strings on the guitar, the first invitation for the audience to become part of the show. From there he works his way to the stage, further captivating the audience with the Blues tradition of call and response as his second hook.

Having the entire audience engaged, he begins to tell the story of the Blues that begins in West Africa, leading to sharecropping, the reasons behind The Great Migration, the electrification of the guitar, the urbanization of music and finally to Rock and Roll. Throughout the performance the audience is constantly engaged through call and response, question and answer, humor, singing, clapping and dancing to song.

Audiences who have never heard the music or seen a live performance are immediately engaged with stories of famous blues legends like Blind Willie Johnson, leading into the song “John the Revelator”. As the presentation peaks, Mr. Blue Shoes finishes the show with the grand finale, “The Wiggle Bounce”, his trademarked dance routine that has become a signature part of the program.

The song calls on about 30 volunteers from the audience (and later teachers) to join the performer on stage as he demonstrates the dance moves – “first you wiggle, then you bounce, wiggle, bounce, wave your hands, turn around, reach down touch the ground”. The program is then closed out and brought back down through a breathing exercise in which audience members are instructed to inhale and exhale, in a deep breathing yoga style. This humorous and entertaining exercise, untraditional for a traditional Bluesman, brings the entire audience back to calm as they depart the theater and return to the classroom.

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