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Letter from the Director Ask Emerson Best Buddies Spotlight Conversation Starters e-Buddies of the Month e-Buddies in Action In Your Own Words

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In Your Own Words

The Best Buddies Blues Band

Ain't nothin' like the blues to brighten your day

And so goes the song of the Best Buddies Blues Band from Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I started this group in the fall of 2005 at the insistence of a couple of parents who had their intellectually challenged sons in the elementary band program and wanted to see their involvement in an integrated band continue into high school. I promised them a group that kept their children with their peers, while providing them a higher level of motivation, participation and integration. Who would have thought it would grow to this?

Ain't nothin' like this band to come your way

And so it was that spring meeting that my wheels started turning - all summer long. We'll just play the blues. Everyone likes the blues. The peers will play bass, guitar, keys, and drums. It's only 3 chords. The songs would basically be the same. Sounds like it could work? The peer buddies would have to play an instrument they'd never played before - definitely a challenge! The intellectually challenged students could play small percussion instruments and maybe do some singing. They could play a pentatonic scale on the xylophones. Then they could play any note at anytime and play a real jazz solo! That's it! The students from the FIAEP class (Functionally Integrated Alternative Education Program) would be on an equal playing level as their peers (already members of the Best Buddies Chapter at LeBoldus). Authentic inclusion!

The Best Buddies Blues Band

And so we started up in the fall of 2005 with 4 FIAEP students and 8 peer Best Buddies. We played 5 'gigs', got some 'ink', and we really found our groove. We doubled our numbers the next year, played 16 gigs, got 'air' and TV exposure and hit the road for a tour to Saskatoon. Today, all of the FIEAP students are in the band (and the graduates, too). We have 20 plus gigs booked so far and it's only November! We have more gigs and road trips and STANDING OVATIONS to come!!

Ain't nothin' like the blues to put a smile upon your face

And so what started out as an idea of what was possible has turned into a band that leaves a smile on the face of every band member, every family member, and every audience member! Where else does a high school student get this genuine response on a regular basis? We wear cool shirts, ties, hats and glasses. We sell our DVD's and T-shirts and even have our own song, video, and website! As Robbie says, "We're ROCK STARS!!"

Ain't nothin' like this band in any old place

And so what started out as a plea for the boys, has turned into a band that reaches down into the souls of all involved. We warm people's hearts, put a lump in their throats, and bring them to their feet with a smile on their face and tears in their eyes!

The Best Buddies Blues Band

And so it goes. The power of music is blended perfectly with the power of authentic inclusion and the world is a better place for it. Our world is a better place because of the Best Buddies Blues Band! As these students let their "little lights shine", our lives are brightened! Our step is quicker; our load is lighter and it's easier to get up and go to school. It is literally my pleasure and that of the students, their families and friends, and the thousands of people who have seen us perform! Take Care and God Bless!

Ain't nothin' like this band with hearts of gold
Ain't nothin' like the blues to reach down in your soul
The Best Buddies Blues Band

Chris Hamilton, director

rcsd.ca/leboldus/BBBB/BQUAD.html


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