House of Blues: music foundation partners with Technical Arts

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, an organization aiming to advance student careers in the performing and technical arts, is partnering with the school to immerse students in the music industry, with a focus on the behind the scenes happenings of performances.


House of Blues Music Forward Foundation has impacted over one million kids, as well as invested $25 million in providing workshops and showcases, kickstarting careers in the industry for over 25 years.

By Ani Tutunjyan and Dennis Galin

Lights, sound, action.

These are just some of the backstage components needed to stage a performance.

The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, a Los Angeles-based organization that focuses on accelerating career skills for youth through music, will be emphasizing the technical arts in its collaboration with the school, the only school selected to participate in the partnership in the San Fernando Valley.

House of Blues is an American chain of live music concert halls and restaurants founded in 1992 by Isaac Tigrett, the co-founder of Hard Rock Cafe, and Dan Aykroyd, co-star of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

In 1993, House of Blues established the International House of Blues Foundation, the initial name of Music Forward, to provide services for the youth through arts programs.

The partnership’s goal is to promote and enhance the school’s technical theater department, lighting design, stage design, film and business aspects of the industry.

“What the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation wants to do is mentor and teach our kids the behind the scenes aspects of performing arts, and the ins and outs of the music industry from the backstage component,” said Performing Arts Magnet Coordinator Ms. Fanny Arana.

The semester will kick off with numerous workshops beginning in February which will introduce students to various career pathways in the music industry including participation on artistic teams, venue teams and production careers through live performances, panel discussions, and hands-on activities.

Ms. Arana stresses the importance of students’ awareness of these different career pathways.

“Realistically, you’ve got people on stage and that’s great, but without sound and lights, you’ve got nothing,” she said. “You’ve just got a bunch of people standing around in the dark yelling at each other. Without documentation and the business aspect of it, you’re not going to have an audience. Who markets it? Who gets the word out? How do you get the word out? There is so much that goes into planning a show.”

Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to job-shadow, create a personal brand and craft a resume.

“Networking will be a key component to getting our students jobs in the industry,” said Ms. Arana.

Students involved in the Technical Theater Department will be most involved in the partnership.

“The program teaches responsibility and accountability,” Jude Struble, a technical arts student, said. “You have to know what you’re doing with other people. I’m excited to involve myself and learn more about the industry.”