My favorite free weekly event, the Saints-sponsored Wednesday at the Square concert series, has come to an end until next March. The concerts benefit the Young Leadership Council, the oldest independent young professionals’ organization in the country. They have raised at least $25 million for community projects in New Orleans since 1986.
Have you heard of a heat index? It’s an index that combines temperature and humidity to determine the temperature the body perceives, how hot it feels rather than how hot it is. It was about 94 degrees yesterday, but the heat index was 110. Any way you slice it, it was hot. But the Square was PACKED! Maybe the biggest crowd yet.
First, Soul Rebels played. The Soul Rebels have a jazz-funk sound that got everyone on their feet and kept them there.
They’re such a popular band that many were shocked to see them playing first, affording them only 45 minutes as opposed to the 1 1/2 hours the second act gets. Not to worry, they came back and played with Galactic for the last few extended-play crowd-participation songs.
Galactic featured special guest and crowd favorite, Cyril Neville.
I spotted another Neville wandering the crowd later. What an embarrassment of musical riches we have here when, week after week, there are as many talented musicians in the crowd as there are onstage.
The show reached a new high when a massive marching band from the Roots of Music program joined Galactic.
Roots of Music strives to fill the void in New Orleans middle schools in the wake of Katrina and budget cuts. Around 70 of the nearly 100 members filed onto and in front of the stage in sunshine-yellow shirts. The kids in the program are educated in music history and theory in addition to working with instruments. Even tutors, busses and hot meals are provided, the latter by parents and the Conwill Family Foundation. Judging by the energy, discipline and talent of the band, it’s time and money well spent, these kids are a great investment.
Though the YLC stays away from political agendas, they did allow a booth at the event for Dredge Baby Dredge, a group of concerned citizens seeking to protect our non-renewable resources and assist fisherman affected by the spill. To find T-shirts and more information:
I went to this Wednesday with four friends, including two I met that day, and met with about a dozen friends there. Every week, I run into even more people I know. I really love being a part of this community and I’m sad to see one of my favorite events shut down for the Summer. The good news is that Free Fridays started at Tipitina’s!
It’s a nighttime event so the maw maws, babies and men in suits won’t be there, but it will bring music lovers on a budget from miles around. Another whole community of people to meet.