Expect a spectacular performance on Wednesday, August 21 at noon as the Pell City Public Library welcomes Blues musician extraordinaire, B. J. Reed along with the Alabama Blues Project for its 2019 Adult Summer Reading and Programming Finale.
B.J. Reed’s richly captivating vocals bring the nostalgic sounds of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and other Jazz and Blues greats to life, and have brought her critical acclaim at notable events from coast to coast. She discovered early that her renditions of songs sung by musical greats such as Aretha Franklin were wonderful tools for entertaining her 10 siblings in her hometown of Pickens County, Alabama. Because she loved working with children, and realized first-hand the value of music in shaping one’s self-confidence, she developed her own musical education program which she has presented in underserved schools all over Alabama.
A talented musician, she won the West Alabama Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 1990, 1993, and 1998. She was offered her first professional contract after being seen in competition at the prestigious Apollo Theatre in Harlem. She is highly regarded as one of Alabama’s best female vocalists due to her versatility and ability to masterfully perform all types of music. She has been described by critics as a “dynamic vocal genius extraordinaire whose moving vocal performances embrace strong spiritual, social, and philosophical values.” Her talent has afforded her the opportunity to perform at prestigious local, state and national entities.
Her association with the Alabama Blues Project began with the 2007 Spring After School Blues Camp, where she taught vocals to student participants. Founded in 1995 by two Tuscaloosa-based blues musicians, Debbie Bond and Michael McCracken, this organization established a “hands-on” after-school music-training program for underserved “at risk” students, aged 8 to 18 years old. The program has grown exponentially through the years achieving non-profit status, and receiving grants, and financial support from local businesses and individuals to fund its activities. As a result, this program has gained international recognition and awards, including the prestigious Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities for its educational after-school programs to at-risk children through the arts.
Ms. Reed is currently a vocal instructor, and serves as Executive Director of School Programs and Special Activities for the Alabama Blues Project. The organization continues to inspire youth, and to insure that the history of the blues, and its rich cultural heritage is passed on to the next generation.
The upcoming concert, showcasing the talents of B.J. Reed and the Alabama Blues Project is planned in connection with the library’s Adult Summer Reading Program, and will serve as the finale to Adult Summer Reading and Programming series. The music will be the highlight of the event, but guests are encouraged to linger for light refreshments and the camaraderie afterwards. Readers participating in the reading segment of the Adult Summer Reading series will want to stay for the drawings to take place at the conclusion of the event. Awesome prizes provided by the generosity of local merchants, the Pell City Library Guild, Writers Anonymous (Poetry-writing group), and private donors will be given away to those lucky enough to have their name drawn from the “hat.” Each entry in the drawing represents a book read by a participating reader in the Adult Summer Reading program during the duration of the 2019 Summer Reading and Programming series.
The concert featuring B.J. Reed and the Alabama Blues Project on Wednesday, August 21 at noon is free and open to the public, and you are invited! Be sure to join the fun!