New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park (JAZZ) opened its new park visitor site in Historic Masonic Lodge No. 4, aka Perseverance Hall No. 4, on Saturday June 18, 2011. Located in Louis Armstrong Park in the Historic Fauborg Treme neighborhood and the gateway to the Historic Vieux Carre French Quarter, its visitation is growing as the casual tourist cannot miss it as they come upon Louis Armstrong Park and stroll through the rose gardens, or as they visit the Mardi Gras Indian and Social Aid and Pleasure Club Museum (Backstreet Cultural Museum) one half block from the JAZZ park entrance gate. With its palm trees, green landscaping, roses, ponds and fountains the park is an inviting urban oasis.
One of JAZZ's signature long term youth education programs is "Music For All Ages" created by Ranger and Musician Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes. It is held every Saturday morning from 11 to noon. JAZZ has moved this long standing program to Perseverance Hall. The program is open to all who want to bring their instruments to learn and play traditional New Orleans Brass Band standards in a weekly workshop setting. The session is facilitated and mentored by professional musicians and often these are music educators. The musicians range from elementary school to university. Some participants started in the program while in elementary school and have continued through high school. One of our participants has just been awarded a full scholarship to the music program at Loyola University, New Orleans. It is quite remarkable, even the youngest players are quite proficient.
Saturday July 30th hosted a rousing performance by 14 students led by their teacher/leader Fitzgerald Barrau "Dr. Jazz", and JAZZ's "Teacher Ranger Teacher" Richard Johnson who hails to us from Burlington, NC. The crowd in attendance included visitors from Toronto and Ontario, Canada, and TN. The workshop ended with a march around the hall parade line version of "When the Saints Go Marching In". It's hard to tell who had the most fun, the students, or the parents and visitors. One thing is for certain, a good time was had by all on a hot summer Saturday in New Orleans.
Bring your instrument and join us. It's Music For All Ages and all are welcome to sit in.