The D'Addario Music Foundation, a non-profit established in 1981 to support the growth of music and music education worldwide, recently completed its review of grants for the first half of 2008. 56 organizations have been awarded more than $155,000 in grant money and $33,000 in product support from D'Addario brands. The D'Addario Music Foundation provides $300,000 in funding annually to not-for-profit organizations that focus on music education and instrument instruction.
One of this round's most deserving organizations is The Roots of Music, an after-school music instruction program based in New Orleans, LA. The endowment comprised cash and music gear/accessories totaling $5,000, and will help the group assemble partners who can host, hire teachers, and provide organizational and administrative support in addition to links to the music industry.
The Roots of Music was created for middle school students in all neighborhoods of New Orleans. Organized and run by NOLA music notables - Program Director Derrick Tabb (of The Rebirth Brass Band), Band Director Lawrence Rawlins, and instructors Shoan Ruffin, Allen Dejan, and Edward Lee - the curriculum centers on the rudiments of marching band music, a long-standing musical tradition in New Orleans. Currently, there are 70 students enrolled in free sessions three days a week at the famed Tipitina's nightclub, and by fall, they anticipate the program will be running daily and housed in a dedicated facility with an enrollment of 200 students.
"Generations of families have taken pride in their middle school marching bands heritage and reputation," says Tulane Music Professor, Matt Sakakeeny, one of the program's leaders. "Before Hurricane Katrina, marching bands within our public schools offered children an early opportunity to learn music, follow instruction and be part of a larger group - and were frequently more popular than sports programs. In post-Katrina New Orleans, public schools are struggling to provide even basic education, and most do not offer music, art or sports curriculum or even after-school programs. Not only does The Roots program help supplement the educational curriculum, but also offers a proactive and preventative approach to crime in New Orleans by giving youth a place to go and skills to achieve."
"The Foundation looks to support organizations that foster the growth of music and music education among the youth worldwide," says Suzanne D'Addario. "In the wake of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, we felt The Roots of Music had much to offer in terms of continuing a long musical tradition in its city, in addition to giving students a place to go after school and plug into their community. It is a perfect fit for our Foundation's mission."
For more about The Roots of Music program, visit: www.therootsofmusic.com.