It’s not just MONDAY!! It’s #TheLockdownStories day!

We have asked some of our International Bloco friends to join us in sharing what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been dealing with the changes COVID-19 has brought.

This edition is from our friend from New Orleans, USA – Andy Bower. We met Andy when we visited Delores .T Aaron Academy when we visited New Orleans in November last year. Andy is the head of music there and runs the school bands. We got to meet some of the most awesome and talented young, older and in-between people at DTA Academy. We performed to each other, shared our histories, learned some great music together taught us all by some of the most lovely musicians from Preservation Hall and ate together. We shared our passion for music and people.

Here is what’s happening with Andy:

Name: Andy Bower

Bloco connection / How did you meet us: I met Bloco when we did an exchange concert at my school in New Orleans.  We had an AWESOME experience in which my students (8-14 years old) performed for Bloco, they performed for us, and we all learned some music together from New Orleans’ finest- the Preservation Hall All-Stars!

Where in the world are you? New Orleans, Louisiana (United States)

What have you been up to during your lockdown? I’ve been trying to make the most of the extra time to do things I normally don’t have much time for.  I’ve been trying to exercise and read daily, and spend more time with loved ones (mostly virtually, of course). I also began the homebuying process just before quarantine hit, and recently closed on a house! So now I’ll be busy moving and decorating.

How are you feeling? To be honest, my emotions/feelings have been very up and down.  I’m normally very level and happy, but lately I’ve had a hard time staying positive.  I get a lot of my energy from interacting with others, and being so solitary has been tough.  I’m starting to get more used to this lifestyle though, and am starting to feel better overall!

How do you feel about your exams/gigs/teaching being off for now? My students are my family, so not being able to teach is tough.  I’ve been able to keep in touch with some of them, but it’s not the same when we can’t get together and rehearse or perform.  I also gig regularly, and REALLY miss performing right now!  But most importantly, I feel terrible for my friends who perform full-time and don’t have a teaching salary to survive on. Many New Orleans musicians are struggling just to stay afloat while the clubs are closed and festivals canceled.

What are you finding difficult?  Not being able to interact with people regularly is tough for me mentally and emotionally, but I’m getting more used to it.  It’s also difficult to provide good opportunities for my students when they don’t all have access to the same resources.

One thing that would make anyone smile if they were feeling down right now:  Music always makes me feel better when I’m down. Check out this really ridiculous tune Elephant’s Foot by one of the greatest saxophonists of all time, Maceo Parker!  It’s funky, funny, and tells a heck of a story.

 – Andy

If you’d like to see what else the Delores T. Aaron Academy band and Andy get up to, head over to their website. PLUS, you can access their online resources for young musicians! Head over to their website via this link: DTA Band

Here’s DTA band and Andy in action:


Thank you, Andy

If you’d like to see what we got up to in New Orleans with Andy, the musicians from Preservation Hall and more, check out our short film on YouTube here – KB to NOLA

What are #TheLockdownStories? #TheLockdownStories are blogs created by some of our Bloco members, family and friends that share their experience of life now we’re in Lockdown due to COVID-19. We wanted to find a way of sharing the many voices of the Bloco. In so many ways, we are sharing similar experiences and emotions right now but behind closed doors. These blogs are our way of sharing the various ways our members and friends are dealing with the changes COVID-19 has brought. Giving the opportunity to share the hobbies and interests that are now filling our time, to share our inspirations, to share our feelings and to share our motivations. We want to bring us all TOGETHER!