STAFF

_DSC0215.png

ASHLEY R. WHEAT

Executive Director

Ashley R. Wheat joined the Alabama Blues Project as Executive Director in February 2019 because of the joy she found in her own experiences in music education.  From 6th grade through college, she played clarinet in school bands and became enamored with instrumental music.  Ashley holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BS in business administration from Stillman College.  She has over a decade of experience in the corporate world, gaining a wide array of skills in management, human resources, and information technology. 


As a life member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc., Ashley strives to carry out the sorority’s mission to “cultivate leadership, educational achievement, music appreciation and community development.”  Ashley currently serves as Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s Nonprofit Council and Tuscaloosa Co-Chair of the pARTners Project, a collaborative to create a plan to increase access to arts education for students in West-Central Alabama.

BRENDA "B.J." REED

Director of School Programs & 
Special Activities

Brenda Corder Reed, affectionately called “B.J.”, grew up in Aliceville, Alabama with a love of the Gospel and a desire to spread the love of God.  She has a B.S. in business administration from Stillman College and recently earned a B.A. from Selma University’s School of Theology.  Although gospel is her first love, B.J. performs blues, jazz, R&B, and other contemporary genres.  She has sung for notable organizations at special events such as the National SCLC Conference in Atlanta, GA.  Included in her travels are Las Vegas, NV where she sang at several area lounges on the Las Vegas strip; Harlem, NY on “Showtime at the Apollo” where she won twice (1991); Washington, DC on Capitol Hill (1997) where she sang at the birthday celebration of Senator Ted Kennedy; and Houston, TX at the wedding ceremony of former LA Lakers Robert Horry (1999). 


B.J. continues to please crowds with her signature “Lady Sings the Blues” show, during which she takes on the persona of jazz legends Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington and performs their greatest hits.  She is also passionate about passing her love of music on to the next generation.  Her work as Director of School Programs & Special Activities with the nonprofit Alabama Blues Project allows B.J. to regularly mentor at-risk girls within a local detention center and to teach hundreds of children the fundamentals of music and showcase their talents in local concerts.

Headshot - B.J. Reed.png
 

INSTRUCTORS

Kim & Loretta_edited.jpg

KIMBERLY HARMON

Vocal Instructor

Kim tours performing her Aretha Franklin tribute show, “Miss Kim as Aretha”.  She also regularly performs as lead vocalist with award-winning jazz guitarist, Cashmere Williams.  Over the past year, she has enthusiastically taken on a leadership role teaching in the Alabama Blues Project’s after-school programs and camps.

John Bull.jpg

JOHN BULL

Harmonica Instructor

John is a member of the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame.  He has worked with the Alabama Blues Project for several years, bringing the nearly lost art of harmonica playing to the next generation.  The “John Bull Band” currently tours and performs most Sunday evenings on the Blues Cruise in Montgomery, which he began running on his own riverboat almost thirty years ago.

Tarious Hill_edited.jpg

TARIOUS HILL

Guitar Instructor

Tarious has a Bachelor's degree from Alabama A&M University.  He tours regularly as a guitarist with the "Tekknology Band", which performs several shows annually throughout the southeast, including recently opening for American Idol winner Fantasia.

Chris Jackson.jpg

CHRIS JACKSON

Advanced Band Director

Chris is a multitalented musician who honed his skills as a percussionist in the Stillman College band while he attained a Bachelor’s degree.  He has performed with the gospel group, “Men of Prayze” for over 15 years.  Chris is also the founder and CEO of Jaxons Music Consultants, which specializes in sound reinforcement, recording, and musician placement.

Davyd Houston.jpg

DAVYD HOUSTON

Percussion Instructor

Davyd’s introduction to the drums came from his father, who was an award-winning drummer in his early years before becoming a pastor.  As a teenager, Davyd studied under his uncle Dwight J. Houston (woodwind virtuoso, clinician, and private instructor), who nurtured him into playing with a band and mastering tight pocket drumming.  Davyd has been a percussionist for over twenty years, traveling nationally and adding album credits as a drummer.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PAUL WHITEHURST

President

ROSA JOHNSON

Vice President

STEVE BALLARD

Treasurer

DR. CHARLES NASH

Secretary

ART DUNNING


DR. ALLISON CUNNINGHAM GEDDIE


RICK GEDDIE


KEN MCGUIRE


CARROLINE SHINES


KIP TYNER


DAVID BEDSOLE


DENNY SCHWARTZ


ASHLEY R. WHEAT


B.J. REED


PJ ENGLISH


ELIZABETH LARY