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‘Class Got Brass,’ a brass band competition for Louisiana schools

Written by  New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation's “battle of the brass bands,” Class Got Brass, is back for the fifth year for Louisiana high school and middle school brass bands to create traditional New Orleans-style brass bands in an effort to promote music education while supporting our cultural traditions. At stake is more than $30,000 worth instruments for the winning schools’ band programs. It’s our way of supporting music education in the school system while also promoting our historic cultural traditions.
Class Got Brass was started in 2012 to address two core issues: 1) lack of funds for music education in the schools, and; 2) a lack of emphasis on traditional New Orleans music in the many school band programs that are doing great work despite tremendous obstacles. Many, if not most of Louisiana’s schools, struggle to afford enough instruments to equip all of the students who want to learn how to play music. Still, nearly all Louisiana high schools – and many middle schools – have active marching band programs. But, historically, hardly any of them have had New Orleans-style brass bands – even in this, the only region in the world where teenagers love their joyous local culture of second-line parades.
 
The goals of Class Got Brass are to create an incentive for band programs to embrace the joyful sounds of New Orleans brass bands, and to reward participating schools with funds that support their music instruction.
 
“It was a honor to be part of seeing culture that has been worked on in our classrooms and then presented to the people. I think this competition is a great and innovative idea on every level.” - Donald Harrison, Jr., musician, educator and 2013 judge.
 
Class Got Brass is open to middle schools and high schools – public and private – anywhere in Louisiana. Prizes in the “advanced” category will be $10,000 for first place, $7,000 for second and $5,000 for third. We also have a category for beginner bands, with prizes of $5,000, $4,000 and $3,000 for first, second and third place, respectively. There are additional prizes for schools that don't place in the top three.
 
The prizes will be in the form of gift certificates from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation that may be redeemed for instruments, instrument repair or other supplies that benefit the winning schools’ band programs. Judges are a who’s who of New Orleans musicians and music educators.
 
The deadline to apply is March 7. The finals will take place on Sunday, March 20, in conjunction with the Foundation’s Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.
 
APPLY NOW!
 
Previous Class Got Brass Winners:
2015
Advanced:
First Place: Landry-Walker High School, $10,000 (Band Director: Wilber Rawlins)
Second Place: At. Augustine High School, $6,000 (Band Director: Eddie Williams)
Edna Karr High School, $4,000 (Band Director: Chris Herrero)
Beginners:
First Place: Medard H. Nelson Charter School, $4,000 (Band Director: Johnnie VanBuren)
Second Place: Martin Behrman Charter Academy, $3,000 (Band Director: Birdell Mitchell)
Third Place: Park Forest Middle School, $2,000 (Band Director: Doretha Williams)
 
2014
Advanced:
St Augustine High School - First Place, $10,000
Landry Walker High School - Second Place, $6,000
KIPP: McDonogh15 Middle School - Third Place, $4,000
Beginners:
Medard H. Nelson Charter School - First Place, $4,000
Fannie C Williams Charter School - Second Place, $3,000
D.W. Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies - $2,000
 
2013
First Place, $10,000: O. Perry Walker High School, Band Director: Wilbert Rawlins
Second Place, $6,000: KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, Band Director: Kelvin Harrison, Sr.
Third Place, $4,000: Joseph S. Clark Prep, Band Director: Joe Franklin
 
2012
First Place, $10,000: KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, Band Director: Kelvin Harrison, Sr.
Second Place, $6,000: O. Perry Walker High School, Band Director: Wilbert Rawlins
Third Place, $4,000: McDonogh 35 High School, Band Director: David Jefferson
Last modified on Wednesday, 24 February 2016
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