The look on William "MoBetta" Ledbetter's face told the story. When he stepped into the administrative office at Kecoughtan High School Thursday afternoon, 17-year-old, guitar-playing blues musician was anything but blue.
There were hugs, smiles, laughs -- and more than a few camera flashes.
Thanks to a plan orchestrated by Norfolk blues singer Jackie Scott, Ledbetter was paid a surprise visit by two of his blues mentors, two nationally known musicians: Eddie Shaw, sax player and former bandmate of the legendary Howlin' Wolf, and Fernando Jones, founder of youth Blues Camps that take place in Chicago and across America.
They came to the high school to express their esteem for the young musician.
When a beaming Ledbetter tried to thank them, Shaw said that wasn't necessary.
"Just say you're going to keep the tradition going," Shaw said. "We're going to give you the ball and you'll have to run with it ... He's a good quarterback. he's going to win some games."
Jones agreed. "He's a fine young man, that's what's important," he said. "He's a student-musician. The blues needs kids who are musically literate."
Ledbetter impressed the two veteran bluesmen when he attended Blues Camp in Chicago last summer.
Shaw and Jones are looking for a few more good student-musicians. From 5:30-7 tonight at the Hampton Taphouse, they'll hold an open audition for students interested in attending Blues Camp.
Scott hopes that eventually a Blues Camp will be held in Hampton. Shaw and Jones spent time Thursday looking at places and talking to people about such a concept. "That would be great," Jones said. "But first we have to see if there's any interest."
Back at Kecoughtan, before they headed down the hall for a brief jam session in the class where Ledbetter takes guitar classes, the young musician said he was thrilled by the surprise expression of support.
"Oh my goodness! Whew!" Ledbetter said. "I'm shocked. I had no idea they would be surprising me at school right now. This is like the best day ever. I don't know how to express it."