Grad Students Target Music Education

Through two events and a Tipitina's fundraiser, Tulane graduate students are trying to raise awareness — and money — for music education in New Orleans.

The Graduate Student Association of the Payson Center for International Development is planning a film screening on Monday (Jan. 18), a panel discussion on Tuesday (Jan. 19) and a fundraising concert on Saturday (Jan. 23) around the theme, "The Resonant Response: Social Challenges and Music Education from the Himalayas to the Mississippi."

Monday's event at 6 p.m. will be a free screening of the documentary "Playing for Change: Peace Through Music" in the Freeman Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center on the uptown campus. The 2008 film is a musical journey portraying undiscovered musicians, worldwide, as directors Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls traveled the globe to connect the world through music.

On Tuesday, a panel discussion with local musicians, social entrepreneurs and activists will take up the topics from the documentary. The event begins at 6 p.m. in room 102 of Jones Hall on the uptown campus. Organizations that will participate include the Tipitina's Foundation, Roots of Music, the New Orleans String Project, New Orleans Fringe and the Big Top Arts Education Center.

Payson Graduate Student Association spokesman Michael Paul Sauder said the documentary demonstrates that "efforts to bring people together with music in response to social problems are global. New Orleans, in addition to generating internationally celebrated music, is home to many equally innovative music and education programs responding to local social challenges."

Saturday's fundraiser at Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., starts at 10 p.m. with music by Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter Jr., Stanton Moore and Rich Vogel. Donations are $10, with proceeds going to the Tipitina's program, "Instruments A Comin'," a program that purchases musical instruments for New Orleans public schools.

The events are sponsored in conjunction with the Payson Center for International Development. For more information e-mail Sauder or call 210-363-8507.