Sometimes people do nice things and it makes everyone happy. The non-profit Tipitina’s Foundation presented the non-profit Roots of Music student marching band with more than $40,000 worth of new and refurbished instruments. The student band received the instruments during a surprise donation ceremony following their last practice of 2016, along with a party catered by the Link Restaurant Group.Tipitina’s Foundation is a non-profit foundation that grew out of the legendary New Orleans music venue that remains a cultural icon today and continues to be instrumental in the development and promotion of Louisiana music around the world. Tipitina’s Foundation supports Louisiana and New Orleans’ irreplaceable music community and preserves the state’s unique musical cultures by promoting childhood music education, the professional development of adult musicians, and the increased profile and viability of Louisiana music as a cultural, educational, and economic resource.The Roots of Music provides music history and theory as well as instrumental instruction and ensemble performance preparation to kids ages 9-14 from low-income households. They provide students with hot meals and round-trip transportation to reduce common barriers to participation. Five days a week, 12 months a year, the program delivers over 2,500 hours of music education and other academic tutoring, over 30,400 nutritious hot meals, 1,400 bus journeys, and supplies over 150 instruments for student use. It’s simply beautiful.Both organizations go hand-in-hand in ensuring that the legendary sounds of New Orleans are kept alive through the growing potentials of its youth. Jeff Strout of the Tipitina’s Foundation was on site to capture this thoughtful exchange, which you can see in the photos below.
In mid-December, the jamgrass champions of Cabinet announced that they’d be going on an indefinite hiatus following their New Year’s Eve run into 2018. So when the six-piece finally did hit their highly anticipated three-night end-of-year run, they hit it hard, laying out an emotional and triumphant show at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania with support from Serene Green, a traditional bluegrass quartet out of Lehigh Valley.With a familial atmosphere and friends of the band and key figures within the Cabinet community all gathered together, from the opening remarks of “We didn’t bring a set list, but we made damn sure to bring the moonshine,” the tone was set—spontaneous, bittersweet, and celebratory all at once, for members of the band and audience alike. The first set featured primarily acoustic numbers, including the group’s former festival namesake “Susquehanna Breakdown” and a set-ending fan-favorite, “The Tower”.Cabinet’s second set started with the celebratory midnight countdown featuring fiddle player Todd Kopec playing “Auld Lang Syne”. After the band rang in 2018, mandolinist JP Biondo’s father hopped on stage to sing “Gather All Ye” with his son. While set one of the night was more acoustic-minded, the band welcomed in 2018 with primarily electric numbers, drawing deep from their catalog including “The One”, the first tune the original trio (JP, Pappy, and Mickey) ever wrote together and that hadn’t been played in an extended period of time.Spontaneity has become a hallmark of Cabinet shows, and the band made sure to continue that tradition by coming off the stage and going into the crowd for an acoustic encore. To join them for the encore, opening act Serene Green came down to the floor as well to help Cabinet with their final numbers of “Oh Darlin’” and the appropriately titled “Home Now”. Given the vibe of the theater during these final moments, it felt as though Cabinet was welcoming in their hiatus on a very positive note.You can check out photos from Cabinet’s final show ahead of their indefinite hiatus below, courtesy of Sam Watson.Setlist: Cabinet | F.M. Kirby Center | Wilkes Barre, PA | 12/31/2017Set One: Old Farmer’s Mill, Pine Billy, Old Time Songs, Po’s Reel, Doors, Back to the Basics, Poor Man’s Blues, *Caroline>Shined Like The Sun, Pennsylvania, Cut Down Tree, Susquehanna Breakdown, The TowerSet Two: Auld Lang Syne, Gather All Ye, ^The One, Carry Me In A Bucket, Heavy Rain, Eleanor, Dirt, The Dove, Miss Molly, MysterioEncore: Oh Darlin’, Home NowEncore played unplugged in the audience, featuring Serene Green and Chris Kearney[Audio: Keith Litzenberger] Load remaining images Cabinet | F.M. Kirby Center | Wilkes Barre, PA | 12/31/2017 | Photos: Sam Watson