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A Brief History

The Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, positively impacts the lives of children by celebrating the rich cultural heritage of American music through local educational programs. The Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation has brought joy and music education to thousands of children by providing the Blues in the Schools program. Students have the opportunity to write and perform with award-winning guest musicians and internationally recognized music educators in their classrooms.

Started in 2007 with just one elementary school, BITS has expanded to every elementary school in Columbia. BITS does so much more than celebrate music–it incorporates the visual arts, history, literature and social studies into a celebration.

MEET THE BOARD MEMBERS

Jamie Varvaro

Jamie Varvaro, President

President at AdVentures Advertising Consultants

Mary Wilkerson

Mary Wilkerson, Treasurer

SVP of Marketing, Boone County National Bank

Betsy Farris

Betsy Farris, Foundation Director

President Thumper Entertainment

Hilton Peeples

Hilton Peeples, Assistant Foundation Director

Assistant Festival Director, Thumper Entertainment

Kenneth Greene

Kenneth Greene

Custom Designer Monarch Jeweler

Julie King

Julie King

Festival Director, Thumper Entertainment

Richard King

Richard King

Partner Thumper Entertainment

Alicia Minor

Alicia Minor

CPA Howe & Associates, PC

Anne Kelly Moore

Anne Kelly Moore

President D & M Sound

Preston Bass

Preston Bass

Retired CPD and Coordinator of Safety & Security CPS

Chris Slusher

Chris Slusher

Attorney at Law, Holder l Susan l Slusher l Oxenhandler

Tom Smith

Tom Smith

President Flat Branch Pub & Brewing

Joe Moseley

Joe Moseley

Retired Vice-President Public Affairs Shelter Insurance

MEET THE MUSIC EDUCATORS

TJ Wheeler

TJ Wheeler

Music Educator

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Thomas

Music Educator

Glen Ward

Glen Ward

Music Educator

TESTIMONIALS

TJ Wheeler, Blues musician, historian, and educator

The power of Blues in the Schools is indisputable. It’s not only essential in creating young Blues enthusiasts, but in building character, pride in heritage, compassion, empathy, communication skills, conflict resolution and the importance of channeling one’s inner Blues in positive, creative outlet that makes one stronger from life’s challenges.

- TJ Wheeler, Blues musician, historian, and educator

Dr. Chris Belcher, Columbia Public Schools superintendent

Music has always been used to pass tradition and history from one generation to another. Blues history is the history of our nation. Through the Blues students learn about pride, slavery, freedom, civil rights and the movement of America toward a more profound democracy.

- Dr. Chris Belcher, Columbia Public Schools superintendent

Bev Borduin, Principal at Grant Elementary

The Blues in the Schools program has enriched the musical and social learning of the children at Grant Elementary School.

- Bev Borduin, Principal at Grant Elementary

Henry, student at Grant Elementary

Singing with TJ was great because it was fun to learn from someone who was an expert in the blues. I thought it was really cool that we got to write our own songs together and not just sing from a book. Writing, performing and recording our own songs made me feel like a professional!

- Henry, student at Grant Elementary

QUOTES

Gerald Ford, former President, United States of America

Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.

- Gerald Ford, former President, United States of America

Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997

A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science.” – Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,

- Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997

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