January 27, 2006
New Orleans music, homegrown and world-famous, is one of the defining characteristics that makes our city such a special place. Indeed, the soul of the city lies within such cultural treasures and keeping them alive and well is vital to our recovery.
That is why I am pleased to announce that Tulane University will serve as the new residence of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO). Led by Grammy-nominated trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, NOJO’s 16 members will perform semi-annual concerts at Tulane and continue to serve as ambassadors for New Orleans around the country.
Since its founding in 2002, the non-profit NOJO has gained recognition as a national performing arts and education organization. Through its widespread appearances, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the orchestra has promoted the history and importance of jazz and New Orleans culture. Past education programs have included “NOJO in the Schools,” a high school lecture series conducted by Mayfield, and a community-wide jazz lecture series that brought national scholars of jazz music, art and literature to New Orleans.
NOJO's residency at Tulane complements the university’s existing jazz strengths, including our undergraduate and graduate Jazz Studies programs, various jazz ensembles directed by John Doheny and the renowned Hogan Jazz Archives.
Often New Orleans jazz songs begin mournfully only to end in a festive, handkerchief-waving second-line. Over the last few months as a university, a city and as individuals we have experienced that opening sorrowful tempo. Now, we look to NOJO, whose leader himself suffered great personal loss in Katrina, to help us begin our second-line.
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