Class Got Brass? A ‘Battle of the Brass Bands’ for Schools
Everybody's saying, 'Look what the Jazz & Heritage Foundation started.' There are 10 or 15 new brass bands that have started since the first Class Got Brass. You guys have done an awesome job of revitalizing the tradition.
"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
Class Got Brass Winners:
First Place: O. Perry Walker High School, Band Director: Wilbert Rawlins
Second Place: KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, Band Director: Kelvin Harrison, Sr.
Third Place: Joseph S. Clark Prep, Band Director: Joe Franklin
First Place: KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, Band Director: Kelvin Harrison, Sr.
Second Place: O. Perry Walker High School, Band Director: Wilbert Rawlins
Third Place: McDonogh 35 High School, Band Director: David Jefferson
For the complete list of 2012 competitors, see here.
CLASS GOT BRASS
Class Got Brass is back!
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation's new program to support music education in the schools - while promoting the brass band tradition - is ready for an encore.
It’s a contest for Louisiana middle and high schools to create traditional New Orleans-style brass bands. At stake is $30,000 worth instruments for the winning schools’ band programs.
Are you ready to rumble? Then polish your horns, polish your shoes and straighten your caps, because Class Got Brass is back.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation – the nonprofit that owns Jazz Fest – has a mission to promote Louisiana’s musical culture through year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.
The Foundation created Class Got Brass to address a conundrum.
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.
So the Foundation established a contest to encourage Louisiana middle and high schools to create brass bands. They would compete in a second-line parade according to guidelines that encourage the essential elements of a centuries-old tradition. The winners would earn $30,000 worth of instruments for their schools’ band programs.
Class Got Brass made it’s debut in March 2012 and was a roaring success. More than a dozen Louisiana middle and high schools stepped up to the challenge.
A middle school, KIPP McDonogh 15, took the top prize of $10,000. O. Perry Walker High School won second place and $6,000. McDonogh 35 High School took third place, winning $4,000.
An additional 14 schools each got consolation prizes of $750 worth of instruments, instrument repair and other essential supplies.
See a video of the first annual Class Got Brass featuring the contest winner here.
2013: The Second Annual Competition
Now the Jazz & Heritage Foundation is launching the second of what will be an annual competition – and a new tradition.
As in the first version, Class Got Brass is open to middle schools and high schools – public and private – anywhere in Louisiana.
Just as before, bands will be limited to 12 members – only one bass drum, one snare drum and one tuba. All other instruments must be part of the recognized brass band tradition. And, as in the first Class Got Brass, schools are encouraged to augment their bands with “steppers,” or dancers.
The finals will take the form of a second-line parade, with an all-star group of heroes from the New Orleans brass band scene serving as judges.
Once again, the prizes will be $10,000 for first place, $6,000 for second and $4,000 for third. 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.
New In 2013
The second annual Class Got Brass will have a few new features.
Clinics will be organized for the participating schools, with top musicians educating the competitors in the finer points of the brass band tradition.
In a new addition to the guidelines, all competing bands must include a new required element: a dirge. This will be in addition to a traditional up-tempo song from the classic brass band cannon, as well as a contemporary song.
The finals will take place in a second-line parade on Sunday, March 24, in Armstrong Park as part of the Foundation’s Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.
Match Our Funds - Increse the Prizes
Funding for the contest prizes comes from the Foundation's Community Partnership Grants program. Prizes are limited to available funds.
But the number of prizes may be increased - or the amounts of the prizes enlarged - through donations. If your organization would like to contribute funds to increase the number or size of prizes to be made available in this contest, please contact us by clicking here.
QUESTIONS? Contact the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation by calling (504) 558-6100, or by sending an e-mail to: programs (at) jazzandheritage.org.
- 2013 CONTEST GUIDELINES - read carefully
- 2013 LIST OF REQUIRED SONGS - Finalists must perform at least three songs from this list
- 2013 Competing Bands
- 2013 Judges
- 2012 Competing Bands
Links & Downloads:
The great institution of marching bands
OffBeat magazine profile of O. Perry Walker High School marching band director Wilbert Rawins, Jr., and the role marching bands play in New Orleans society.
Rebirth Brass Band Wins Grammy!
The New Orleans institution takes home the gold at this year's Grammy Awards.
Five Essential Brass Band Tracks
NPR looks at the New Orleans brass band tradition and gives five essential songs every brass band should know.
Shannon Powell on NPR
Great profile by John Burnett on Shannon Powell, King of the Treme.
Sometimes It Takes A Prize
New York Times article on how prizes have prodded innovation over the centuries.
Protect Your Hearing
Advisory from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) on how students can protect themselves against hearing loss when playing in brass bands.
Click the links below to play videos.
Class Got Brass 2013
Online video of the 2013 contest
Class Got Brass
Mini documentary of the first annual Class Got Brass.