O. Perry Walker wins $10,000 in band contest

O. Perry Walker High School won the Class Got Brass competition at the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival on March 24, with musicians under the direction of Walker bandleader Wilbert Rawlins. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s program supports music education in the schools while promoting New Orleans’ traditional culture.

At stake was more than $20,000 worth of instruments for the winning schools’ music programs, including a top prize of $10,000.

Thirteen Louisiana middle and high school bands paraded through Congo Square in traditional brass band attire and performed for a who’s who of New Orleans musicians serving as judges.

Each band was required to perform a traditional dirge, followed by a hymn from the classic cannon of brass band material as well as a contemporary up-tempo song, all within five minutes.

The first place, $10,000 prize went to Walker. Second place, with a $6,000 prize, was earned by KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, led by band director Kelvin Harrison Sr. Third place, earning $4,000, was Joseph S. Clark Prep, led by band director Joe Franklin.

Remaining schools in the competition received consolation prizes of $750 worth of instruments or music supplies.