Berklee's Response to Hurricane Katrina

Berklee's Response to Hurricane Katrina

Join the Parade! Boston's 375th Anniversary Celebration to Include Berklee and New Orleans Musicians in Parade, Concert on Sunday, Sept. 25

  Donald Harrison, saxophonist and third-generation Mardi Gras Chieftain Indian

In an effort to directly support musicians whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Katrina, Berklee has created the New Orleans Visiting Artist Fund to bring musicians from the birthplace of jazz to America's first college of jazz for teaching residencies and performances. Pianist Henry Butler and saxophonist Donald Harrison are the first two recipients with arrangements being made to bring others to campus throughout the 2005-2006 school year. Butler—blind since birth and with a style that combines jazz, Caribbean, classical, R&B, and blues influences—will teach Hammond organ labs and blues history classes at Berklee on Sept. 26-28.

To help raise awareness of the college's effort, the City of Boston has invited Berklee to add a touch of the Big Easy to Boston's 375th anniversary parade, on Sunday, September 25, starting at 1:00 p.m. from the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, and proceeding down Boylston to City Hall Plaza, for a concert at 4:00 p.m.

How to Join the Parade

This effort provides direct support for New Orleans musicians. It's Berklee's chance to give something to people who have given so much to music, when they need it the most. We hope to see you there.

  • Purchase a red Katrina Relief t-shirt at the Berklee Bookstore. The suggested donation is $15; pay whatever you can, since all proceeds go to the New Orleans Visiting Artist Fund. No fundraising is allowed at the parade, so we need to sell as many t-shirts as possible to raise money for the Visiting Artist Fund. And don't be shy about telling your friends!
  • Assemble in front of the Sheraton on Dalton Street between Boylston and Belvedere on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp. Your red t-shirt is your admission to the Grand Parade.

Jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, a New Orleans resident and 1983 Berklee alumnus, will lead the 14-piece New Orleans Resurrection Brass Band composed of alumni, faculty, and students through the Back Bay in a second-line style and with an authentic Mardi Gras sound. Harrison, a third-generation Mardi Gras Chieftain Indian, lost his home in the hurricane and is currently living in a hotel in Baton Rouge. The parade will also include a float carrying a dynamic percussion ensemble led by Yoron Israel, assistant chair of Berklee's percussion department, and more than 250 members of the Berklee community marching to raise awareness of the fund.

The parade will be followed by a concert at City Hall Plaza with a set performed by the Resurrection Band and Kendrick Oliver and the New Life Jazz Orchestra. Harrison and fellow New Orleans native, trumpeter Christian Scott will join the rollicking Count Basie-style big band, made-up almost entirely of Berklee students and alumni.