by Hannah Liu
North and South’s Jazz Ensembles will fly out to New Orleans April 13-17 for a musical and cultural experience in the birthplace of Jazz. They will perform at several places in New Orleans, including the Mardi Gras World Plaza, the Spanish Plaza, Bubba Gump restaurant, and Steamboat Sanchez. Throughout the year, students have been rehearsing 12 songs twice a week all of which they will have at ready to play at their gigs.
This is the first year of the trip, and it has been anticipated for years. Freshman Cole Whitehouse, who plays saxophone, said the timing of the trip this year was perfect, as they have a group of particularly skilled musicians. Music teacher Richard Labedz, who is organizing the trip, added that these students are “ready to explore deeper into music.”
Students have fundraised at every given opportunity. Their largest fundraiser was a concert at the Union Street Restaurant, where they charged $25 for admission and held a silent auction with items that the students donated.
The group will tour the city on a Park Ranger Tour to visit historic sights. Whitehouse said, he is very excited to see a concert at Preservation Hall, which is where a lot of the most famous jazz musicians have played.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated events in the trip is the masterclass that students will have with legendary jazz musician Trombone Shorty.
“I listen to him all the time,” Whitehouse said “I think he’s a little too big to be writing a piece for a little jazz band from halfway across the country.”
The last concert before the trip will be Jazz Night on April 6, held in gratitude for the families that have helped out with planning and fundraising efforts.
The band will be given the honor of unveiling a new circulating postage stamp for letters from the post office of famous Jazz artist Sarah Lois Vaughn. The major piece they are playing is “The Everyday, The Everyday”, an original song commissioned for them by locally famous musician Alex Lee Clark.
“New Orleans, Louisiana is the jazz capital of the world,” according to sophomore Sophie Spector, an alto saxophone player. “Being able to perform there, eat there, live there, and watch local artists there would be inspiring to a level that is unachievable in school.”