Six-string therapy: Blues festival benefits program that provides guitars, lessons to lockups, schools - Albuquerque Journal

Six-string therapy: Blues festival benefits program that provides guitars, lessons to lockups, schools

The eighth annual blues festival will be held from 5-10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at Revel in Albuquerque. The proceeds go to help The Freedom in Music Project. (Courtesy of Freedom in Music Project)

Phil and Linda Oliveira work hard to create a community of people who help one another.

Through their Freedom in Music Project, the couple raised money to provide guitars and lessons to youth detention centers and men’s and women’s recovery academies, to give people at the facilities a positive outlet.

The Oliveiras rely on donations and grants to help keep the nonprofit going. They also rely on their signature event, an annual blues festival, to help raise the money.

This year the event, the eighth annual, is being held from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at Revel.

“We had to do the event virtually last year, and that didn’t work out so well,” Phil Oliveira says. “This is our chance to get back to an in-person event to raise some money. Daniel Chavez, the owner of Revel, was kind enough to give us the space for the event. He’s been a big supporter of us, and we’re lucky to have that support.”

Three bands will perform, Oliveira says.

Chris Raven will open the show, followed by Spiral Pilots. The High Desert Blues Band will close out the evening.

“All of the artists are donating their time,” Oliveira says. “We’re humbled that they would do this, because it’s important to keep music education moving forward.”

In addition to the music, there will also be a raffle and an auction.

“This helps us raise the money,” he says. “We have signed guitars from Popa Chubby and Justin Johnson, just to name a few.”

Proceeds from the event not only help to purchase guitars but also items such as guitar strings, picks and other things needed to maintain the guitars. The facilities visited also receive a written curriculum on the history of the six-string guitar. It includes photographs of how to play chords, tablature and basic tempo.

Oliveira says the program has also made its way to Albuquerque Public Schools.

The Oliveiras have donated guitars to both Highland and Albuquerque High schools in the city.

“Last year, we delivered 32 guitars to the schools,” he says. “There were also six delivered to (Ernest) Stapleton Elementary School in Rio Rancho. When you see any of these kids pick up a guitar and their mood completely changes, it’s humbling. Every time we deliver guitars, I cry because I know how important programs like this are to students.”

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