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Saturday April 19th 2014

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Beats on the Bus

By Jessica Forbes

For the first time in its 15 year existence, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is scheduled to visit Pensacola. Blues Angel Music will host the bus, which is a rolling recording and production studio that travels the U.S., stopping at schools, music festivals, trade shows, and more with the intent of introducing kids to and spreading the love of video and sound recording.

Though the bus has gotten close—those who attended Hangout Fest this year may have seen it on the festival grounds in Gulf Shores—it was the Blues Angel’s owner who got the bus rolling to Pensacola.

“Store owner Jim DeStafney, who also plays the part of George Harrison in the local Beatles tribute band ‘Not Quite Fab,’ had been aware of the bus for several years,” explained Wanda Breaux, marketing director at Blues Angel. DeStafney toured the bus at a recent National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Los Angeles and talked to the crew about adding Blues Angel as a stop. “Never having been to Pensacola, the Lennon Bus schedulers were delighted to add Pensacola to their Florida schedule,” said Breaux.

The bus is a non-profit venture committed to providing young people the opportunity to experience its “state-of-the-art mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility.” Spaces to record acoustic and digital instruments, editing bays, a green screen curtain, and numerous cameras in the front studio are just part of the elements stylishly stashed away throughout the interior. Three sound engineers travel aboard and conduct the tours, explaining recording and production techniques to visitors.

While in Pensacola for a two-day stop, school tours are scheduled in the mornings for over 150 middle school students. The bus will be open to the public both afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m. “Not Quite Fab” will perform at Blues Angel on Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. for added entertainment.

As part of Blues Angel’s belief in music education, in addition to offering music lessons, the store staff also—by appointment—give free tours of the store to classes and families during which they introduce children to the various instruments they sell.

“One of our store’s goals is to inspire a love for music in children that will last a lifetime,” said Breaux, who reported that the staff is excited about the chance to welcome locals to tour The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. “It will be a great opportunity for kids,” said Breaux, “we all can’t wait to see their faces light up when they see the inside of the bus.”

JOHN LENNON EDUCATIONAL TOUR BUS AT BLUES ANGEL MUSIC
WHEN: 2 – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 7
WHERE: Blues Angel Music, 657 N. Pace Blvd.
COST: Free
DETAILS: lennonbus.org and bluesangelmusic.com