Blues in the Schools is an in-class and after-school arts education program for all grades that employs blues music and history to teach not only music, but also self-esteem, cultural diversity and self-expression. Continuing the Chicago Blues Fest’s long-standing tradition

of opening the festival with a performance by Chicago students from the Blues in the Schools program, this year’s group once again hails from the Stone Scholastic Academy, one of the many schools bene ting from this wonderful program.

Katherine Davis (see Saturday’s Front Porch stage listing for full bio) has deservedly earned a place among the highest ranks of traditional blues and jazz vocalists on the Chi- cago scene, maintaining constant visibility in blues and jazz clubs, as well as in local theater productions. Davis has been involved with the Blues in the Schools for many years, contributing her talents for both singing and for working with children. And Davis has recently found a new way to bring art to inner city children through her role as a docent at Chicago’s Smart Museum.

Eric Noden (see Saturday’s Front Porch stage listing for full bio) is an accomplished guitarist in the style of the pre-war Delta blues players. He not only teaches in the Blues in the Schools, but at the Old Town School of Folk Music as well, and has made previous appearances on the Chicago Blues Fest stages with Katherine Davis and the Stone Academy.

Born and raised in Chicago, Tim Gant is primarily known as a smooth jazz keyboard musician, writer and producer. He has contributed to recordings by Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Poi Dog Pondering, Liquid Soul, and others. Gant played keyboards and clavichord on the Grammy-nominated Muddy Waters 100—A Tribute, on Raisin’ Music (2015). He also recorded on Aron Burton’s Earwig recording Past, Present, Future.

Alan Burroughs is a Chicago jazz guitarist who has performed and/or recorded with Martha Redbone, Art Porter, Philip Bailey, Adam Holzman, Charles Earland, and Miles Davis. Burroughs and Tim Gant contributed to producer Larry Skoller’s Ladysmith Chicago Gospel Experience, with the Ladysmith Red Lions of South Africa.

Longtime Chicago drummer Tino Cortes has a resume that extends back to performing with rent-party pianist Jimmy Walker, and he and Katherine Davis worked together many times in the past. Cortes currently plays drums with Tom Holland the Shuffle Kings.

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