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A Taste of New Orleans
New Orleans is a place full of delicious food, rich culture, and alluring music. Living in southeastern Wisconsin can make it hard to experience anything like it. Luckily, the jazz program at Kettle Moraine High School puts on the annual fundraiser, Taste of New Orleans, where anyone can enjoy a great cajun meal while listening to jazz.
The event took place on Saturday, March 5th, in the Kettle Moraine High School cafeteria. Students and volunteers transformed the lunchroom into a sparkling, candlelit dining area complete with a lighted stage at the front. Mr. Weiss, a teacher who organizes the event every year, explains how the cafeteria construction posed some struggles: "Planning in the cafeteria was a little tough, but through the hard work of parents and students we were able to transform a half demolished cafeteria into a jazz club!"
Those who attended the event were served spicy jambalaya and bourbon glazed chicken on a bed of rice all catered by the Delafield Brewhaus. At the back of the room, several tables held gift baskets that guests could bid on for the silent auction.
Throughout the night, five different student musical groups, Laser Jazz, The B Flat Cats, Jessie and the Fresh Figs, Jazz Ensemble 1, and Jazz Ensemble 2, performed standards for the guests as they enjoyed their dinners. Lots of hard work went into the preparation for this one special night. "The students had been working on the music for several months, with most of the rehearsals happening before school," Weiss explains. Every group brought a unique jazz style, while all sounding professional and well-rehearsed. "I prepared by memorizing the tunes we were playing in the combo," student performer, Garrett Waite explains. Memorizing the songs allows the players to focus on other aspects of the performance without worrying about reading the sheet music.
The 2016 Taste of New Orleans was a great success. "Attendance was very strong, we had over 200 people. We raised over $4,500 towards student trips- more than ever! " Weiss adds. "I'm always excited to see people I know get exposed to one of America's only national art forms," Waite exclaims. Taste of New Orleans is a great experience for all ages to discover and learn about great music all while eating tasty food. The jazz program will continue to put on the event for future audiences who are looking for a great cultural experience. Come to Taste of New Orleans next year to immerse yourself in an authentic world of great music and delectable food!