Todd Visiting the Youth Orchestra
On Wednesday, June 19, in the midst of Toddstock II, there will be a bus trip from Nottoway to New Orleans. Todd will be visiting with the children of the Orchestra and undoubtedly music will ensue. Plans are still in formation for exactly what will transpire during the visit. All Toddstock participants are welcome to join us. We will be video taping this visit, and a piece will be edited and donated to the Orchestra for their future fundraising/public relations efforts.
One World...It's Our World
We hope that all Todd fans join us in supporting the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward in this special way to honor Todd on his Birthday. In forums and on Facebook, there have been many comments about creating a service project that would have special meaning for Todd by harmonizing with his deep compassion and concern for world issues. This is it! The children of this orchestra are going against all odds to love and learn orchestral music, and they are deserving of this gesture of support.
The Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans was the epicenter of the physical damage and socioeconomic fallout from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and its aftermath. According to the census of 2000, there were 14,008 people, 4,820 households, and 3,467 families residing in the neighborhood. As of the census of 2010, there were 2,842 people, 1,061 households, and 683 families residing in the neighborhood.
The Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward (www.yol9w.org) includes children who live in the lower and the upper 9th Ward of New Orleans. “The mission of the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward (YOL9W) is to foster academic achievement, cultivate artistic expression, and promote the healthy growth and development of children in New Orleans through culturally relevant music instruction and performance.”
YOL9W is an after school program, which runs Monday-Thursday from 3:30 -6:30 PM throughout the school year. (They will be participating in their Summer Daycamp during our visit.) The program consists of excellent music instruction, implemented by a diverse staff of professional musicians and college students; opportunities to participate in workshops with guest artists and local musicians; and community relevant performances. Additionally, the children receive a healthy snack, help with homework, an evening meal, and transportation to those who need it. Currently 42 children from local elementary schools are enrolled in the program.
Executive Director Laura Patterson says, "We are so excited about this partnership! Every dollar donated goes to paying teaching artist stipends, program support staff, buying snacks, and covering the cost of instrument repairs. We have almost no overhead costs, no space rentals, no office supplies, etc. (The office is at the back of my house.)
"And just to give you a little more background on the kids, 100% of our students receive free or reduced lunch, most of them eat three meals a day at school. The 9th Ward is such a low-income neighborhood that we don't even have to submit income reports to the food bank."
In numerous conversations and ongoing correspondence with Laura, it is clear that there is great synergy between Todd, Todd fans, and the children of the Orchestra, including but not limited to mutual inspiration, passion for music, social justice, creative expression, compassion, determination, hope, fellowship, increased visibility, and much more.