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WHAT IS THE PARADE FOR? Booooom, booooom. Here comesthe parade. "What's the parade for?" "What does it matter?Let's get in the second line and have some fun." And soit goes.In New Orleans everybody loves a parade. Weparade for Santa Claus, St. Patrick, Carnival, the Heart Fund, the Cancer Society, Spring Fiesta, funerals, and just about any other excusewe can think of. And no parade would be completewithout one or two jazz marching bands. Onward. Olympia. Eureka. Tuxedo. Immortal namesin New Orleans. Marching bands unique to the Crescent City. Each band has been heaped with honors from coast to coast as well as at home. Each band is famous in its own right. But have you heard about the Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band? No. Well, it'stime you were told. "The Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band is a marching band made up of 26youngsters between the ages of nine and eighteen," explains DannyBarker, the band's organizer and afinejazz musician in his own right. "We play all of the oldjazz classics; we march in parades; we are good, and I don't mind bragging a little bit." Started more than a year ago, the band is now in such demand that it rarely misses a streetparade. "My people have always loved music," says Barker. "Most of us are born with the 'Baptist beat'—the rhythm of the good old Christian songs like A Closer Walk with Thee. We don't have to be taught a bunch of fancy stuff to be able to play an instrument. Wego around with the melodies in our heads from the time we are just little folks and by the time we get our hands on an instrument and somebodyshows us a thing or two, we are ready to play." l8 K E E P I N G THE BEAT ON THE STREET LeroyJones Jr., a bright i4~year-old lad, did just that. His parents gave him a trumpet and before long he "was blowing away like a junior Gabriel. He invited some of his friends over with their instruments and the Jones' garage on St. Denis Street was turned into a rehearsal hall. "I used to walk down the street and listen to Leroy and his friends playing rock music," Barker explains, "and I got to thinking that they should be playing jazz." Barker spoke to Reverend Andrew DarbyJr., pastor of his church, Fairview Baptist, and they came up with the idea of trying to get the young people of the community interested in a Christian band. "Reverend Darby was very concerned about getting the youth in our community involved in worthwhile projects," Barker says. Leroy liked the idea of forming a marching band. He talked to his friends and before long Barker had a dozen recruits. "Wethought it was pretty great that he had Baptists,Catholics,Lutherans, SevenDay Adventists, and Holy Rollers playing in the Fairview Baptist Church Christian Band," he proudly states. "Gospel jazz music brought all of theseyoung boys together with a single purpose: playing an instrument for a pastime rather than getting involved in some of the street problems of their peers." Barker enlisted the help of Charlie Barbarin Sr., brother of the famousjazz trumpet player, Paul [actually a drummer], who passed away a few years ago. Barbarin, an able trumpet player himself, brought along his two young sons and became director of the band. Leroy's parents agreed to allow the band to use their garage for practice; Reverend Darby cooperated byproviding the church bus for transportation; Barbarin turned out to be a dynamic director; Barker took care of all the details; the boys supplied the music. The band began practicing each Monday night for three hours and soon invitations for personal appearancesbegan to pour in. "Wejust believed in the youngsters," says Barker. "Weconsidered the band a self-help program where young boys could learn to do something forthemselves; they could learn to follow directions; they could work towards a positive goal." The group has played for both the 1971 and 1972Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Rag Time Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C. "Wewere also invited to play at the Celebration of Life, the Rock Festival in Pointe CoupeeParish," says Barker. "However, that was quite a mistake. When the band got there and saw all of the naked and half-naked people roaming around, their eyesnearly popped out of their heads and they scattered and ran down to the river to get...


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