Dear Tipitina’s Foundation Supporters,
Summer is usually a slow time here in New Orleans, but the staff of Tipitina’s Foundation has been very busy! After the dust settled following our large annual benefit for our Instruments A Comin’ program we’ve been sorting through all the instrument applications from local band directors and trying to finalize instrument distribution, as well as keep up with our other programs. We are very pleased to announce that we were able to donate to not one, but two youth band programs in Japan. As you may know, we added Japan’s Swing Dolphins, a youth jazz band, to our beneficiaries in response to the tragic earthquake and tsunami faced by the Japanese. We successfully sent new instruments to the Swing Dolphins with the assistance of Yoshio and Keiko Toyama.
We are proud to announce that on June 19th new instruments were successfully delivered to the children in the Bright Kids Music Club of the Tagajo-Higashi Elementary School in the Miyagi Prefecture. Bright Kids are an amazingly skilled, young elementary age ensemble and despite the struggles they face, are now more excited than ever to play. These new instruments allowed them to perform at a ceremony held in late June, one that had to be rescheduled due to hardships faced by the individual band members, as well as their instructor. After seeing the children of both Swing Dolphins and Bright Kids smiling and full of joy upon receiving new instruments, we cannot doubt the power of music to soothe, comfort, and even heal in times of hardship. When we received a packet of hand-written thank you letters from the children in the Swing Dolphins, we knew we had done a very good thing and we thank you for helping us accomplish this.
Helping the Swing Dolphins and the Bright Kids music club would not have been possible without the help of Yoshio and Keiko Toyama and our supporters from around the world. Their organization, Wonderful World Jazz Foundation, has been donating instruments to New Orleans schools for over fifteen years. Yoshio, dubbed the “Satchmo of Japan,” will be in New Orleans in August for the Satchmo SummerFest and we encourage anyone visiting our fair city at that time to not miss a performance by him. Every year, Yoshio’s wife and band, the Dixie Saints, come to New Orleans to play traditional jazz music and discuss jazz during the Satchmo SummerFest. Yoshio fell in love with Louis Armstrong and his music as a young boy. In 1968 he and his wife moved to New Orleans to learn from the masters. They stayed in the city for six years until they returned to Japan, where they continued to play and form a band. They now come back and visit New Orleans every year and generously bring the gift of music to everyone here.
The Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office “Band Of Excellence”, an intensive after-school marching band program that includes at-risk youth from both Jefferson and Orleans parishes, will also be a major beneficiary this year, as well as other New Orleans-area band programs that have yet to be determined. Schools will receive instruments during the Fall session and information about these schools will be posted on the Tipitina’s Foundation website (TipsFoundation.org). To date, requests from New Orleans-area band programs have easily exceeded 1500 instruments needed. The need for instruments, to keep youth both engaged and passionate and our music legacy alive, is still great in our community.
None of this would have been possible without the help of all of your donations and support. The generosity that you all have shown to Tipitina’s Foundation through GlobalGiving has allowed us to support the irreplaceable music community of New Orleans, Louisiana, and now a recovering Japan.
On behalf of the entire Tipitina’s team, I wish to thank you for your past support and encourage you to continue supporting us in furthering our goal of allowing the power of music to change lives.
With great appreciation,
Kim Katner Managing Director Tipitina’s Foundation, Inc. 4040 Tulane Ave., Suite 6000 New Orleans, LA 70119 Office: 504-309-7934
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