Jazz Fest Celebrates NOCCA’s 40th Birthday

Join us at the New Orleans Fair Grounds from April 24-May 3 for a very special party in NOCCA’s honor!

In the early 1970’s, a forward-thinking group of artists, educators, and community leaders joined forces to launch a new kind of high school, one focused exclusively on the arts. They knew then what others are just beginning to understand: that arts education not only fosters great artists, it fosters great thinkers who use creativity to assess and address problems in the world around them.

In 1974, this group’s vision became a reality when NOCCA opened its doors. Forty years later, NOCCA is recognized as a powerful cultural and economic engine, with alumni who’ve earned accolades in the arts, in business, and many other fields. Noted graduates include Wynton Marsalis, Gary Solomon Jr., Poppy Tooker, Terence Blanchard, Lori Guilbeau, Terrance Osborne, Brandan Odums, and Wendell Pierce.

Many NOCCA alumni were first seen at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which provided an early opportunity to showcase their talent. Now, during this special 40th birthday event, join Jazz Fest in celebrating the unique cultures of New Orleans and NOCCA.

The NOCCA Pavilion

The NOCCA Stage, located inside the NOCCA Pavilion at the center of the Fair Grounds, will feature music, drama, jazz, musical theatre, spoken word, and live DJ presentations by NOCCA students. In addition, there will be special performances by NOCCA alumni Jason Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Alexis Marceaux, Big Sam Williams, and more. Artist demonstrations will include the painting of a mural in front of the NOCCA Pavilion by both current students and #ExhibitBe creator Brandan “Bmike” Odums. An interactive Creative Writing Chalkboard, Media Arts Animation, and Photo Exhibits complete the showcase.

NOCCA Alumni at the Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent

The Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent will feature two special alumni jam sessions. Dubbed “The NOCCA Allstar Alumni Jazz Jam: The Ellis Marsalis Legacy”, the event will feature two different lineups:

April 26: Jason Stewart, Kyle Roussel, Miles Labat, and Dominic Minix.
May 3: Donald Harrison Jr. and special guests

The tent will also feature Victor Goines and the Faubourg Quartet as they present “Charlie Parker with Strings”, a collaboration between NOCCA’s Jazz and Classical Departments. The performance will include NOCCA faculty members Michael Pellera, Jason Marsalis, Chris Severin, and Dr. Jee Yeoun Ko.

Elsewhere At The Fairgrounds

The Gospel Tent will showcase the New Orleans Black Chorale and its tribute to the late NOCCA graduate Moses Hogan by performing some of his works. The Kids’ Tent will feature dance and drama students in the presentations of Carnival of the Animals and A History of The Second Line. Grandstand exhibits include NOCCA Humanities: Creative Responses to Brenda Marie Osbey’s Poetry.

You’ll find a complete Jazz Fest Schedule at JazzFest.com.

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