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Blues singer performs in Ticonderoga

Teaches students about music, history, race

Bluesman Guy Davis marked Martin Luther King Day with a performance at Ticonderoga Elementary School Jan. 22, touching on music, history and race.

Bluesman Guy Davis marked Martin Luther King Day with a performance at Ticonderoga Elementary School Jan. 22, touching on music, history and race. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— Teacher Barb Peria used the concert as an opportunity to discuss the civil rights movement with her students.

“We started out with talking about civil rights, as Guy’s recent shows were involved with storytelling in that realm,” Peria said. “We read ‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963’ and viewed parts of the Spike Lee documentary ‘Four Little Girls,’ about the notorious racial bombing of an African American church during the civil rights movement.  

“The sixth graders have also viewed Guy’s interview on MSG in New York and in our investigation of the biography genre have read Guy Davis’ ‘The Routes of Blues’,” she added. “The students are very excited about this storytelling genre in Blues music as many of them have never been exposed to it.  

“To wrap it all up students visited one of Guy’s favorite websites, tolerance.org, which is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center that focuses on teaching diversity, equality and respect in school and in our everyday lives” Peria said. “Students will use this and other websites to collect information for research projects on tolerance, diversity, and other current issues in the news.”

Money for the concert came from the Box Tops for Education program that Ti parents and teachers have participated in.

Davis is the son of actors/writers Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis. A musician, composer, actor, director, writer and bluesman, he has appeared on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and other national programs. He had a role in the television series “One Life to Live” and has acted on and off Broadway.

Throughout his career, Davis has dedicated himself to reviving the traditions of acoustic Blues.

Davis has done residency programs for the Lincoln Center Institute, the Kennedy Center and the State Theatre in New Jersey and works with “Young Audiences of NJ,” doing classroom workshops and assembly programs all across the country and in Canada for elementary, high school and college students.

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