On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 222 Baton Rouge, LA

Memorial Tower at LSU (G. Andrew Boyd / The Times-Picayune archive)

We just got home from taping a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the Shaver Theatre at LSU. It was our first time in Louisiana and it was a fantastic experience!

The show was full of standout moments. It opened with a dazzling performance by 15-year-old cellist Jean Kim, a wonderfully expressive musician, who played Capriccio by Lukas Foss. Next up was 16-year-old pianist Jennifer Tu who beautifully played Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse. Violist Marcus Rose, 17, took the stage next, giving a sensitive performance of Suite Hebraique by Ernest Bloch. Next, 17-year-old soprano Jennifer Seidel sang “Les Filles de Cadix” by Leo Delibes and then showed off her acting chops in a very funny sketch about her childhood. Closing the show was something truly special and unique to the locale – a true blue New Orleans brass band! The Red Hot Brass Band, six members strong, closed the show with the traditional “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”

I have to tell you about probably my favorite moment of all, which happened just as the show was ending. As all of the performers prepared to exit the stage after bowing at curtain call, the Red Hot Brass Band launched into an encore – their own jazzy, improvised version of “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The audience leapt to their feet, clapping and cheering, and the energy in the house was just incredible!

For your viewing pleasure, I happened to catch the members of the brass band jamming backstage in their dressing room before the show. If you want to get an idea just how hot the Red Hot Brass Band is, check out this impromptu jam session! Stay tuned for this show to broadcast the week of December 13th.