On November 22, one of New Orleans’ premier music-education organizations will host a fundraiser with performances from some of the city’s most in-demand musicians. The Roots of Music Executive Director Morgan Stewart tells us more about Support Your Roots ’19.
Tell us about the work you do at Roots of Music
At the Roots of Music we provide free, year-round, high quality instrumental music education, academic support and mentorship to over 150 kids between the ages of 9 and 14. We offer transportation to and from our program as well as a hot meal before the students go home. Five days a week, 12 months a year.
What aspects of the work Roots of Music does inspires you the most?
I am inspired by watching the students grow musically, socially, and academically during their time at Roots of Music. Also to see the joy the students bring to different audiences during their performances. The students have made international appearances at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and Curaçao, Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Canada and the French Jazz Sous Les Pommiers Festival. Watching the kids represent their city as musical ambassadors makes me love what we do even more.
How does an organization like Roots of Music reflect the history and future of New Orleans music?
The Roots of Music pays homage to the past by preserving the unique music and cultural heritage of the city. Our program is a reflection of the large middle-school marching bands the city used to have prior to Hurricane Katrina. The music staff arranges and provides a wide variety of music for the students to play which educates our kids about the musical greats such as Louis Armstrong and John Phillip Sousa. Our music staff also incorporates current pop and hip-hop songs into the repertoire to keep up with current musical trends. We help our students embrace their musical future by preparing them to succeed in the city’s high school music programs including the jazz and classical programs at The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
What do folks have to look forward to at the November 22 fundraiser?
Our guests are going to enjoy a fun night of cocktails, food, silent auction bidding and live music from The Soul Rebels, Tarriona “Tank” Ball of Tank and the Bangas and Kam Franklin of The Suffers.
How can folks become involved with Roots of Music, at the fundraiser and beyond?
By making a donation to the organization, volunteering their time, following us on social media or signing up for our newsletter. More information on how to get involved can be found on our website, therootsofmusic.org.