New OrleansA year ago, 13-year-old Courtney Jones regularly got into fights on the school bus. His grades usually hovered around a D average. Sometimes, children he knew in his neighborhood might talk with him about how fun it was to break into cars. He never did it. But that’s the kind of influences he was around.
Then he joined The Roots of Music Crusaders Marching Band, an ambitious afterschool program provided free-of-charge to 102 New Orleans middle school children between the ages of nine and 14. It was founded in 2008 by snare drummer Derrick Tabb, an alum of the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band. Tabb insisted that the program provide buses to get the children to the program, as well as