A Night in Treme: New Orleans Jazz

posted Nov 12, 2011, 7:42 AM by jj pionke
One of the great things about being at a Big Ten school is there are a million and one opportunities for students to see and hear things that we normally maybe wouldn't have a chance to see and hear.  For example, I went to the Wallenberg Medal ceremony.  The recipient was Suu Kyi.  She skyped in and there was a prerecorded acceptance lecture that was brilliant.  This was all free, happened a few weeks ago, and was amazing.  How often do you get to meet a Nobel Peace Prize recipient?  

Anyway, last night I went to "A Night in Treme: New Orleans Jazz".  I had to pay for the event, but I love New Orleans and I rather like jazz even though I know nothing about it.  It was delightful last night.  There was some great jazz, mostly big and loud.  The band had us on our feet several times in the night for dancing, singing, and clapping along.  By the end of the night, the band invited audience members up on stage to dance with them.  I think the best part was seeing a bunch of young children up on stage dancing their hearts out.  It was pretty awesome.

I'm not one for loudness and hullabaloo.  I tolerated it all better when I was younger, but there are times you have to put aside those feelings and just do something, like going to a loud jazz night.  I'm glad I went.  It perked me up after a long day of dealing with panicked students and teaching classes.  I couldn't help but think though was what if there had been a night like that in a library that I work for in the future?  Would people appreciate that?  A New Orleans jazz band leading a conga line through the stacks?  With the digitization of so much material, a lot of people have asked what good is the library and the answer is there is a lot more good there than you know, including bringing the community together in all sorts of interesting ways.  Libraries already use their spaces as performance spaces, but could more be done to make them even more performative?  Something to think about at least...