BETHLEHEM, PA – At Blast Furnace Blues, presented by Highmark Blue Shield March 27-29, at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA, audiences will enjoy three scorching days of music by Shemekia Copeland, Tommy Castro, the Heritage Blues Orchestra and over 15 other awesome blues acts. Guests looking for a different type of experience, however, may want to check out the festival’s hands-on Blues Masterclass Workshops taught by the artists themselves.
Designed for professional and student musicians, as well as fans of the blues, the workshops March 26-28 provide unique opportunities to learn the various elements that put the heart, soul and sound into the blues. For example, the “Blues Vocal Health and Techniques” workshop with award-winning singer Maria Woodford Spillane covers the essentials of blues singing, as well as vocal health and safety, with participants discovering basic vocal techniques, blues manipulations and even advanced blues methods.
In “Blues Vocal Performance” with singer and Blues Music Award winner Gaye Adegbalola, founding member of Saffire -The Uppity Blues Women, students learn how to incorporate storytelling techniques into their music. During the workshop, participants demonstrate what they’ve learned, receiving feedback from Adegbalola on their stage presence, pitch, rhythm, body language, projection and more.
Fans looking to mix history with mastery will want to check out “Blues Technique and Blues Duo” with Joe Filisko and Eric Noden. This class offers students the exclusive opportunity to study some of the blues legends including Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Little Walter and Big Walter Horton. Participants will discover the elements needed to sound like the greats, while learning how to understand instruments in different ways than they may be accustomed to.
Other masterclasses include “Blues Piano and Songwriting” with Roddy Barnes and “Intro to Blues Dancing – Parts 1 and 2 ” with Canadian Swing Champions Mike and Dan Legenthal. On March 28, students can also go behind the camera to photograph the stars of Blast Furnace Blues as they learn the in’s and out’s of concert photography from veteran concert photographer Brian Hineline.
In the “PHOTOPASS Concert Photography Workshop,” students discover tips and techniques for taking concert photos from Hineline, who has photographed hundreds of shows for Rolling Stone, Time, The New York Times and other media outlets. Following a classroom session, students head to the festival, where they have the chance to photograph the artists including Tommy Castro & the Painkillers, John Nemeth and The Bo-Keys and more!
For more information or to sign up for the Blues Masterclasses, visit www.steelstacks.org today. For the PHOTOPASS class, you can register at the Banana Factory community arts center.