The Roots of Music is a New Orleans non-profit that puts donated instruments in the hands of 140 Nola kids ages 8-14. The Marching Crusaders are a favorite at parades around New Orleans, and now five days a week of practice has truly paid off: the band earned a coveted invitation to march in the Rose Parade on January 1, 2013. With 40 million viewers tuning in from around the world, this will be a mighty big spotlight shining on an incredible bunch of young musicians.
Derrick Tabb, drummer of the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band, and Allison Reinhardt founded The Roots of Music in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as New Orleans was struggling to get back on its feet. After he'd played in far too many funeral second lines for New Orleans teenagers, Tabb decided he needed to create an opportunity for kids to get out of their rough neighborhoods and channel their energy into music. The program has been incredibly successful, with 85% of students bringing up their grades and many continuing on to be active participants and band leaders at their high schools.
If you're not already in the know about this phenomenal organization, definitely read up on all that they do on the Roots of Music website. And be sure to cheer them on as they represent New Orleans music, culture and resiliance at the Rose Parade on January 1!