In Concert: Doreen Ketchens

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Event Information:

Notes: Sets at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Location: The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center
1225 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Phone: (504) 558-6100

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Doreen Ketchens and her band will perform on April 7 in a Jazz & Heritage Concert.

Doreen Ketchens and her band will perform on April 7 in a Jazz & Heritage Concert.

Doreen Ketchens
Saturday, April 7
Shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Free Admission

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation proudly presents Doreen Ketchens in concert on Saturday, April 7, with shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., at the Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street).

Admission is free. No tickets or advance registration are required. There is no reserved seating.

The first set will be webcast live on and on Facebook Live here.

Upcoming concerts in the series are:
Saturday, April 28    Donald Harrison
Saturday, May 5      Naydja CoJoe, Nayo Jones and Mykia Jovan
Saturday, May 26    Jesse McBride & Next Generation
Saturday, June 9      Troy Sawyer &the Elementz plus Calvin Johnson & Native Son
Saturday, July 14     Kyle Roussel Organ Trio

About Doreen Ketchens
Doreen Ketchens is no ordinary street musician. Although when home in New Orleans she can often be found on Royal Street performing for tourists and other French Quarter strollers, she is an international attraction at festivals and concerts and has performed for four United States presidents.

She is one of the first and few female bandleaders in New Orleans, and a music educator. She and her band, Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, have performed around the world and they are widely considered one of the cultural ambassadors of New Orleans and of the city’s traditional jazz style.

Like many of New Orleans' musicians, Ketchens grew up in the Tremé neighborhood.  She studied clarinet in elementary school, beginning as a fifth-grader at Joseph A. Craig Elementary. To get out of a pop quiz, she responded to an announcement asking interested students to come and sign up for the band. Her first choice was flute, but most of the girls picked that instrument, so she opted for the clarinet. In junior high school, her band director, Donald Richardson, stayed on her for not practicing, and there was a boy that she was trying to impress. When she finally did practice, her talent began to emerge. She played for John F. Kennedy High School in New Orleans, and auditioned and was accepted to the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where she began to study with clarinetist Stanley Weinstein.

Doreen attended Delgado Community College, Loyola University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, and, through scholarships, including one from the New York Philharmonic, the University of Hartford's Hartt School in Hartford, CT, where she studied under Henry Larsen. She also had an internship with the symphony in Hartford.

She worked her way through conservatories and college as a chef. She met her husband and bandmate, sousaphonist Lawrence Ketchens, at Loyola.  She found her passion in Jazz with Lawrence.

Ketchens performed her first jazz gig with Lawrence at the 1987 Republican National Convention. She ran a plate lunch eatery called "Doreen's Sweets" for a time, until she and Lawrence kept passing musicians working the streets of New Orleans, and she told him that they could make money doing that. The couple began performing on the streets of New Orleans in 1987.

She began playing in Jackson Square with her first band, the Jackson Square All-Stars. Their band evolved into Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, and, after much struggle with the chauvinism of traditional jazz and club owners, they managed to find a winning formula playing and entertaining crowds via their street shows, at festivals, and then through direct sales of their music and videos on the Internet. 
Ketchens and her band have shared their take on traditional New Orleans jazz in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia and across the United States. They have performed on programs sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and The U.S. Department of State.

Doreen introduced her daughter, Dorian Ketchens-Dixon, when she was barely nine, as a drummer at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) for one song in a set. Today, she is one of the regular drummers backing the group.

Doreen has been featured in numerous documentaries about New Orleans, its heritage and its music, including several profiles by radio station WWOZ, and dozens of articles from major newspapers and magazines around the world.

Doreen's trademark stance – head thrown back, clarinet soaring into the air – has been the subject of hundreds of pieces of art and thousands of photos by delighted photographers (professional and amateur) who seek to capture the spirit of New Orleans. Fine art works featuring her as the subject appear at Harrah's Hotel & Casino in New Orleans, and, among other places, in the permanent collection of the New Orleans Jazz &Heritage Foundation – a work by Aron Belka, which is exhibited on the second floor of the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.