Supporters of the band worldwide reached out with offers to help us recover my sousaphone/tuba. The outpouring of concern and love was overwhelming. Thank you to all who helped lead the effort to get the horn back. It worked!! Happily, the horn found its way home...
One of the challenges for aspiring bass and tuba players is the cost of professional quality instruments. It is oftentimes a barrier to pursuing their dreams. In response to the loss of my instrument, so many reached out with offers to replace my horn. I wanted to harness this heartfelt enthusiasm to put instruments into the hands of aspiring musicians.
When we were in Austin last week for SXSW, I learned about one of the victims of the Austin package bombings, Draylen Mason. Draylen was a young African-American bass and tuba player; he was only 17 years old with a bright future. Draylen had recently been accepted into several prestigious collegiate music programs. As a fellow bass and tuba player, I am inspired by his life and pained by this senseless crime. In order to support students like Draylen, the Preservation Hall Foundation is creating the "SousaFund," designed to provide instruments and educational support to young African-American music students.
I am asking all who contacted us with offers of support to direct your attention to this fund. The members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be making the first donation in the memory of Draylen Mason. Please join us in providing a brighter future for the next generation of musicians.
Ben Jaffe and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band