Tuesday, March 16, 1999
Music, masks, and more! On Friday our team got the chance to take part in an exciting program dedicated to preserving the culture of New Orleans, by passing it on to the city's kids.
While we were researching content for our live broadcast, we had the privilege of watching an exciting program dedicated to preserving New Orleans’ musical culture. We're back at Preservation Hall, one of the most famous spots in the city's French Quarter. Almost every night people line up and down the block, waiting to hear the historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Luckily, we visited during the day because crowds usually wait for hours to get inside the rustic room. We would have liked to sit on the simple wooden benches and listen to some of New Orleans greatest traditional jazz. Unfortunately, our team wasn't there for the nightlife; we went back to the Hall to see how the musicians are making a difference in students' lives. (Last year we found out about Preservation Hall's educational programs. We came back to find out how they might fit into our live broadcast.)
Every Friday morning, Preservation Hall invites a school class to come for a fun-filled visit to learn about the music that was born in New Orleans--jazz. Preservation Hall Manager Ethan Graham designed the program, and describes it as "a two hour field trip that immerses students in the heritage of New Orleans by means of diverse arts activities.” While they're at the Hall, the students get to listen to the band, learn the role each instrument plays, and actually give the instruments a try. They participate in second line dancing--an important part of the New Orleans funeral tradition. Students also design and make their very own Mardi Gras mask.
When we arrived, workers and volunteers were busy preparing for the kids. Tables were filled with feathers, glue, paper masks, and bowls of purple, gold, and green sequins. The air was filled with the sounds of the musicians warming up, and all we needed were the participants. Sixty-five fourth-graders arrived as a noisy excited group, but they settled in when the band began to play. As the morning went on and the kids encountered each new experience, we didn't have to ask if they were having fun, we could tell just by looking at their faces.
You don't have to live in New Orleans to take part in this original program. The Preservation Hall Band agreed to perform for us during our live broadcast coming up in May. Kids all over will get a chance to learn about New Orleans music and some of it's traditions, all you have to do is tune in.
|Return to Journal Home|