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Jazz and Heritage Foundation grant and Young Audiences bring Jazz Fest to students

Published: March 30, 2012

(New Orleans, La.) - Nearly 550 students at Rudolph Matas Elementary School in Metairie got a taste of Jazz Fest thanks to a grant from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and performing artists from Young Audiences of Louisiana.

The Charmaine Neville Band, a staple of Young Audiences’ performing roster, held a show for the PreK-5 students on March 21, getting them up and moving with the lively performance.

“It was fantastic. All the kids really got into it,” said Tama Distler, the Arts Facilitator at Matas who wrote the grant.

Distler said about one third of the students at Matas have special needs so it’s important to be able to bring the music and culture of New Orleans directly to the school.

“The show reached those students who otherwise would not enjoy these events like Jazz Fest,” Distler said. “To see them smile and move to the music was great.”

The $1,000 grant, which the school matched, funded three separate performers for the students. All were coordinated through Young Audiences.

Voices of the Big Easy, a band led by New Orleans poet and musician Chuck Perkins, played in February and Topsy Chapman will perform at the school in April.

Distler said she chose Young Audiences because of the organization’s comprehensive list of musician performers and the school’s long-time working relationship with the non-profit organization.

“We know them to be a reputable organization and had artists that were representative of Jazz Fest,” Distler said. “The essence of writing the grant was to bring Jazz Fest to the kids, especially the special needs kids.”

Don’t miss Young Audiences student performances at Jazz Fest!

- A “Brass band throwdown” featuring Behrman, Fischer and Kate Middleton Elementary School bands is set for Friday, April 30 in the Kid’s Tent at 11:30 a.m.

- A performing arts showcase of ballet and African dance and drumming students from Woodmere, Lincoln, Craig, and Fischer Elementary Schools is set for Thursday, May 3 at 12:40 p.m.

For 50 years Young Audiences of Louisiana has inspired, empowered, and united children and communities through education, arts, and culture. Through a balance of demonstration and audience participation, Young Audiences signature live performances challenge students to think creatively. Performances lasting 45 minutes entertain and engage up to 250 students in an auditorium, gymnasium, or other group setting.

To learn more about bringing Young Audiences of Louisiana to your school, visit www.ya4la.org or call 504-523-3525.

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