'Class Got Brass' is back! This unique contest, open to all Louisiana middle and high schools, challenges bandleaders and students to create traditional New Orleans-style brass bands (as opposed to full marching bands). At stake are more than $30,000 worth of instruments for the participating schools' music programs. Applications are open now and close March 7. See here for the online application form.
Run by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the 2016 edition of Class Got Brass will be held on Sunday, March 20 during the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival. First place winners receive a gift certificate worth $10,000 in instruments, instrument repair, and other supplies for the school's band program. Second place is $7,000; third place is $5,000. For the third year, Class Got Brass will also host a special category for beginner brass bands with prizes of $5,000, $4,000, and $3,000 for the top groups. There are additional prizes for schools that don't place in the top three in either category.
Schools may enter a New Orleans-style brass band of up to 12 members. They must follow guidelines designed to emphasize the historic, world-famous brass band tradition. Read the complete guidelines here.
"We want to support music education in Louisiana - and to encourage our schools to embrace our traditional music and culture," said Don Marshall, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation's executive director. "We all know how hard it is for schools to pay for music programs. By providing a financial incentive, we're giving schools and band directors even more reason to join the competition - and to move our heritage forward."
SHEET MUSIC AND WORKSHOPS
The Jazz & Heritage Foundation's partners at the Preservation Hall Foundation are providing additional resources to help band directors prepare their students for the Class Got Brass competition.
There is a resource-rich website with instructional materials covering six songs in the traditional brass band repertoire.
For each song, there is sheet music to download, with arrangements for all brass band instruments: trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, bass drum and snare drum. There are also classic recordings demonstrating the proper tone and style.
Better yet, for band directors who want personal instruction for their students, Preservation Hall will send members of its world-famous band to conduct clinics at schools that have entered the Class Got Brass competition - at no charge to the school. To request a clinic for your school band, click here.