The annual, free concert series in Armstrong Park will add a stage with new youth music programming in 2014, thanks to a collaborative effort lead by Positive Vibrations Foundation. Titled Congo Kids, the concert series' new youth initiative will provide New Orleans children with cultural, educational, musical training and employment opportunities.
"The Congo Kids Stage at Jazz In The Park allows us to bring positive engagement opportunities to all New Orleans families and children, especially those in the Treme and other nearby neighborhoods," said Ben Faulks, Co Founder and Director of Positive Vibrations Foundation. Positive Vibrations Foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to create and encourage community through development and preservation of arts, music, culture and heritage.
People United for Armstrong Park are thrilled about the addition of Congo Kids to Jazz in the Park. “This is chance for the youth to get involved in the musical traditions that come out of Congo Square. We hope that the kids in our program will show us what the future of New Orleans sounds like,” says Co-Founder Ben Harwood.
Positive Vibrations Foundation will work with The New Orleans Youth Sound Experience (NOYSE) to produce Congo Kids. NOYSE, designed to increase students’ awareness and appreciation for local culture by giving hands on opportunities in the often overlooked technical side of music production, will run the sound at Congo Kids and program local youth talent to fill the stage.
“My students and I are excited for this opportunity to work with Positive Vibrations Foundation to produce the Congo Kids Stage. NOYSE students will gain invaluable experience with sound production during the 9 week series, which can possibly lead to a summer job in the music industry,” said NOYSE Director Matthew Shilling.
Congo Kids will also offer open dance workshops in partnership with Hope Stone New Orleans, a non-profit organization that offers free and low cost arts education classes to local youth and adults. “Our master instructors will teach a different dance style each week,” says Dana Reed, Director of Hope Stone Kids New Orleans . “African Dance and Drumming, Hip Hop, Zydeco, and Salsa are a few of the genres the kids will explore, thanks to Positive Vibrations Foundation,” she said.
Congo Square Preservation Society founder Luther Gray is also excited about Congo Kids. “The Congo Square Preservation Society is looking forward to teaching and sharing the history, rhythms & dances of Congo Square to Congo Kids participants during the Jazz in the Park spring concert series,” said Gray.
While no advance registration is necessary for participation in Congo Kids, families and youth who wish to learn more about NOYSE, Hope Stone and other cultural programs supported by Positive Vibrations can do so at positivevibrationsfoundation.org .
Positive Vibrations actively seeks other organizations whose missions are to engage youth while preserving heritage. To join Positive Vibration Foundation's family of youth programming providers, please contact Ben Faulks at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit positivevibrationsfoundation.org
More information about the Jazz in the Park festival series can be found at ArmstrongPark.org