Wednesday, March 26, 2013


University of New Orleans Alumnus and Music Instructor Leads Middle Schoolers to Glory

University of New Orleans alumnus and adjunct jazz studies instructor Kelvin Harrison on Sunday led a middle school band to win $6,000 in a brass band competition. The money will be used to buy new instruments for the students' school.

Harrison, who received his degree from the College of Liberal Arts in 1995, teaches music fulltime in the middle school at KIPP McDonogh 15 Primary School for the Creative Arts, a public charter school in New Orleans' French Quarter. He also teaches applied saxophone lessons and conducts a saxophone ensemble at UNO. Harrison is "a great player and an amazing music educator," said Missy Bowen, spokeswoman for the UNO Music Department.

On Sunday, the KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School band took second place in the second annual Class Got Brass brass band competition sponsored by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit organization that puts on the city's famed annual Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Students from 13 area schools competed in the Class Got Brass contest, which took place in New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Park as part of the Foundation's sixth annual Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival. The student bands paraded through Congo Square clad in traditional brass band attire and each performed a traditional dirge, a classic brass band song and a contemporary up-tempo song before a panel of some of New Orleans' top musicians.

The Jazz and Heritage Foundation doled out more than $27,000 in prizes at this year's contest, according to a news release. First prize went to O. Perry Walker High School, led by band director Wilbert Rawlins. The two schools are now officially archrivals in the contest.  Last year, the top two prizes in the contest were reversed. KIPP McDonogh 15 took first.