Blue Bear is celebrating 50 years of making music!
Scroll down to see highlights of our last half century.

1971
Blue Bear is Born

Blue Bear Waltzes School of Music opens in San Francisco, founded as a nonprofit school by local rock band Wolfgang & Strauss.

1972
Electric Orchestra and Folk Chorus

Blue Bear introduces the Electric Orchestra and Folk Chorus, a band comprised of over 30 teachers and students. They’re a hit at venues all across San Francisco.

1973
The Band Breaks Up, the School Goes On!

Wolfgang & Strauss dissolves. The school turned out to be a much better idea than the band.

Blue Bear Makes News

The school is a hot item! Blue Bear is covered far and wide — from the Chronicle and the brand new BAM Magazine to the nationally-renowned Rolling Stone to the then-fledgling radio station NPR.

1978
Blue Bear School of Music


Name AND Venue Change! Blue Bear drops the “Waltzes” and moves to Fort Mason Center.

1987
Scholarship Program

Blue Bear begins its long-running scholarship program, funded by generous donors and celebrity sponsors.

1989
Welcoming the Bear

Founder Steve Strauss designs the beloved bear logo

1996
25 Years!

Blue Bear establishes itself as a San Francisco institution and celebrates an amazing 25 years!

2000
Rockin’ the Bay. Blue Bear Workshop Bands Bring Music All Around SF!

Blue Bear bands play San Francisco. All levels of musicians take the stage at the Fillmore, Cafe du Nord, Sweetwater, Boom Boom Room, Bottom of the Hill, The Chapel, and many more!

2001
Blue Bear is Online!

30 years in, Blue Bear School of Music launches www.bluebearmusic.org. Welcome to the future!

2005
Outreach Programs

Blue Bear forms its Outreach Program, bringing the music to those who need it most, including partnerships with SFUSD, Glide Memorial, Tenderloin Rec Center, Bayview YMCA, and more!

Blue Bear Live

Blue Bear debuts Blue Bear Live, showcasing the best of the best. Headlined over the years by Elvin Bishop, Los Lobos Mavis Staples, Trombone Shorty and more!

2006
Little Bears

2006 Blue Bear introduces the toddler music program “Little Bears” 

2010
All Star Bands

Blue Bear introduces the All Star Band Program, forming awesome middle and high school rock bands!

2016
Legacy Business

Blue Bear is recognized as a San Francisco Legacy Business, joining a prestigious group of fewer than 300 community-serving businesses that are recognized as valuable cultural assets  —  not to mention that they’re some of SF’s favorite places!

2020
2020. Apart, but together!

Blue Bear weathers the storm, and makes the most of socially-distanced music-making.  (But we miss our friends!)

2403 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco

Blue Bear celebrates 50 years! To commemorate the milestone, we gathered a few of the current Blue Bear crew — some teachers, staff, board members and a four-legged friend — in front of the original Ocean Ave campus. We are so grateful for our deep history, and along with our loyal, incredible and musical community, we look forward to making music for another 50 years!

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