Vermont Blues Retreat Daily Schedule 2021 (2022 Schedule TBD)

  • All classes, rehearsals and Wednesday through Friday evening performances will take place at Compass Music and Arts Center. Concerts are open to the public. Admission is a free will donation.
  • Saturday night’s concert (VBR All-Star Faculty Concert) will take place at Brandon Music, a small, intimate venue. Saturday’s concert is a ticketed event ($40). Approximately 40 seats are available. We expect a sellout. All VBR participants are automatically in the audience or participating if they are guest performers

Wednesday, August 11. Compass Music and Arts Center 

12 Noon  Participants arrive in time for lunch.

12:30  Introductions and orientation, including planning the evening concert (theme: Acoustic Blues). Performance is open to faculty and participants. A sign-up sheet will be available.  

1:00  Short performance by Faculty band.

1:30  Breakout groups — bands: half the participants go with half the faculty, etc. One group remains in the main hall, the other will play in the drum room where there will be a PA. We are likely to start with playing songs from the Standard Repertoire list we’ve provided ahead of time, or other appropriate songs.

3:00-3:15  Break

3:15 Full group session #1 with Paul and Dennis, Main Hall: Blues history and acoustic blues emphasizing Delta/Piedmont blues. Session includes demonstration of songs on acoustic guitars and vocals.

4:45 Breakout groups — by instrument:
Guitars: Paul & Dennis 
Bass: Kenny
Sax: Joe
Keyboards: Chuck
Drums: Jeff 

5:45 Dinner followed by 1 hour break. Non-commuters will have time to check into their lodging. We’ll evening concert performance order will be determined.

7:30-9:30 Evening concert: 
Acoustic Blues featuring faculty and participants.


Thursday, August 12. Compass Music and Arts Center.  Paul is out for the day, returns on Friday.

10 AM
  Studios open for practice and/or rehearsals (w/o faculty)

12 noon  Lunch

  Breakout groups by band: Bands play/rehearse

2:45  Full group session #2, Main Hall:

   Part 1  2:45-3:45: Kenny B  and Jeff Salisbury. Playing in the blues rhythm section
   Part 2  3:45-4:30 Joe Moore. Conceptualizing how to play single line melody instruments in the blues band

4:30  Breakout groups — by instrument

5:45  Dinner followed by 1 hour break.

7:30-10  Blues Jam

Friday, August 13 
Compass Music and Arts Center

10 AM  Studios open for practice and/or rehearsals (w/o faculty)

12 noon  Lunch

12:30-2:15  Breakout groups by band. We’ll use some of this time to select tunes and figure out who’s playing with whom.

 2:15-3:45  Full group session #3, Main Hall:  Paul and Chuck – Evolution of a 50+ year musical relationship: from their early years to Kilimanjaro and The Unknown Blues Band to touring with Paul Butterfield

3:45-4:30  Breakout groups by instrument 

4:30-5:30  Full group session #3, Main Hall: Faculty Roundtable  Experiences and Stories

5:30  Dinner and break – can include last minute rehearsing, etc.

7:30-10  Vermont Blues Retreat Participant Concert with some faculty joining them. We’ll draw up a performance plan for the evening: which bands will play, what tunes, and also determine which faculty will play in the individual bands. Faculty participation should be based on need and/or invitation.

Saturday, August 14. Afternoon at Compass, Evening at Brandon Music

Afternoon faculty will be
Paul, Chuck, Kenny B, Jeff, John Falk and Brian Hobbs. Joe is out for the entire day. Dennis returns for the evening concert.

10 AM  Studios open for practice and/or rehearsals (w/o faculty)

12:45  Review of last evening’s concert

1:00  Full group blues jam

2:30  Break

2:45  Session #5:
   Part 1  John Falk in the main room 
vocal approach
   Part 2  John Falk in the guitar room —
 Getting Your Guitar Sound  This session is mainly focused on guitar but open to the full group. Anyone not wanting to be part of that group can work with Paul, Chuck and Kenny B and Jeff.

4:30 Full Session #6: Harmonica Master Class with Brian Hobbs  Brian discusses his versatile approach on the harmonica.

5:30 Dinner, 1 hour break

7:30 – 9:45  Faculty Concert
at Brandon Music