New Orleans foundation helps provide instruments to young musicians

Students in the Roots of Music program, holding horns that come from donations made possible by Tipitina's. (Photo: WWL)

NEW ORLEANS (WWL-TV) — A local music venue held its annual fundraiser Monday night, which provides young musicians with instruments when they may not be able to afford them.

Lawrence Rawlins may only be ten, but he’s dreamed of playing the music for as long as he can remember.

“I used to be in my mom’s bed holding a trumpet,” he said.

It’s not just music for the youngster.

“Music actually means how people feel,” he explained. “It’s just a story about how people feel.”

For some kids like Rawlins, expressing himself through his french horn wouldn’t be possible without donated instruments like the ones provided by Tipitina’s Foundation.

“The horns we have from Tipitina’s Foundation, they are amazing horns,” said Jeron Fruge with the Roots of Music. He explained these brand new horns they get from Tipitina’s are professional quality, costing upwards of $1,500. Most of the kids Fruge works with wouldn’t be able to afford even a $200 horn.

“An instrument that’s $1,500 for each student is a really high bar to set for us in terms of fundraising, so when we get a shipment from Tipitina’s it’s a really happy day,” Anne Messner, the executive director of TRM said. She explained these new instruments are critical especially when they are working with used and sometimes damaged donations.

“We prioritize all the time and decide which ones we want to send out and how much we can afford to spend on repairs,” Messner said.

When the foundation is able to hand new horn with a shiny new bell to a student, they go to kids like Maiya and Evin Douglas.

“I was happy because it had my initials on it,” Evin said of the horn. “It had my birthday and my initials, I was like whoa, it was like, ‘This horn must be meant for me.”

From there these students hit the streets, playing loud and proud for all of New Orleans to hear.
The Tipitina’s Foundation has handed out more the $3 million worth of instruments to more than 100 New Orleans schools.

(© 2016 WWL)

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