By Ryan Evans
Nov. 14, 2017
The Blues Foundation announced its 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award honorees on Tuesday, recognizing 12 individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the genre.
The Blues Society of Omaha is among the recipients that will be recognized at a Jan. 19 luncheon during the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. The nonprofit, which has promoted blues music in the Omaha and Lincoln areas since its founding in 1998, is being honored for BluesEd, its youth artist development program that has worked to teach blues performance and history to young people in the area since 2001.
According to a release from the Blues Foundation, BluesEd has cultivated seven active bands with more than 50 students who have performed at Blues Society events, local venues and festivals 104 times this year alone. Having recently grown from Omaha into Lincoln, the program enlists professional musicians to instruct 12 to 18-year-old musicians in blues repertoire, improvisation, stage presence and performing in a band.
Other 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award honorees include Document Records owners Gary and Gillian Atkinson, Maine music journalist Lucky Clark and blues scholar Dr. Timothy J. Fik, as well as festival organizers, promoters and venue owners.
Intended to recognize non-performers, the award recipients are determined on the basis of merit by a select panel of blues professionals through the nonprofit Blues Foundation. They are awarded in conjunction with the International Blues Challenge, a five-day music festival and competition on Beale Street that showcases winners of regional blues challenges from around the world. The 34th IBC is set for Jan. 16-20, 2018.
For more about the Blues Foundation and a complete list of 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award honorees, visit blues.org.
Note: KZUM is proud to be a past recipient of a Keeping the Blues Alive Award.