The Thanksgiving Eve Blues Concert offered a couple of unique situations because it was hosted in a traditional facility. We understand this stream of thinking. Our knowledge and experience of places with a cross hoisted high do not often lend themselves to people dancing in the aisles. However, The Center’s people and mission are different. We exist to promote two primary relationships (Christ and others) as well as foster authentic community. The concert achieved both.
“Why put on a concert the day before Thanksgiving?” We responded with a little known fact that the biggest drinking night of the year is not New Years. It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Its been given the nickname ‘black-out Wednesday’. We would go on to explain instead of just shrugging our shoulders, we’ve decided to offer an alternative. After all, the best way to to serve the community would be to offer a free all ages show and allow those of us who don’t stay up late to experience the very cool genre of music called the ‘Blues’.
The Blues is an African-American music form that transverses a wide range of emotions and musical styles. Ever since the blues first developed, feeling has been the most essential ingredient. “Feeling blue” is expressed in songs whose verses lament injustices or express longing for a better life and lost loves, jobs,and money. The blues originate from what some have termed the Negro spirituals, dating back to the middle of the 18th century, when the slaves became Christians and began to sing and play Christian hymns. Depending on the religious community a musician belonged to, it could have been considered a sin to play this low-down music: blues was the devil's music because it did not mention God. Musicians were therefore segregated into two categories: gospel and blues singers, guitar preachers and songsters. However this all changed at the time rural Black music began to get recorded in the 1920’s. Both categories of musicians used very similar techniques: call-and-response patterns, blue notes, and slide guitars. Today, the music has evolved to include Christian ideas and scripture alongside life’s troubles. Central to the idea of a blues performance is the concept that, by performing or listening to the blues, one is able to overcome sadness and lose the blues. Or become grateful.
The blues often uses a the call and response pattern between with lead musician and others in the band. This pattern is often used in other forms of music as well as in the reading of scriptures. Have you repeated said ‘Amen’ when prompted. On Thanksgiving eve, we expanded the pattern of response to include the sharing of a light meal and dessert after the music ended. Those who stayed were given an informal time of getting to know one another as well as share life (both the good and bad).
The blues is life shared with others who understand all its ups and downs.