BNtheMix.com/ March 27, 2018 – BNTheMix recently had the opportunity to talk with the director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation, Bill Taylor, to find out more about how the organization came about and what their goals are.
Bill Taylor has known Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews for over 15 years, first meeting when he was an academic tutor while Andrews was attending high school. Even at a young age, Taylor stated that there were things about Andrews that set him apart from his peers. While Andrews had the talent, he also possessed a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility to his community to support new music and musicians. This goal of giving back to the community has been the central idea behind the Trombone Shorty Foundation. Taylor explained that the foundation views music as a pathway for students to develop important life skills, such as hard work, teamwork, and finding their own voices. This mirrors what music has done for Andrews and all the benefits it has given him both professionally and personally. Taylor made sure to point out that attitude is an important aspect in creating musicians. If a student has talent but does not have the right attitude, the audience will be able to pick up on that. Teaching students the importance of their attitude is a key part of creating successful musicians.
We also spoke to Taylor about the importance of music remaining in the school curriculum, as it is typically one of the first programs to be cut. Taylor pointed out that previously, there was no hard data to display the positive impact that arts programs provide. Recently there have been more and more studies done that show the impact of teaching and supporting music in education. This has given some traction to the movement to keep art in schools. Taylor points to instructors that have direct ties to New Orleans as a main reason that they are able to keep students engaged in the history of the city’s music scene and their interest in bringing that influence into the modern music scene. One of the most impactful moments that Taylor sees with the foundation each year is at Shorty Fest, when Andrews is able to bring students on stage with him to perform. During this performance, Taylor is able to see the students connecting with the audience, the music, and the culture of New Orleans.
In this upcoming year, the foundation is hoping to hold a few new events, including more performances with the students, some taking place in other cities while Andrews is on the road. The foundation plans to bring twelve students to New York City for five days for a fully immersive industry experience. They are also working on an event for the winter holidays called Tunes for Toys. Because giving back to the community is so important to the foundation, we asked Taylor what the city means to the program. He stated that the two are inseparable, as New Orleans is so unique and special with such a deeply rooted history, almost everything they do ties in to the city and takes into account the history. Taylor’s hope for the foundation is that it helps mold New Orleans into a national music hub in the vein of Nashville or Los Angeles. He believes there is potential for the city that has yet to be realized.
The Trombone Shorty Foundation will soon be launching a new website where readers can learn more about the foundation and how to support the program. Bill Taylor also emphasized that the most important part of supporting these young musicians is supporting musical acts that hail from New Orleans and seeing their live performances when they visit your city.
Shorty Fest will take place at the House of Blues New Orleans on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018. Tickets are on sale now.
Visit House of Blues event info and ticket sales:
Tickets can also be purchased via Ticketmaster: