"Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Since Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent broken New Orleans levees, hundreds of music lovers have donated enough to keep displaced musicians in gear, transportation, housing and instruments through the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. This grass roots support has freed nomrf from having a large staff, office or professional fund-raisers and lets us concentrate on getting instruments directly into the hands of New Orleans musicians.
Next week, fourteen Fender Squier electric guitars, amp and stands will be given to young musicians in New Orleans thanks to Mel who bought them with her Bat Mitzvah money. Another family will drive the instruments down, along with gear they collected from neighbors in their Penny to Remember New Orleans Drive. The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund will distribute the instruments with Dash RipRock entertaining, and NOMRF supporters REM are sending some surprises down to encourage the beginning musicians. The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund is also part of replacing a piano teacher's Pearl River baby grand piano which she had just made the last payment on the week Katrina hit, so it's a summer of new beginnings.
Founded while displaced from Hurricane Katrina, our 501(c)3 certified charity operates entirely on grass roots donations with no corporate or government sponsorship. Between now and 8/29, the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund is hosting a ReBuild Your Own New Orleans Garage Band drive in honor of Scott Sherman, drummer for one of New Orleans' first garage bands, Dr. Specs and the Optical Illusions. Scott, who my husband Jeff gigged last with the week before Hurricane Katrina, died in the storm, and many of our city's legends have passed away too soon.
Almost three years post-Katrina, touring musicians are struggling with higher gas prices and can use help staying out on the road. In the current economy, CD sales are down across the board, and many displaced musicians are still attempting to build a new fan base in towns halfway across the country. None of today's music, from jazz to R&B, would be what it is without the contribution of New Orleans musicians. Please join us in getting the next generation of New Orleans musicians started out right.
Donations may be made at nomrf.org or at our MySpace page, or you can:
Host an instrument and gear drive
Plan a ReDefine 8/29 event in your own town
Download ReDefine 8/29 with tracks including REM, Dr. John, Ian Hunter
Ask a local hero to donate part of downloads, ticket sales or merchandise