Oklahoma City – The Oklahoma School for the Blind Jazz Band traveled from Muskogee to attend a concert on Oct. 18 at Tower Theatre in OKC featuring the musical traditions of New Orleans.
The show was a triple treat with the Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas;” six-time Grammy® award-winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama; and the Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet.
A generous benefactor purchased the tickets.
Before the show, the Blind Boys of Alabama sat down with the Jazz Band students to discuss their musical careers and answer questions that ranged from, “Where did you go to school?” (“Alabama School for the Blind”) to “What is your greatest accomplishment? (“We’re not done yet.”)
Long-time group leader Jimmy Carter, who was a group founder in 1939, did most of the talking. The Blind Boys posed with students and staff for a photo shortly before the concert began.
The Blind Boys of Alabama have a new album, “Almost Home” that reflects the band’s musical history primarily through original songs written for them by other artists.
Oklahoma School for the Blind’s jazz band is the 2A state champion for the second year in a row. The students earned superior ratings from all the judges in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association competition on April 29 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
They recently performed at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa for National White Cane Safety Day and have been invited to perform at the mall during the holidays.
"The students work hard all year long, coming in early before school to rehearse, and logging late nights performing around the state, Chris Ferrell, the OSB band director said. It was great to see them so inspired and energized after the concert."
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. The school is based in Muskogee. Students who attend classes on campus live at the school or commute from home Monday through Friday. As the statewide resource center on blindness, the school also provides educational services to students who are blind from local schools across the state, their families and educators free of charge.