Educational Recommendations

Lecture/Concert #1: History of American Roots Music

“Mr. Kilby’s “History of American Music” lecture, demonstration, performance was an outstanding expose of the American musical tradition from slave work songs to modern rock and roll, blues and jazz music taking the audience of over 300 musicians and other student artists on a journey through American history using popular music styles as the vehicle.  Each stop of the voyage was fully explained by George who outlined political, economical and social changes in American society that led to specific stylized permutations of the popular music of the day.  In doing this, Mr. Kilby directly related the art form of music to American history in such a way that it was tremendously easy for the students to see their own American culture reflected in art of the day.

I highly recommend this presentation by any school that is actively teaching music and especially for those not offering arts instruction as it shows the powerful message that musical artists bring to a society.”

David A. Hammond – Denver School of the Arts

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Racism, Reconciliation, and the Blues Recommendations:

Mountain View High School:

“The performance began with Phil Wiggins singing a field holler…this was a very genuine and personal introduction to what it meant to be forced to work for others and stripped of basic human rights.”

“Their professionalism and compassion were on display from the time they arrived on our campus.  They enlisted the help of a number of my students, and George took the time to teach the kids how to set up and explained the function of various pieces of equipment.  So many other artists treat students as inferior or unintelligent.  George took the opportunity to engage the students in learning how to produce a show and what it takes to be a professional musician.  As the musical journey continued, both George and Phil shared personal stories of their experiences growing up in the South from different racial perspectives, and how they found prejudice and misconception from their families and communities.  In our current American landscape, our students are dealing with their own struggles with divisiveness.  However, the most poignant moment was when the entire audience joined the group in singing “Black Man on the Corner”.  Watching students demonstrate such vulnerability and take a risk was truly a gift.”

“I cannot give this program enough praise for the insight, musical background, and captivating showmanship that allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the racial, political, and economic differences in our American society and offers an opportunity to come together to find a new perspective about our shared experiences, develop empathy, and ultimately learn to forgive each other and ourselves.”

Peter Toews, Director of Bands, peter.toews[at]


Aspen Country Day School:

“The band performed with conviction; Phil Wiggins has a timeless voice, and his harmonica playing sent chills down my spine. [Kilby’s] guitar work on the blues reflected the gritty reality of old time musicians, and [his] explanations of both the blues chord progressions and “blue” or bent notes and their connection to the African ear and musical sensibilities was spot on, and easily taken in by our music students… [the] song about the man on the corner brought us nearly to tears.” [Black Man on the Corner (Kilby)]

Bill Capps, Music Director, 970 963 1330 (C) 630 310 9374  Billcapps[at]

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