The Blues Schools Program, located on Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs, began in 2000. Pres. Carolyn W. Gaines, the program’s founder, produced 2000 projects from 2000 to 2014. Many of these projects have exposed inner-city students in Los Angeles, Pasadena and Palm Springs to premier venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, Cerritos Center Performing Arts, The Greek Theatre, Lillian Rose New Walt Disney Center located downtown L.A., and Cal State L.A. University Concert Hall. The students saw concerts with blues artists like my father Roy Gaines, B.B. King, Keb Mo, Guitar Shorty, Shemekia Copeland, Ray Charles, Ike Turner, Taj Mahl and jazz great Lisa Terry.
The students also attended Herbie Hancock’s sound check with his best friend Carlos Santana at The Hollywood Bowl. Pasadena Unified School District students attended Lillian Rose Walt Disney Concert Hall “Opening Day” with legendary jazz-classical flutist Hubert Laws and blues-jazz guitarist-vocalist Roy Gaines. Los Angeles Unified School District students met Blues Superstar Buddy Guy at The Greek Theatre. Mr. Guy purchased his concert tickets for the kids to see his opening act & late great Ray Charles.
LAUSD students did meet and greets with The King of Blues B.B. King and Roy Gaines at The Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre. Mr.King shared time with the music students after his performance and shared great stories about his life. The students also met Guitar Shorty, Keb Mo, Shemekia Copeland, and Taj Mahl, which helped them see the impact of blues on modern American music.
The Blues Schools Program is a non-profit 501c 3 organization which serves kids of various communities by working with schools to educate students on the historical values of blues music. Exposing young people to blues music teaches them the value of hard work as well as some valuable lessons about life. The Blues Schools Program is endorsed by Virginia Roads Elementary, 54th Street Elementary, Angeles Mesa Elementary, 74th Street Elementary, Susan Miller Dorsey High Schools, Crenshaw High School, and Washington Prep High School.
The Blues Schools Program is also endorsed by the following community leaders and government officials:
- Roy Romer – former LAUSD superintendent
- Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke – Former U.S. Congresswoman and LA County supervisor
- Kweisi Mfume – former NAACP CEO and President
- James Hahn – former LA mayor
- Dianne Feinstein – U.S. Senator
- Diane E. Watson – former U.S. Congresswoman
- Gray Davis – former California mayor
- Mark Ridley-Thomas – LA County supervisor
- Nate Holden – former LA City Councilman
- Bernard Parks – former LA police chief and City Councilman
- Karen Bass – U.S. Congresswoman
- Laura Richardson – Former U.S. Congresswoman
- Janice Hahn – U.S. Congresswoman
- Cerritos Performing Arts Center
- The Southern California Blues Society