The concert will be hosted by master of ceremonies Anthony Mackie, film star and Easton alum, with special guest and Easton alum Tonya Boyd-Cannon of The Voice. The event will feature performances by The Young Pinstripes Brass Band, The Original Pinettes Brass Band, Stooges Brass Band, Hot 8 Brass Band and other and special surprise guests.
The concert will raise funds for the Easton Jazz Band’s participation in a three-year music and art cultural exchange with students from the Conservatorio Estéban Salas in Santiago de Cuba, underscoring the centuries-long link between the city and the small island nation.
The initiative will be in collaboration with the CubaNOLA Arts Collective, and will culminate with the city’s Tricenntennial celebration in 2018.
The Easton Jazz Band students will visit Cuba this May and in July 2017 for the Festival del Caribe. The Cuban students will visit New Orleans in April 2017 and during 2018 for the Tricenntennial celebration.
“Santiago de Cuba is the New Orleans of Cuba with Carnival, second-line style Conga processions, and is the birthplace of many of Cuba’s most important styles of music,” said Easton Board President David Garland. “As we were looking ahead to our city’s Tricentennial, here is a tremendously creative way for our students to learn about their history as well as inform this community’s vision of the future.”
Over 20 Warren Easton music and art students and teachers will participate in this first phase of a three-year initiative between the students and faculty at both schools. Both sets of students will learn about the other city and prepare collaborative music and art projects. Each set of faculty will select sheet music and recordings of traditional New Orleans and Cuban music to exchange with the other school. The teachers will also present weekly lessons plans on the history, culture, music and art of the other city to their students via live online sessions.
“Our music students have done an amazing job with traditional New Orleans jazz, and are so excited to expand their knowledge of how that music came to be,” said Easton Band Director Asia Muhaimin. “They have been studying and rehearsing and are prepared to exchange musical styles with their Cuban counterparts to see how the musical cultures influence each other. This initiative will bring together these young people to study the rich histories of each culture.”
Warren Easton students will bring all of these experience together for performances, presentations and exhibits throughout 2018 commemorating the Tricentennial of the founding of New Orleans and celebrating the city’s historical, cultural and musical legacies.
Partners and sponsors include CubaNOLA Arts Collective, Barry Kern of Kern Studios, The Trombone Shorty Foundation, Life is Good, WWOZ, Cembell Industries, N.O. Music Exchange, Parkway Bakery, and the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization.
The Warren Easton Jazz Band is currently raising money to cover additional expenses for the trip. For more information go to www.cubanola.org, www.wechs.org, www.facebook.com/warreneastoncharterhigh/, or call 504.324.7436.