Saturday, December 10, 2005

New Jersey Performing Arts Center Creates Residency for New Orleans Musicians

Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center will host a residency program for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and other musicians from New Orleans, NJPAC announced yesterday.

NJPAC also announced that it would present the NOJO's first national tour.

Both initiatives will get financial assistance from Prudential Financial, Inc., which said yesterday that it would provide $200,000 for the residency program and $300,000 for the tour.

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, a New Orleans native who is also known as a founder of Los Hombres Calientes. He has been a visible spokesman for his home city since Hurricane Katrina struck, and drew acclaim for his performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's televised "Higher Ground" benefit concert in September.

The NJPAC residency program will include performances, educational and community events, and commissions of new works.

"The connection is natural," Mayfield said. "Newark and New Orleans are sister cities with similar experiences. So to be part of celebrating jazz in a city that is so much like home only makes sense.

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