RED Hearts: The Whole Gritty City Documentary

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today's RED Hearts post is from Lisa Chau, 22, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who has love for band kids in the Big Easy:

My marching band days were filled with crushed-velvet rainbow leotards, six-foot flaming flags, and the constant jeering from my peers for being someone who took my concert flute to band camp for fun. I can still conjure the tinge of embarrassment I felt whenever we stood before our unenthusiastic audience for halftime shows.

Thankfully, the trailer for Richard Barber's up-and-coming documentary about high school marching bands in New Orleans, The Whole Gritty City, struck a chord in my former band-geek heart. It opens with the bold sound of roaring brass instruments, taking me right back to the many times I exhaled teenage frustrations right into my own instrument -- and was greeted with calming resonance.

“Once that band gives you that down beat… just for that brief two or three minutes, you forget every problem you had. You have no cares in the world.” – Wilbert Rawlins Jr.

But here’s the coolest part: You can help make this film happen. (Yeah, particularly you out there who might have mocked a girl with a flute at some point.) The Whole Gritty City has reached its funding goal, but you can still help make sure this film gets released. You have until April 12 on Kickstarter, to donate (the minimum is only $1). Plus, if you pledge $15 or more, you get an on-screen thank you in the film’s credits.

Barber's doc launches us into the lives of high school marching band students. But what it’s really about is how music and performance can provide a bit of happiness in a world filled with troubles. These kids in New Orleans need a minute to forget that their sisters and brothers were killed, or that their homes had been swept away overnight. The bands give them a chance to celebrate what Katrina could never take away: their city's jazz roots.

This doc is a great reminder to us all that there are ways to momentarily escape from our troubles, and that we're not alone in the struggle of what we call life. If that’s not a reason to sign up for band camp(aign), then I don’t know what is.

THE WHOLE GRITTY CITY - 3-minute Trailer from Richard Barber on Vimeo.



Redhearts RED Hearts guest poster Lisa Chau is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.