Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007
When the bands at Downers Grove North and South high schools drive to the New Trier Jazz Festival, they are hoping to take a truck load of instruments with them — and leave them there.
Jazz members at both schools are working to gather enough donated instruments and funds to build two full bands for high schools in New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina. The initiative is part of an effort started by New Trier High School in Winnetka, which asked 10 competing high schools to donate $400 for their “Hey NOLA- We Didn’t Forget About You” project instead of their regular entrance fees. The Downers Grove schools paid the $400 but decided they wanted to do more.
|A small start |
The first instrument to be donated to Downers Grove North and South high schools effort to build bands for New Orleans was a coronet a freshman trombonist bought at a flea market. To make a donation, call Fine Arts Department chairmen Glenn Williams at Downers South or Brayer Teague at Downers North.
“It’s important for New Orleans, it’s important for music education and it’s important for our students because we have such a bounty in front of us. We sometimes don’t get what’s going on entirely,” said Glenn Williams, chairman of the Downers South Fine Arts Department.
Both Downers Grove schools are organizing instrument donation drives, which will culminate at their annual Jazz Cafe concerts Thursday and Friday, Jan. 24 and 25. North High’s Cafe has benefited charities every year since it started in 1994. Last year, the schools teamed up for the first time to raise funds for Nothing but Nets, a group distributing malaria nets. The collaboration worked well, and the schools decided to work together again in 2008, said Brayer Teague, North High’s chairman of Fine Arts Department.
While the jazz bands are the main force behind the project, Williams said he hopes to generate more buzz among the rest of the student body. Because the Jazz Cafes also bring in middle school students, they may get more of the community involved. The District 99 two-band goal would require about 60 instruments.
Teague said reaction was very good when the new beneficiary was announced at the school’s monthly Music Boosters meeting. He said music is deeply important to the culture of New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina has nearly destroyed the region’s ability to teach jazz.
“With the passing of time, it becomes easy to forget about the rebuilding that is still enveloping the citizens of that great city,” Teague said. “This is our small way of raising awareness and trying to support the schools in New Orleans.”