Music Educator

My musical journey began in the 5th grade, in 1961 when I played drums in the All-City Honors Band for the Columbia Public Schools music program through 6 Grade. In 7th – 9th Grade I played in the All-City Orchestra and Marching Band. I started playing a little guitar at age 12. At 15, I met Big Babe Martin, and he Taught me to play bass guitar. I’ve played with Babe on and off from the late 60’s. In 1985 he formed Chump Change Band and asked me to play Bass with the group. We still play in Chump Change Band today. This Blues and R & B group has opened for numerous blues legends including John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Bobby Blue Bland, Albert King, Albert Collins, Luther and Bernard Allison, and Koko Taylor over the last 30 years through an 8 state touring area. In 1998 Big Babe Martin and The Chump Change Band received International attention when our cd release “Ain’t It Funny” won Alberta Canada’s Real Blues Magazines’ Best Unsigned Blues Band Award. In 1999, we joined The Mid-America Arts Alliance Touring Roster. We are still moving and grooving playing our style of Blues and R & B wherever and whenever we are invited.

In 2001, I started substitute teaching for Columbia Public Schools during the touring offseason and fell in love with teaching. I worked as a Substitute Teacher from 2001 – 2011; my students knew me as Brother Smith. In 2005, I was asked to become a Home Bound Teacher for Columbia Public Schools. I did this periodically from 2005 – 2015. I received my Adult Education Certification in 2007 and have been Teaching GED and HiSET classes ever since.

James “Smitty” Smith

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