On Tuesday, August 29th, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Tipitina's Foundation will host a ceremony at the legendary Tipitina's Uptown venue to hand over $500,000 of new instruments for eleven New Orleans school music programs. To celebrate, Tipitina's Uptown will host a free indoor/outdoor, multi-stage concert featuring Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ivan Neville, Troy Andrews, and Galactic. The half a million dollars in new instruments will be displayed in the venue for all to see and dance around.
As part of its mission, the Tipitina's Foundation is committed to putting an instrument into the hands of every New Orleans student, and this year's recipients include every school that will have a functioning music program in place when they open in the fall.
In previous years, the Tipitina's Foundation's annual "Instruments A-Comin'" Benefit Concert has raised a total of $300,000 worth of new instruments. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the outpouring of support from attendees and sponsors boosted the results of this year's concert to a record level of $500,000.
"This year's event was a huge success—musically, financially, and spiritually," says Adam Shipley, IAC founder and music director for the Tipitina's Foundation. "It proves we are here for the long haul."
In the hours after Hurricane Katrina hit, the Tipitina's Foundation immediately created a new Artist Relief initiative which met the changing needs of New Orleans musicians through aid with housing, instrument and gear replacement, as well as re-opening its Music Co-op Office. The Co-op Office is a free business center where New Orleans Musicians may use computers, internet, graphic design software, and audio software. Moreover, Musicians use the Co-op as a meeting place, to network, find gigs, and yes... jam. "There will be a dozen or so musicians in there at all times, just chatting and being productive. Most of the time, I'll see the same musicians that I danced to the night before," says Adam Ross, office Manager at Tipitina's. Once the immediate needs of Artist Relief were met, the Foundation re-directed its efforts to helping the younger generation of New Orleans artists to insure that the city's musical traditions stayed alive by hosting Master Classes and offering music lessons at Tipitina's Uptown.
This year's 5th Anniversary of Instruments A-Comin' Benefit Concert during Jazz Fest, presented by Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits, featured an all-star lineup which included Galactic, The Voice of the Wetlands Band (with George Porter Jr., Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, and Johnny Vidacovich), and Donald Harrison with the Tipitina's Interns (and special guests Leo Nocentelli and Ivan Neville).
"It was a night of pure magic," says Bill Taylor, Executive Director of the Tipitina's Foundation. "It was proof that New Orleans music is coming back stronger than ever." As the people of New Orleans fight diligently to rebuild their wonderful city, the Tipitina's Foundation is doing its part save the city's music culture.
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