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October 17, 2023
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Time Details:
Bel Air Armory
37 N. Main St.
Bel Air, MD 21014
Free, but registration is required.
Seth Kibel 2020-4, photo by Margot Schulman
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Roots of the Blues: A Lifelong Learning Series

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Learn about the Roots of the Blues! Join us for one, two, or all three sessions! Free admission, but advance reservation is required.

Each session is from 10am-11:30am at the Bel Air Armory (37 N. Main Street). 

Explore the origins of the blues in post-Reconstruction times and discuss musicians such as W.C. Handy, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, and others. Trace the history of the northward migration to Chicago, culminating in the music Muddy Waters (1950s). Recordings, video excerpts, and live performances from the instructor will keep these presentations as lively and interesting as the music itself.

Seth Kibel is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier woodwind specialists, working with some of the best bands in klezmer, jazz, swing, and more.  Wowing audiences on clarinet, saxophone, and flute, Seth has made a name for himself in the Washington/Baltimore region, and beyond. He is the featured performer with The Kleztet, Bay Jazz Project, Music Pilgrim Trio, The Natty Beaux, and more.  Winner of 28 Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies), including “Best World Music Instrumentalist” (2003-11) and “Best Jazz Instrumentalist” (2005, 2007-8, 2011-14). His most recent recording, "When You're Smiling," was released in 2018 on the Azalea City Recordings record label.  His song "New Waltz" was the Grand Prize winner of 2016 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC), sponsored by the Songwriters' Association of Washington (SAW).  When he's not performing, Seth frequently lectures on a variety of topics in music history for numerous institutions, including the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Johns Hopkins and Towson Universities.

1)  Session 1 -- The Origins of the Blues (Tuesday, October 10, 2023)

We'll discuss the origins of this music in the American slave south and its evolution in the decades after Reconstruction, culminating in the music of W.C. Handy, the self-proclaimed "Father of the Blues."

2)  Session 2 -- The Blues Belters of the 1920s (Tuesday, October 17, 2023)

When blues entered the mainstream in the 1920's and took America by storm, it was through a cadre of female blues singers -- Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Albert Hunter, and Ethel Waters.  We'll examine the lives, careers, and music of these amazing women.

3)  Session 3 -- Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters (Tuesday, October 24, 2023)

Through life and music of the legendary Robert Johnson, we'll be able to examine the history and evolution of the Mississippi Delta blues, culminating in the life and music of Muddy Waters, who took the Delta Blues north to Chicago, plugged it in, and changed music history in the process.

This series is supported in part by the Bel Air Arts and Entertainment District and the Maryland State Arts Council.


Metered Parking is available on Main Street and at the Parking Garage (6 S. Hickory Ave). Please do not park in the lot to the right side or behind the Armory. 6 drop off spaces will be available directly in front of the Armory.

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