Thank you for being part of our history! Donate today, and help support our future. 

Wonder what it was like in the beginning, or what Blue Bear has accomplished along the way? Join in the conversation as our founders talk about the early days, and be sure to scroll down and check out the Blue Bear Timeline! It’s full of fun, vintage photos and some of our biggest moments! 

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!

A donation to Blue Bear School of Music is an investment in a vibrant, established and legacy nonprofit organization that improves lives one note at a time.

Your gift of. . .

  • $50 helps us celebrate 50 amazing years of making music!
  • $100 funds one hour of music instruction at a school or community center.
  • $350 buys one music kit that can be used to run programming at a homeless shelter.
  • $500 sends one kid with financial need to a week-long music summer camp at the Bear.
  • $1,000 helps fund one complete 12-week music program.
  • $3,000 fully funds 12 weeks of Blue Bear programming at a school or community center.
  • $12,000 funds a community outreach site for a full year!
  • $20,000 funds a mobile laptop-based digital audio program to be used in underserved areas of our community outreach program!
  • $24,000 funds a “Music & Coding” class at a San Francisco elementary school for a full year!

In-Kind Donations

Do you have a keyboard you bought yourself for Christmas and realize you have no time to play?  Here are some examples of things we’re always looking for:

  • Keyboards, guitars, ukuleles and other instruments and amps in good condition
  • 2011 and newer iMacs, MacBooks, iPads, Macbook Airs etc.
  • Gift Certificates
  • Cars, boats, yachts and other running vehicles

While we wish we could take everything, we just don’t have the space!  Please email melanie@bluebearmusic.org with item names and pictures first.

JOIN US ON PATREON

Become a part of the Blue Bear community on PatreonWe have created a place for you to enjoy videos, photos, guitar lessons, a community forum, our blog, and most important of all – to help us grow our music education programs in San Francisco.

VOLUNTEER

Join our crew!  We have ongoing volunteer shifts, especially during our semi-annual events.  We can use your energy and spirit!  Contact Melanie at melanie@bluebearmusic.org for details.

DONATE STOCKS 

Our information:
Firm: Vanguard Brokerage Services
DTC#: 0062
Account #: 19936526
Account Name: Blue Bear School Of Music

Click here to donate through your Fidelity, Schwab or BNY Mellon DAF.

Donating stocks and mutual funds is a great way to support Blue Bear.  By making a donation of securities it not only helps us fulfill our mission, but also offers some valuable financial benefits.

  • You can donate appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual funds
  • The total value of the stock upon transfer is tax-deductible
  • There is no obligation to pay any capital gains taxes on the appreciation

If you have any questions please e-mail Melanie at melanie@bluebearmusic.org

PLANNED GIVING

We appreciate you thinking about us while making your planned giving plans.  We would be honored to be included in your will, and are happy to discuss further with you.  Please call Melanie at 415.673.3600 or e-mail her at melanie@bluebearmusic.org

Want to chat?

We would love to chat with you about any and all of your questions about our school and the importance of our work.  Feel free to give us a call at 415.673.3600 during our business hours:  Monday-Thursday, 1-8 pm, and Saturday, 10:30 am-3:30 pm.

Blue Bear School of Music is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and your donations, whether cash or items, are tax deductible as allowed by law.  Our EIN is 94-2243418.

Back to top