Studio 60 and the Christmas Crud

Just when I thought we Maples were getting over the Christmas Crud, MiniMaple hasn't been able to keep anything down for 2 days. As much as I hate seeing Mini so ill, there has been something peaceful about the family laying around in front of the wood fire; getting up only to change linens, and our only concern being each other.

Begin home has also given us a chance to catch up on our ever-accumulating Tivo playlist. I particularly enjoyed the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 12/04/06 episode #111: "The Christmas Show". I completely share Bernie and everyone else's raves for this program. It soothes my West Wing withdrawal, I love the cast, and something has to be said for a show that makes me truly think, wholeheartedly laugh, and inevitably cry - all in the span of 60 minutes.

"The Christmas Show" featured a subplot about network musicians calling in sick and arranging subs that were displaced New Orleans musicians needing a little money and the chance to get a union card. The brass arrangement, by W.G. "Snuffy" Walden, of O Holy Night played on the show - aside from choking me up - was absolutely stunning, and luckily for all of us is available for download at NBC and purportedly at iTunes, soon. You can read more about the young trumpeter Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews (he is a multi-instrumentalist) and other members of the band here.

It was more than just a storyline, however, as the ensemble were true New Orleans musicians, organized by Tipitina's Foundation. According to their website: "The Tipitina's Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has worked diligently to uplift the music community of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, the Foundation responded by rebuilding New Orleans' music culture. Initially, the Foundation addressed the immediate needs of our exiled musicians and allowed them to carry on with their lives. Now the foundation is using the legendary music club, Tipitina's Uptown, as the center of its relief efforts by hosting a newly-opened Music Co-op Office that allows musicians to conduct their business activities during the daytime, free legal and accounting seminars, free music lessons for music students, regular Master Seminars, and help with housing information. An important aspect of the rebuilding process has involved finding replacement instruments for both professionals and music students alike. So far the foundation has given away over $500,000 of new instruments. Through these efforts, the Tipitina's Foundation is saving the musical traditions of New Orleans."

If you missed "The Christmas Show", don't worry. NBC is airing an "encore presentation" (when did we stop calling a rerun a rerun?) on 12/18, and you can always view the entire episode online. Thank you to Thomas Schlamme, Aaron Sorkin, Snuffy Walden, the Studio 60 cast, Tipitina's Foundation, and most especially, the musicians (listed below) for adding a little extra magic to our holiday season. Bravo!

Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Trumpet
Kirk Joseph, Sousaphone
Roderick Paulin, Saxophone
Frederick Shepherd, Saxophone
Stephen Walker, Trombone
Mervin "Kid Merv" Campbell, Trumpet
Bob French, Drums


Vinny said...

Awesome! I'm so glad you looked into this. I downloaded the mp3 right away, and loved reading about the musicians.

I thought the story was incredible, and the idea that people would go out of their way to do something like that. I'm sure it happened, and I would do it in a heartbeat.

I love the fact that we can connect on these things, with about 600 miles between us. It's no Relay, of course, but it'll do...

doctorj2u said...

As a New Orleanian I thank Studio 60 for keeping our blight in the eye of the American public. Trombome Shorty is amazing! Please remember us in your prayers at Christmas.

The Contessa said...

I haven't even seen the episode but being a musician, I agree with Vinny - I would be first on line to do that for someone else.

I also concur with the connection thing. I can safely say that I feel closer to you guys through this. And we don't have to be in the basement waiting for a terminal!

Eamon said...

This was a fantastic episode!!

When I was the TD for a jazz radio show called The Jazz Image we spoke with Kid Merv on the telephone during a show. He was a pretty interesting guy with some amazing stories!


Eamon said...

P.S. I'm sorry you and your fam aren't feeling well. :( I hope you all get well very soon!!

We just found out today that our little one has her second ear infection. So needless to say we're doing a lot of laying around the house as well.