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Public Service and All That Jazz

April 29, 2010 10:30 AM
Fran Simon

The Lafayette Academy Charter School band, side-by-side with their mentors, Tulane Marching Band members, played several tunes including "All That Jazz" at the Center for Public Service showcase at the Hollygrove Market and Farm on Tuesday (April 27).


First-year Tulane student Brendan Carter, second from right, mentors the drum line of the Lafayette Academy Charter School band, which performed at a showcase sponsored by the Tulane Center for Public Service on Tuesday (April 27). (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Barry Spanier, director of the Tulane University Marching Band, taught a service-learning course for the first time this semester through which 11 of his band members received credit for working with 4th- through 7th-graders at the local school.

"If our students can help inspire and motivate kids to work harder and to stick with playing an instrument, we help sustain the history and tradition of music that is so much a part of New Orleans," Spanier says. "And our students learn that teaching music is different from playing music — it makes them better musicians."

Kyrsten Melander, a work-study student in the Center for Public Service who is drum major of the Tulane band, says the young students bonded with their mentors, resulting in fewer kids wanting to switch instruments or drop out of the band.

Tuesday's event was all about sharing collaborative work between students and faculty members and their community partners from educational, health, environmental, financial, cultural and governmental agencies.

While Tulane has 412 community partners, each semester the Center for Public Service is able to place students with about 120 of them, according to Vincent Ilustre, executive director.

The Hollygrove Market and Farm, located at 8301 Olive St., was one of numerous organizations represented at the event. Community partners work with Tulane students who must complete a public-service requirement before graduation.

Since 2008, Hollygrove Market and Farm has worked to increase access of fresh, local produce to Hollygrove and the surrounding neighborhoods. The organization has hosted a number of service-learning students and interns in semester-long activities.