This month, you might see a happy-looking RV around New Orleans (and traveling the highways and byways of Louisiana) wrapped in decals of guitars, trumpets, and violins and positive messages of music empowerment.
It’s the “Hungry for Music” RV, aka the “Magic Music Bus,” and for the next two years, it will be traveling across the United States, bringing awareness of its mission: “Inspiring Lives. Building Hope. One Instrument at a time.”
Who’s driving the bus? The same guy who’s driving the mission: Jeff Campbell, founder of Hungry for Music, a nonprofit organization distributes musical instruments to children in need.
Jeff, originally from Shreveport, established Hungry for Music in 1994 in Washington D.C. Since then, the nonprofit has donated over 8,000 instruments to children in 27 states and 14 countries.
“It’s a very simple idea, but I think the sky is the limit as far as what we can do,” says Jeff. “I’d like to be an organization where, if a kid wants to play an instrument, then Hungry for Music is where they go.”
Jeff is ready to expand beyond Washington, D.C.
“We’ve kind of outgrown the old paradigm,” says Jeff. “We’re taking it on the road, going city to city, starting branch offices of Hungry for Music. Because of the amount of the requests we get now, we need the instruments to be coming from different places.”
First stop: New Orleans.
“I’m looking to put together a team of volunteers to collect and repair instruments and redistribute them,” says Jeff. He is also building a coalition of local organizations to partner with, such as Roots of Music, Preservation Hall Foundation, Backstreet Cultural Museum, and Trumpets Not Guns.
Children who are in need of an instrument can go to the Hungry for Music website, where the application period opens on a rolling basis (as instruments become available). http://hungryformusic.org/
On March 27, 2016 (Easter Sunday) there will be benefit concert for Hungry for Music at Chickie Wah Wah, featuring the Susan Cowsill Band, Russ Broussard, Pink Skip, Alex McMurray, Paul Sanchez and other special guests. Tickets are $10, and donations of musical instruments will be accepted at the door.
Learn more about http://hungryformusic.org
Carole Gauthier Lancon is an artist, long-time arts educator and art therapist who lives in a small village called Parks, Louisiana on the banks of Bayou Teche. Originally from St. Martinville, Carole grew up in a family where art and art making were an everyday part of life.
She also had a musical childhood, and shares some wonderful and vivid memories of her piano teacher, Mrs. Evelyn.
Evenly was an interesting woman and quite a character—she was a performer with an all-girls orchestra in the 1940s and was known as “Evelyn and her magic violin.”
Carole says says, “She was just one awesome little bitty old lady who helped me out during a time when I was pre-teen. I’d walk down the street to her house every Thursday afternoon, sit down at the piano and she would accompany me on her cello. She always made me feel very special."
“I remember one particular afternoon…. Little girls love to be bullies….On the way down the street to her house, all of my friends were playing in the front yard with another classmate, and when they saw me coming down the street, they ran and hid in the backyard. SO I had to pass in front of the house, knowing they were back there.
When I got to Miss Evelyn’s I broke down and started crying, and she comforted me. She was more than a piano teacher. She was a really fine lady.”
Thank you, Carole, for sharing your sweet memory and for introducing us to “Evelyn and her magic violin!” What a terrific story.
In this episode of Confetti Park, we hear a childhood music memory from C.C. Adcock, Louisiana native and cultural champion, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.
C.C. recalls the positive memories of neighbors who shared their music with him when he was just a kid, in endless front porch jam sessions, and how early on, he realized that musicians are nice people.
“When I was a child we were living in Baton Rouge for a while…there were these hippie people with long hair living across the street from us. And they used to pick guitars every afternoon on the front porch. I remember being fascinated by them, all being able to play guitars together. My parents would let me cross the street and go around there, and I’d strum my chords that I knew with them. They were really sweet. That’s also where I learned how nice and genuine and sweet musicians can be.”
C.C. leads the Lafayette Marquis and is a member of the swamp pop supergroup Lil’ Band O’ Gold. He’s performed with Bo Diddley, Buckwheat Zydeco, Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal, and others. He’s also a notable Grammy-nominated record producer who has worked with a wide range of musicians, such as Robert Plant, Florence + The Machine, Nick Cave and Neko Case, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Ani DiFranco, and Doyle Bramhall.
In this episode of Confetti Park, we hear an old folk tale called, "The Girl Who Danced with the Devil." It is narrated for you by Catherine Golden, an early childhood teacher living in New Orleans.
This tale originates in French Acadia culture (you can find it in the delightful Danny Kaye's Around the World Story Book) and has been adapted for a Louisiana locality.
In the story, a young girl who loves to dance more than anything is heading off to the Mardi Gras Ball with her fiancé. She is warned by her mother not to dance past midnight, otherwise, something bad will happen. When midnight strikes, the breathless partiers are having so much fun in their whirlwind of dance that they don't mind the chimes of the clock.... the door opens and a mysterious, handsome stranger enters the room.
Enjoy this mysterious and frightening tale of"The Girl Who Danced with the Devil."