Brews for Blues Event Supports Music Education

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COLUMBIA - Flat Branch Pub & Brewing helped raise money for The Blues in the Schools Program and The Roots N Blues N BBQ Foundation Thursday night.

A portion of the proceeds from all Bluesberry Lager sales will be donated to the programs.

"I'm a firm believer in music education in our schools," said Tom Smith, founder and owner of Flat Branch Pub and Brewery. "Music was always a part of my education. Unfortunately in these days of massive budget cuts the arts are often some of the first programs that are cut."

The Blues in the Schools program is helping to fill in around the edges and reach our students a little earlier.

"It's not simply music education, it's music history, it's art, it's really a wide ranging program," said Smith.

The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival has brought music education to thousands of children with the Blues in the Schools program. Students learn about the history and origins of blues music.

"We started it back in 2007. We're going into our seventh year of the festival and of Blues in the Schools program," said Steve Sweitzer, co-founder of Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. "Music means life. It's a way to bring people together from every walk of life."

The goal is to expand the program across the state of Missouri.

"We're in a dozen of 19 schools right now, but we'd like to be in all 19, but we need the funds," said Sweitzer.

Several music educators also attended to raise awareness.

"I'm here tonight to celebrate Blues in the Schools," said Pam Sisson, music specialist with Columbia Public Schools. "It gets you in touch with your feelings. Blues is exceptional when it comes to accepting diversity and learning about the United States history."