By: Alison Fensterstock, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
on 11/28/12 at 2:33 PM, updated November 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM
Applications are now available for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s second Class Got Brass competition, which was introduced in early 2012 as a new element of the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival. Middle school and high-school music programs from around Louisiana put together New Orleans-style brass bands from within their ranks to compete; winners shared more than $30,000 worth of instruments and instrument repair services for their band program.
The competition, organizers said, is intended to support music education while also promoting and preserving the New Orleans brass band tradition. Participating schools must pull together a 12-member (maximum) ensemble using instruments that are recognizably part of the parading brass band tradition; the final round of competition is a second-line parade judged by New Orleans brass all-stars. Last year’s judges included Shamarr Allen, Derrick Tabb, Trombone Shorty and others.
New elements of 2013’s contest include brass band clinics for participating schools, in which New Orleans brass musicians will offer the student players tips; this year also includes an elimination round to take place Sunday, March 3, and if necessary, another battle of the bands round before the second-line finals March 24. Competing bands this year must also include a dirge as part of their program, as well as traditional and contemporary upbeat brass tunes chosen from a list provided by the Foundation.
The contest is open to bands statewide, though last year’s top-three winners (KIPP McDonogh 15 middle school, and O. Perry Walker and McDonogh 35 high schools) all came from the New Orleans metro area. 14 additional competing schools each also received $750 worth of instruments and other supplies.
Bands may apply now at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation website. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2013.