After a 2 year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Class Got Brass program will return on Sunday, April 3. Registration is now open to middle schools and high schools in Louisiana.
Class Got Brass is an educational program through the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation with two inspiring goals. The program hopes to promote music education for middle and high schools, as well as promoting the traditional brass band music of New Orleans. Lester Singleton, Band Director at St. Katherine Drexel Prep School says, "Thank you to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation for supporting music in our school system and giving students an opportunity to explore their inner beauty through music."
The Class Got Brass contest was started in 2012 by The Jazz and Heritage Foundation to help provide additional funding for music education in middle schools and high schools, an area that is in need of support. The contest also helps Louisianians to feel pride in New Orleans cultural traditions, such as the famous second line and brass bands.
Bands that wish to compete will be limited to 12 members and can feature only one bass drum, one snare drum, one tuba, and instruments that are recognized as part of the brass band tradition. Participating schools are encouraged to augment their bands with "steppers" or dancers.
There are two categories--beginner and advanced. There are more than $45,000 in prizes that will be awarded to winners and participants.
Additionally, The Jazz and Heritage Foundation's partners at the Preservation Hall Foundation will be providing resources to help band directors prepare their students for the competition. The resource-rich web site features 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. These resources will be linked on the Class Got Brass website page.
Winning teams will receive prizes in the form of a grant check that can be redeemed for instruments, instrument repair, sheet music, and other supplies or services to support the needs of schools' music programs. Competitors who don't place in either of the categories will receive a stipend of up to $1,000.
The competition on Sunday, April 3 will take place at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center located at 1225 N. Rampart Street in New Orleans. For questions contact the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation by calling (504) 558-6103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more at their website at jazzandheritage.org/class-got-brass.