Over the weekend I recorded the Middle School battle of the bands in New Orleans (Algiers lol) .. It went pretty well. It took me a while to get all the Clips online. Mainly because one band's assistant Demanded a DVD. (smh)..
The Bands featured in this battle were Siwell middle of Jackson MS, and 3 New Orleans Middle Schools. Behrman, Fischer & Wright. The Turnout of the event pleased me. especially being on Jazz Fest Weekend. AND THE FACT THAT IT RAINED! .. i was like WOW! ..lol
But yeah. at the end of the Battle I was able to talk to folks about the event and the bands that were part of it. It was Very Great. Online someone started a discussion about the Battle. a Director in Houston wrote this on the Bandhead Forum.
Goldy : After watching the clips of the New Orleans Middle School BOTB I am happy to see such programs still exist. I was amazed at the range of some of those kids. 7 and 8th graders hitting Gs and As above the staff is impressive. I am going to show these clips to our fine arts manager of HISD and tell her this is why New Orleans Band programs are doing much better than some of the other area programs. Its ridiculuous and outright embarassing that these Middle Schools are better than more than half of our high school bands in HISD (not calling any names.)
On last year, ONE DIRECTOR took it upon himself to contact TEA to complain about middle school students doing parades instead of only focusing on tone quality. It lead to a long trail of reccomendations and HISD was ordered to stop middle school bands from marching period. NOTE: He is anti showband. Anyway hopefully New Orleans has started something great with this BOTB in Middle Schools regardless of who won, regardless of how the bands looked or sounded. At least you got your kids there performing in front of a crowd. This is a GREAT FOUNDATION for Music Education...
The first school in the Blue (Siwell) was from Jackson Mississippi, we were glad to see them There.
Here in N.O. I have noticed that the middle school directors are either Fresh out of College or BD's who've come out of Retirement to bring back our HS feeder system. New Orleans of the Past Relied on feeder systems and now with a lack of schools we rely on the Middle schools you saw in that video to prepare the kids for High school. at the rate its going I believe our middle school bands will be the reason N.O comes back strong.
Now Truth is, There were many things wrong with The 3 N.O bands in the Video. but I was happy to even be apart of the event because it showed that this is where it began for folks like ME.. during my time in Middle School,.we didn't have Middle School BOTB's , We actually had Football Games so had a reason to try to Be Good and Learn Feild Precision and The likes.. There were so many other schools in the city to compete with as well.
Also. With the power of the Internet, these Middle schoolers are exposed College band at a Young age. I was at one of the schools the day before the battle. a 4th grader asked what schools I marched for. When I said I marched for Texas Southern. he started talking to me about TSU vs Other bands and How he Likes the Tubas and Certain songs.and . I really Impressed me because he really knew what he's talking about. .LOL.. I wasn't exposed to colleges back then. so for me I felt that this dude was Already Preparing for becoming a HBCU bandsmen ..lol With college bands On his mind that's a good thing.
Our Middle schools start at the elementary level so they allow 4th through 8 to take part in Band. before Katrina it wasn't like that. with the way our school systems are, the bands seem to come and go. so the truth of the matter is. the Battle really came to Life only to motivate the kids to stay in band. The Crowd Turnout was Great. none of the directors expected that big of a crowd. especially because It was the Last Day of the Jazz Festival Weekend.. so For a First Time Event. it went PRETTY WELL.
It makes me feel Old ..LOL but I love it THIS IS THE FUTURE HBCU BANDSMEN!! ..lol!
With That Said. I Also talked to my former fellow bandsmen about the whole event and how these kids represent what we used to do and our outlook on the future of our bands. its a great thing!