Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Note from RoM Partner Rick Weil

Hi all,

Rick Weil here. I'm a sociologist at LSU in Baton Rouge & partnering with the Roots of Music. I know a little about music, but not like the other folks! I do know something about sociology & communities, and I think this program is great! It's going to make a huge contribution to the communities it touches and to New Orleans' recovery.

We were privileged to attend a rehearsal of the pilot program yesterday at Tipitina's. The instructors, Lawrence and Shoan, do an amazing job with the kids - keeping them engaged and building a team. And Derrick has the whole thing humming, with tons of people contributing their talents & efforts.

I took some pictures of yesterday's rehearsal, to give you a feel for what it's like to be there. Here's a slideshow ...

Oh by the way, it was Derrick's birthday yesterday ... Happy birthday, Derrick! - Rick

You can see the full slideshow and other pictures at

And you can see how some of my sociology work connects with the Roots of Music at ... including the page on RoM at

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fundraiser at Tipitina's

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove

The second Roots of Music fundraising concert took place on Friday night at Tipitina's.

Kirk Joseph
's Backyard Groove kicked the night off with some funky New Orleans tuba-driven grooves. Kirk told the crowd about how he got his start in a middle-school marching band program and thanked RoM for trying to bring education to New Orleans' youngest musicians.

Irma Thomas took the stage and wowed the crowd with favorites like "It's Raining" and "Time Is on My Side," as well as music from her Grammy-winning CD "After the Rain." Irma remembered RoM Band Director Lawrence Rawlins as a young man, when his father Wilbert Rawlins Sr. was her drummer. Lawrence went on to play in the legendary St. Augusting High School and Southern University marching bands, and now teaches at McDonogh 32 in addition to leading the RoM band.

RoM VP Allison Reinhardt
and academic tutor Andrea Boll.

It was a festive night at Tip's and we thank the RoM supporters for coming out! - Matt

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Roots of Music launches Pilot Session!

RoM Band Director Lawrence Rawlins.

This week marked the official launch of the Roots of Music (RoM), a music education program founded by Derrick Tabb of the Rebirth Brass Band to serve middle-school students in New Orleans. Over 40 children have been attending afterschool band rehearsals, where they have been introduced to the fundamentals of music theory and marching band performance.

The support of
Vic Firth drumsticks, HQ Percussion, Tipitina's Foundation, Hudson Music, and B’nai Israel Baton Rouge have allowed RoM to begin with this pilot session.

In June, the program will grow to 150 students and by the Fall we will be fully up and running as a daily afterschool program with 200 students in a dedicated facility. The program is free for all students.

This week, Band Director Lawrence Rawlins started the instrumentalists off with music theory lessons, student Reginald Williams played a tuba for the first time, and RoM Program Director Derrick Tabb helped Drum Instructor Shoan Ruffin get the drummers started with drills and counting.

We are in need of instruments as well as donations to cover the costs of busing, facilities, and salaries for instructors Lawrence Rawlins and Shoan Ruffin. Contact RoM at (504) 723-4666 or make donations at (please indicate Roots of Music on the PayPal form).

Program Director Derrick Tabb of the Rebirth Brass Band

You can learn more about Roots of Music at: