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Classical 101

Music From the Heart

Being a musician must be a glamorous life, right?  The lights, playing for a live audience, making recordings, and traveling...it must be a great way to earn a living. Most of the musicians I know are working multiple jobs.  A full time orchestra gig is becoming more and more rare, as orchestras struggle to get by.  Those who DO have a position oftentimes are under pressure to take pay cuts. Doreen Ketchens is a masterful clarinetist.  After finishing her studies, she returned to her native New Orleans.  She had worked her way through school as a chef, and now found herself cooking and cleaning houses, trying to put a roof overhead and food on the table.  Street musicians were everywhere in New Orleans, but when her husband suggested they should do that she said, "You must be crazy!"  Music, however, was a passion which would not be denied.  Doreen also found that, as compared to her other jobs, nothing paid like a street gig. Some weeks were great, enough to get them through the slow times.  However, what began as a way to make some money has blossomed into so much more. Her website explains her mission the best:

"Doreen's Jazz New Orleans is a group whose primary interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world, through performances and education."

Her background as a chef has come back into play, as well.  Doreen served a pot of Jambalaya during intermission at one of her concerts.  The audience was hooked.  Now she offers Dinner and Music Creole Style.  The audience gets great music and a meal taken from a menu of familiar classic New Orleans entrees as well as the unexpected...casual dining or a four-course meal.  Doreen's Jazz New Orleans offers Master Classes and spends time during performances to open up the unique world of New Orleans music to audiences. I certainly hope to hear a live performance one day.   Though Doreen and her band have received much critical acclaim and now play all over the world, she still encourages her fans to come find her at St. Peter and Royal streets, where she's been for over 25 years.  Maybe I'll see you there.