Six String Therapy: Blues Festival Benefit Program That Provides Guitars, Prison Lessons, Schools


The eighth annual blues festival will be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 24 at Revel in Albuquerque. Profits are donated to 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 each other.

Through their Freedom in Music project, the couple raised funds to provide guitars and lessons to youth detention centers and male and female rehab academies, to give people in the facility a positive outlet.

The Oliveiras rely on donations and grants to help maintain the nonprofit organization. They also rely on their flagship event, an annual blues festival, to raise funds.

This year’s event, the eighth annual, will be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 24 at Revel.

“We had to do the event practically last year, and it didn’t work out so well,” says Phil Oliveira. “This is our chance to come back to an in-person event to raise funds. Daniel Chavez, the owner of Revel, was kind enough to give us the space for the event. He has been a great supporter of us, and we are fortunate to have this support.

Three groups will perform, Oliveira says.

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

“All artists give of their time,” says Oliveira. “We are delighted that they are doing this because it is important to advance music education. “

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

“It helps us raise funds,” he says. “We have signed guitars from Popa Chubby and Justin Johnson, to name a few.”

Proceeds from the event not only purchase guitars, but also items such as guitar strings, picks and other items needed for guitar maintenance. The facilities visited also receive a written program 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 public schools in Albuquerque.

The Oliveiras donated guitars to the city’s Highland and Albuquerque high schools.

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

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