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Music in Motion: Roving Village Residencies Takes Over City Park

If the walls of New Orleans’ buildings could talk, oh, what they would have to say! We aren’t there yet, but, through the Roving Village Residencies project starting April 3, they can sing.

The Music Box City Park (Photo courtesy of Bryan Tarnowski)
The Music Box City Park (Photo courtesy of Bryan Tarnowski)

You might remember The Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Laboratory created in Bywater several years ago, a musical architecture test run from local nonprofit New Orleans Airlift that included small structures built from the salvaged materials of a centuries-old house that stood on that same lot. The structures came alive through the whimsical instruments created within them as onlookers (and on-listeners) gathered for a unique concert experience.

The idea for the project, which continues to steer the creative work of New Orleans Airlift, came out of a desire to address a local blighted lot.

“Delaney Martin, Taylor Lee Shepherd, and [artist] Swoon came up with the idea when an old, blighted creole cottage next door to Airlift co-founder Jay Pennington’s house fell down,” says New Orleans Airlift programs director Tori Bush. “How could this blight be re-imagined into something magical, transformative, and quintessential to New Orleans? Music and Architecture are the two totems of New Orleans culture,” she says. “We simply brought them together.”

Music Box City Park Close-up
The Music Box Roving Village (Photo courtesy of Melissa Stryker)

These two critical elements of the city’s culture come together again for New Orleans Airlift’s newest project, the Music Box Roving Village. Held at City Park and presented by The Helis Foundation, the project runs from April 3 through May 10. This village of seven musical structures crafted by more 15 local and international artists will spend six weeks traveling through City Park to host performance events, workshops, artist talks, and opportunities for the public to play the musical architecture.

Music in Motion

The exhibit begins on Friday, April 3 with an orchestral concert. Tickets for the orchestral concerts are $15 and are available for purchase online with the addition of a small service charge. Additional orchestral concerts are scheduled for Saturday, April 4 and Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, respectively.

The educational workshops, artist talks, and public hours are free of charge.

Additionally, secret pop-up concerts will take place during Jazz Fest, and ticket prices will vary depending on the artist. The best way to stay abreast of both the location of this roving village, pop-up shows, and details regarding workshops and artist talks is to follow them on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

Music Box Roving Village
The Music Box in the Evening (Photo courtesy of Bryan Tarnowski)

To find The Music Box Roving Village at its first location for April 3 and 4, turn from Wisner Blvd. on to Harrison Avenue; the village is about 150 feet down on the left. During the concerts, parking will be available off of Wisner Blvd., and signs and ushers will be on site to direct audience members when they arrive.

The Music Box Roving Village is on view from April 3-May 10 and is open to the public Fridays through Sundays from 12-6 p.m., except concert days when showtimes start at 7 and 9 p.m.

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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