Artist In Residence

 

Seeing Red, Teaching Blues

By MATT SCHWENKE
Lake Geneva Times, Lake Geneva WI.


   Conjuring up the sounds of Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed, Geneva Red and her juke joint band companion Jackie 5 & Dime, who together make up The Original Delta Fireballs, brought their love of music to Central - Denison Elementary School students last week and ended their stay with a performance in the school's gym last Thursday.

   "We've only been working with the kids for three days now," said Red during the performance, "and it is always amazing how quick the children can pick up what we try to teach them."
   Acting as artists in residence, Red and Jackie 5 & Dime, aka Jack Wolworth, worked with the fifth-grad class for an hour and a half a day for three days to teach them about the blues in general and, more specifically, how to play the harmonica.
   The fifth-grade kids involved were all given Geneva Red Delta Horn Harmonicas made by Hohner Harmonicas. The Braden Dental Center sponsored the event and proviced the harmonicas for each student.
   Before the students joined in the performance, The Original Delta Fireballs warmed up the standing-room-only crowd with drums, guitar, harmonica and the vocals of Red.
   Proving to be talented beyond the blues, Wolworth, while playing drums with his feet, added the bluegrass sounds of a banjo to a Howlin' Wolf tune while Red later changed her blues attack into a subtle jazz purr for a tune by Billie Holiday.
   Besides having to learn songs to perform with the band, the students were also charged with the task of coming up with their own stage names for the evening.
   Calling the students up to join Red and Wolworth were surrounded with aspiring musicians with names like Roxy Pink, Oakley Rider, Crack the Hack, Nickity Nack, Ice Cold and The Cool Cucumber.
   As a few students recounted their experiences with Red and Wolworth, as well as what they learned, for the audience between song, the fifth-grade class added its harmonica playing in force for a collage of blues songs like "Need My Baby" and "Old Helena Blues" that eventually ended with the blues staple "Let the Good Times Roll."
   "We're gonna make this place feel like an old juke joint," said Red before leading the group into its final song "The blues is about feeling good."

 

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