Concerts, Instruments, Money Help Music Survive After Floods

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Classical musicians are planning benefit concerts in New Orleans, a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi is collecting instruments and a country music-affiliated charity is donating $30,000 to help make sure music survives the disastrous floods that hit south Louisiana in August.

         For some who lost homes, instruments and music to Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago, it's payback time.

         "The Baton Rouge Symphony was so nice to us during the Katrina years. They gave us office space, and they were a godsend to us. We were happy to be able to do a little thing for them," said Jim Atwood, whose tympani were in the basement of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra 's auditorium when the storm hit in 2005.

         Although New Orleans was untouched by this year's great flood, Baton Rouge and other areas, including parts of Acadiana were affected.

         A concert Thursday, organized by the New Orleans-based Louisiana Philharmonic and the New Orleans Opera Association , will benefit public school music programs, arts organizations and the Recording Academy's MusiCares charity. On Sunday, musicians from New Orleans and Baton Rouge will perform Mozart's Requiem to raise money for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

         "Think of a film without music — then think of a community without music," said Paul Mauffray, who organized and will conduct Sunday's concert.

         Earlier this week, country music star Kix Brooks announced a $30,000 donation by the Country Music Association-affiliated CMA Foundation , to support music education in flooded areas.

         "Whenever you talk about sustainability and making sure that communities have a sense of normalcy, you want to make sure that education is a priority," CMA Foundation outreach manger Tiffany Kerns said Wednesday during a visit to New Orleans. "And, so, specific to us: We know that music really helps communities thrive."

         Kerns, CMA Foundation board chairman Joe Galante and singer-songwriter Eric Paslay were in New Orleans on a trip planned before the flooding to tout CMA Foundation efforts, including $295,000 in funding for education programs in New Orleans and nearby St. John the Baptist Parish.

         The foundation's $30,000 flood-related donation was made to the Music Rising campaign, which grew out of musicians' efforts to replace musical instruments lost in the New Orleans area to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

         In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Amanda Schlegel , an assistant professor of music at the University of Southern Mississippi, is collecting instruments for middle and high school music programs in the Baton Rouge area.

         Schlegel said she's so far collected some flutes, violins and clarinets; a couple of trombones; and a French horn. In addition to band instruments, she's hoping to find band shoes and stringed instruments, including a cello for 12-year-old Kennedy Morgan of Baton Rouge. Her two cellos were destroyed in 5 feet of water, said her mother, Dana Morgan.

         "We put the cello up high but never in a million years did we imagine we'd get as much water as we did," Morgan said.

         And with the cost of rebuilding, a new cello is out.

         – by AP Reporters Janet McConnaughey and Kevin McGill


Louisiana Philharmonic        

New Orleans Opera     

Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and chorus  

CMA Foundation        





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