There are always great ways to celebrate the holidays in New Orleans. This year we have a truly special event as Harry Connick, Jr. will bring his Tricentennial Celebration tour home with an evening at the UNO Arena on December 15. Connick’s shows are generally non-stop high energy affairs and this night will celebrate both the city and the season so it seems safe to assume there will a number of surprises, as well as the old favorites.
This show will also serve as a benefit for the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music at Musicians’ Village. The Center was born along with the Village in the aftermath of Katrina as a way of supporting the vital role musicians play in providing the soundtrack for life in New Orleans. It is no surprise then that the Center was founded by two of the most prominent locals on the national stage—Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. I reached out to both for their thoughts on the role of the Center in the community and their personal connections to its mission. For Branford, the Center is a space of preservation that “will ensure that generations of musicians benefit from our cultural heroes, and that their wisdom and spirit will illuminate the music of the future.” For his part, Connick immediately gravitated to the celebratory nature of our music, “I think of the Center everyday – especially on this tour – and I smile because I know that it will ensure that more generations of musicians will be able to celebrate New Orleans on stage, too.” Taken together these sentiments are a great model for the sort of stewardship that will keep our local traditional vital through new generations of music. We are already seeing great new sounds from groups like People Museum and Hurray for the Riff Raff, which have a decidedly local component at their core. The key is giving performers a space where they can play and develop. As Connick observed, “Had such a facility existed when I was a boy, I would have been here every day.”
You have a chance to support this excellent work, while doing a bit of celebrating both for the city and the season—don’t miss this chance to start your holiday off right.
Playlist of mentioned bands available at: http://bit.ly/InTune12-18.
Walter Wolfman Washington celebrates his birthday at Tipitina’s.
Elton John pops into the Smoothie King Center.
Tank and the Bangas bring the funk to Tipitina’s.
Swearin’ rocks Gasa Gasa.
John Waters camps out at the Joy.
Ellis Marsalis wows the Jazz and Heritage Center.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra shreds the Smoothie King Center.
Flow Tribe brings their Christmas Crunktacular to Tipitina’s.
Kermit Ruffins starts the New Years Celebrations at Tipitina’s.
Dates are subject to change; email Mike@MyNewOrleans.com or contact him through Twitter @Minima.