Riffing On the Tradition: Runnin' Wild
Continuing the theme of leadership in our music community, I want to announce that for the third year in a row, musicians and health professionals are invited to run as “Team NOMC” (New Orleans Musician Clinic) in the annual Crescent City Classic 10k race. The next CCC 10k is in two weeks, on Saturday morning, April 7.
What is “Team NOMC?” It’s a unique alliance of professional musicians, health advocates, and music students who together have a simple yet important message: A healthy future for New Orleans music starts with healthy musicians.
How does running 6 miles pertain to leadership? Well, it’s simple. It’s about setting an example. Not only is participation in this event the ideal opportunity to demonstrate to our public as well as civic leaders that the New Orleans music community shares a sense of pride, self-respect
as well as commitment to our culture, but it also demonstrates that we recognize the importance of mentoring tomorrow's musicians to be vigilant about their well-being.
In a way, I share some personal responsibility for starting this effort and founding the team. Prior to turning 40 in 2009, I decided to run my first 10k, frankly, just to know I could. I had a blast, and after the finish, City Park was a bustling party complete with live music. I decided it would be better if performers included musicians who had actually completed the race, so I began organizing for 2010. Enthusiastic support came from the Louisiana Public Health Institute as well as the New Orleans Musician’s Assistance Foundation. Artist Corps New Orleans, whom I wrote about last week, even pitched in for some team jerseys. The CCC10k organizers set up a small stage close to the finish line and LPHI and NOMAF had refreshments and fruit waiting for us, along with our instruments.
The 2011 team membership more than doubled to nearly 50 musicians and health professionals, and we added a youth dimension by enlisting the participation of Warren Easton High School’s band, including its director, Ms. Asia Muhaimin, and a few parents. We had certified trainers from Kona Fitness, who led some practice runs along with volunteer coach Don Paul a poet, song-writer and former competitive distance runner. Sponsors last year included the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living, the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, and the School Health Connection.
For 2012, the team continues to build. Don Paul told me that Warren Easton will again run with the team sponsored by School Health Connection. Stacey Morigeaux, Programs Coordinator for the Musician’s Clinic, says that, as in previous years, participating musicians who run the race and play a couple of songs at the finish will qualify for an honorarium from the NOMAF “Gig Fund.”
Spread the word and let other musicians know. I have to emphasize, this is for ALL musicians. Stacey also told me that the 2012 team will also include walking participants from the NOMC’s health program for diabetic patients. That was great news to me, because I originally intended this to be the beginning of ongoing wellness and fitness programs for our culture-bearers.
It’s a fun way to show the community that, despite the extra effort that our business requires, we can steward our own prosperity, longevity, and promote a healthier cultural life for our city.
Evan Christopher is a noted member of the New Orleans music community and a founding member of Nola Art House Music. Click here for an interview with the artist. He writes “Riffing on the Tradition” for NolaVie.