It’s amazing it has taken us this long to arrive in a city so synonymous with music. For those that have been you know that the city doesn’t know how to be quiet but it’s not just constant noise, it’s constant music! Any street corner at any time can be the scene of a rousing jazz jam from consummate professionals or young musicians cutting their teeth in the historic capital of jazz. Side note: if you’ve never been make a point of hanging around Frenchmen street for the hotspot of the aforementioned scene.
I remember a conversation Rod and I had back in 2012 about which city would be our next. The duel was between Detroit and NOLA, both worthy and musically iconic in their own right. Thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation at the time we were lucky to pursue developing Detroit first, however, our focus has never wavered to make it to this great city. On September 6th, 2016 we opened the doors to the NOLA Notes for Notes® Studio at the NFL-YET Clubhouse in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana. We were honored to welcome our generous partners from the CMA Foundation as well as country star Eric Paslay to help upon the studio. For those that have been to an N4N grand opening you know we do things a little differently; no ribbon cutting here, we strum the first guitar! This was the first opening in which we had a DOUBLE strum to open the studio with Eric Paslay and Matt Owens of Clark Construction.
Matt Owens and Clark Construction are the saviors of Notes for Notes® NOLA, without them the studio would still be a distant dream of ours. We were extremely lucky in 2015 to be introduced to Clark Construction and receive their support as they built out the Ventura Studio. Clark Construction’s corporate culture is unsurpassed by any contractor we have ever seen. They’re commitment to the communities where they live and work is absolutely amazing and we are so lucky that they stepped in to help make this studio a reality. We were lucky to meet Matt thanks to an intro from our (guitar playing) friend at Clark Construction, Mike Moore. Led by Matt and a very dedicated team including Chris Fava, Wes Nash, Andrew Bichof, Jacob Auer, Brandon Brown, Chad Smith and many more very generous contractors, the studio was transformed over 3 weeks in a hot Louisiana August into the studio you see below.
We are incredibly grateful to the Clark Construction, Matt Owens and the incredible team that made this studio a reality. We call this our first “Craftsman” studio because of the attention to detail that was paid to our original design. The stage and accents around the studio were custom made by wood burning, texturizing with a chain, and staining wood to give the studio a truly special touch. While our job is to open and run these studios, for Matt and his team this was purely a charitable gift to the NOLA community. They were often in the studio until 10 at night if not later, let alone coming in on the weekends! The music that is coming out of and will continue to be for years and years is in huge part thanks to these guys!
This studio marked our 14th location and 6th studio supported by the CMA Foundation. We are so appreciative that Tiffany, Joe, and Victoria with the CMA Foundation made the trip to celebrate the opening as well as Eric Paslay and Wrabel. We were lucky to meet Eric this past CMA Fest where he visited our pop-up studio at FanX but glad he was able to see a full studio and hang with some aspiring musicians at the same time! While we strummed the first guitars (actually Eric and Matt did), gave out Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Records, and welcomed our very first members through the studio doors that day we feel like we will never be able to thank those who have made it possible. We only hope that as more youth enter everyday and are able to explore, create, and record music that that will be the ultimate thank you!
The NOLA Studio features many firsts; the LED lit track room, Craftsman stage, and the Presonus Mix Room. As a supporter of Notes for Notes since 2014 (and a Louisiana based company in Baton Rouge) Presonus provided their state-of-the-art equipment (16.0.2, Eres 8s, Air 10s, and AR12 Mixer) to this hometown location. To honor their support we’ve unveiled the very first Presonus Mix Room! We are very grateful for the technological sonic advances of Presonus as well as their gift to the next generation of musicians. The NOLA Studio like all our other locations are generously equipped thanks to Casio, DW Drums, Zildjian, Audtio Technica, Native Instruments, Gibson Foundation, Dell, GIK Acoustics, and Novation. We are also grateful for the support of Kim Bentson, Bentson Kauth Foundation, and Chevron.
At Notes for Notes® we are all about people. We are looking forward to a long lasting partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Louisiana and all of their team (Carlos, Sid, & Thomas). Our studio would just be a room full of gear was it not for our team comprised of NOLA Relations, Shannon O’Toole and Program Director, Justen Williams. Justen is in the studio everyday inspiring and challenging the next generation of musicians. You may recognize Justen from his very popular Youtube tutorials; needless to say we are extremely lucky to have such a qualified team member at the studio’s helm. Outside the Studio, Shannon is building the connections that will make our NOLA presence known. She knows how to get it done and has been doing an incredible job making friends throughout the musical community. We are lucky to have such a dedicated team, partners, and supporters who all have worked so hard to make this studio available to NOLA youth… for FREE. We invite you to come check out the studio, get involved, and experience the talent that is already emerging!
Some photos courtesy of Erika Goldring