Day 2, first full day in New Orleans.
Such a warm, beautiful day. This is the rejuvenator from leaving Boston in Feburary.
Interview One – Diane Mack is a reporter and producer at WWNO, the local public radio station. For the local Morning Edition program, she’s producing a feature on the City Music Network. I meet student Ben Allen, a sax player, and his dad, Ken Allen, who played in a band a long time ago. Diane interviewed Ben, Ken, Erin, and me. Ben played his sax. His father told the reporter, “My son always wanted to go to Berklee. It would mean a lot to carry on the music and culture of New Orleans to Berklee.” The story will surface probably after Mardi Gras. Listen to the news story here.
Interview Two – I drive to WWOZ, a community radio station that plays mostly New Orleans-based music. I had been listening all day. We’ve done other things with them: first was an interview with some of the staff and faculty who worked in the Musicians’ Village in 2007. Then, we had them give a pair of plane tickets and passes to the BeanTown Jazz Fest that same year. Network student Linton Smith II, a trumpet player, and I chatted with New Orleans Music Show host Bill De Turk for about 20 minutes. Linton’s mom is a principal at a local high school; I had hoped that she’d join us to talk about the power of such after school programs. Linton didn’t play his trumpet on the radio, but he’s got a club gig later in the evening in the French Quarter with the other Network kids that I’ll try to hear.
Interview Three – This time it’s just me and Jorge Fuentes, operations assistant at WWOZ. He taped an interview for an upcoming feature for Street Talk, a cultural news program. I talked about our educational investments, explained the Network, and how not only would the students grow from coming to Berklee, but also our community from all of the heritage and style that they bring as citizens of New Orleans
After, I walk looking for some water. Been talking a lot. It’s nice to be outside along the Mississippi River.
Interview Four – Valentine Pierce is a reporter from the Lousiana Weekly. She calls to say she has to do the interview by phone, after all. Back at Tipitina’s, Erin and I give her the big picture on the Berklee Network and the Tipitian’s program. Fifteen minutes later I meet student Jemila Dunham, and her father. Moments earlier I had seen a photo of her on stage. Holding an electric Epiphone bass guitar and sporting an Esperanza Spalding-style afro, she has style and image. She’s nervous and exuberant for her audition the following day. She and her dad have already made the trip to Boston to visit Berklee. Jemila says she felt at home by being reminded of her high school from Berklee’s multicultural population.
After the quartet of interviews, I get a call from the reporter from the daily paper that I would love to have cover Saturday’s auditions and interviews. He’s searching from someone to do it.
Calls to the local TV stations about Saturday turn-up one “no,” two “we have it we’ll call you,” and one voicemail. I rarely get a voicemail at a news desk. Doesn’t matter, I’ll call them tomorrow, anyway.
Missed the Tipitina’s kids at their gig; went to the Red Room for live music later that night.
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