Jackie Scott, a Norfolk blues singer who has been involved with youth Blues Camps in Chicago in recent years, said that the concept will come to Hampton this summer.
"My trip to Chicago was a success!" she wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "Just got word that we have been approved to have a Blues Camp here in the 757!"
The local camp will take place the week of July 21 at The American Theatre in Hampton, she said. As many as 30 students will attend. Students are chosen based on auditions.
All details are yet to be worked out, but Scott said that Fernando Jones, founder of the Blues Camp concept and leader of the Chicago-based Blues Kids Foundation, will be in Hampton to lead the sessions.
As is the case with Chicago camps, tuition to the local Blues Camp will be free, but parents will cover any necessary room and board. Jones started Blues Camp in Chicago but he's since expanded to hold sessions in California, Texas and Minnesota. All are run by the Blues Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable organization.
"We have some kids who are interested from California and Texas, who have never been to Virginia," Scott said. "It's open to anybody, not just from the 757 ... I'm excited about it. I'm hoping it will be a success and that the kids in this area will take advantage of the opportunity."
Jones flew here to hold a Blues Camp audition in Hampton back in February. Scott said that Jones will hold another local audition April 27 at Woodwinds Plus, 555 E. Settlers Landing Road, in Hampton.
Jones started Blues Camp at Columbia College in Chicago. The concept is simple. Talented young musicians get to spend a week honing their blues skills in classes and workshops. Jamming is rampant and well-known blues musicians occasionally drop in to give the youngsters extra inspiration.
As I described in a feature last summer, guitarist William "MoBetta" Ledbetter from Hampton and Newport News drummer Robert Martin Walters both attended the 2012 camp in Chicago. There, they got the opportunity to meet blues legend Buddy Guy and to jam at the famous Chicago blues club Kingston Mines with Eddie Shaw, a former member of Howlin' Wolf's band.