NEW ORLEANS, La. — The newly built church was filled to its capacity of 1500 seats; people were seated in the aisles, standing in the doorways, and waiting in the hallway to hear the music. Traffic around the church was snarled and backed up for six blocks, as more people continued to make their way to hear Trombone Shorty, and his musical guests perform at a free Christmas concert at the First Baptist Church of New Orleans this past week, it was announced today by New Orleans Music Hall of Fame.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, along with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Shades of Praise Choir, headlined the three-hour performance. Also performing were Ms. Susan King, a inspirational Gospel singer, and Terc Martinez, a up and coming Latin vocalist, with a special cameo appearance by Irvin Mayfield. The unique composition of the public concert reflected the changing population of the City of New Orleans, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Families, churchgoers, civil servants, and politicians alike basked in the warmth of the rich musical sounds of this one of a kind concert. Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu praised Trombone Shorty for his dedication to the community, and honored him with an award from the State of Louisiana. Senator Diana Bajoie of Louisiana awarded him with a state proclamation for his musical contributions, and Mayor Ray Nagin also attended the multi-cultural event, and presented Trombone Shorty with a proclamation from the City of New Orleans. City Council members were also in attendance, along with State Representative Juan LeFonte, who also awarded Trombone Shorty with a declaration from the State of Louisiana House – all had come to hear this unique musical Christmas event organized by the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame featuring New Orleans’s newest shining star, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.
“This is a time of unity and celebration – a time when the people of New Orleans can come together and enjoy some of the unique musical culture this city is famous for worldwide,” said New Orleans Music Hall of Fame Founder and Executive Director, PopAgee Johnson. “This holiday is also a return to normalcy for many New Orleans natives – for many residents, this is the first time that the people have come together since the storm to celebrate together – and what better time than Christmas.”
The concert was an unprecedented success – in fact, it was so successful that people had to be turned away due to fire code restrictions. Standing ovations happened many times throughout the night, and many people were seen with tears in their eyes during the song performed by the entire assembly, “O Holy Night.” For some of the officials and business owners attending the event, the show was an eye- opener; a reminder of one of the amazing local resources that was severely affected by the Hurricane – the musicians of the city, and their dedication to the people of the city.
PopAgee Johnson, who was traveling on a forty-city tour with Trombone Shorty, thought of the idea of the musicians giving a free concert to the people of the City this year for Christmas. Less than four weeks before the event, the musicians and the Hall of Fame banded together to make this incredible event happen with the support of local businesses, the City of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana, and the newly built First Baptist Church of New Orleans. The concert was an immense success, and helped to remind the people of the City and the State of why the community and people of New Orleans are so unique and varied, and worth fighting for. There were children and adults alike sitting in the aisle, pews, and yes, even the hallway, listening to the sweet sounds of a New Orleans Christmas – sounds of unity – and hope.
More information about Trombone Shorty and The New Orleans Music Hall of Fame is available at http://www.nomhf.org or by calling Scott Willis at 504-525-7694.