Unsung Heroes: Tipitina's

By Warren Bujol | 1/21/2015

As you are well aware, I believe music to be one of man-kind's greatest contributions. We have an inherent desire to create music, but not all of us know how to. Thankfully, there are organizations like the Tipitina’s Foundation, who take on the task of educating and equipping our young, aspiring musicians. I have only recently become aware of Tipitina’s, but I am thankful to have them in our community. This foundation not only serves to put instruments in the hands of our children, but also as a musical pitre dish for local artists. Ever since my band, Wyld Stallyns…I mean Juxtapose, moved into our rehearsal room, we have become a part of the small, yet loud community that composes the majority of the Lake Charles music scene. We are even slapping this magazine together in our temporary office/probably closet, right here at Tipitina’s. 

Being that I had gone so long without ever learning of this magical place, I figured I might need to offer you a few details about it. 

What started in 1997 by a desire to buy musical instruments for a school marching band, has evolved into what we now know as the Tipitina’s Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that supports Louisiana’s irreplaceable music community, and preserves the state’s unique musical cultures. They do this with; childhood music education programs, professional development of adult musicians, and increasing the profile and viability of Louisiana music as a cultural, educational, and economic resource. 

Tipitina’s has four flagship programs: 

#4 - Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op 

A statewide network workforce development and job skill training centers for musicians, filmmakers, and other digital media workers. These Co-Ops are currently operational in, Lake Charles, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria, Shreveport, and Monroe. This effort has provided opportunity for professional growth for over 2,400 members. 

#3 - Instruments A Comin’

So far, Tipitina’s has placed more than $2.5 million worth of musical instruments into school band programs across the state. Instruments A Comin’ has benefited over 75 schools, and thousands of children each school year. 

#2 - Tipitina’s Internship Program

The internship program is an after school Jazz and digital recording program, which offers motivated young musicians, interested in musical careers, the opportunity to study all aspects of the music industry under the close mentorship of music business professionals at no cost. 

#1 - Sunday Youth Music Workshops

These workshops deliver a hands-on, improvisational approach to music education, giving the students an opportunity to perform alongside veteran musicians on a professional stage. These workshops feature some of the best musicians in the region, and has served over 1,400 students so far. Best part, it’s free!

Obviously, I copied the above sections from a neatly prepared, provided source; but I truly believe in the great things this organization is doing for our community. I’d like them even more if they’d sponsor the Exposure Magazine music section; hell, I’d be happy if they just ran an ad or two. Either way, I hope that as our city grows, we realize and acknowledge just how important organizations like this are to our culture. If you are ever in the vicinity of 2128 Hodges St, Lake Charles, take the time to see this place for yourself. Chances are, you’ll find the office manager Cedric Ferrell – who always appears to be on the clock – working tirelessly, and possibly even meet some of the native musicians who caress your eardrums in the local bars.

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