Tuesday, January 27, 2015

As is usual on Sunday mornings, the city was hardly awake. The sky was clear, the air was cool, a few early risers were out for their morning coffee. And in the lobby of the Juilliard dorm building, the New Orleans Service Project team stood in a circle, frantically shouting numbers at one another, and then chanting “Big Booty!” unison, in order to “break the ice.” After which, Kelly beat Riley in a “vegetable off” (her pose was was more broccoli-esque). As is usual, on Sunday mornings.

And then we were down to business. Our weekly fundraising checkup found that we surpassed our $2000 goal on Indiegogo. In addition, our first bake sale brought in $266, and we planned several more for the coming weeks. Still, we’ll have to up our fundraising game another notch, since the goal for next week is $5000. If all goes well, we’ll be launching our raffle in just a few days, and the prizes are amazing. (I won’t spoil anything, but I’ve been meaning to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for forever now.)  We also came up with a few alternative fundraising ideas: selling cheese, grapes, and crackers at the third year drama production of “Cabaret”; and hosting an event where students pay to throw pies in their professors’ faces. We’re especially excited about that second one.

As for the colors of our team shirt, we decided on a deep magenta with text and design in white. The bracelets will be navy blue. If you’re curious why we chose the colors of the main characters in Blue’s Clues, so am I. But, it’s true, they look great together, and we’ll be the most stylish team of artists in New Orleans.

There is this funny thing that happens in our meetings when we arrive at the discussion of the team song. When the discussion begins, we are sitting cooperatively in a circle. Someone then mentions a song the team likes (Pharrell's “Happy”, or “Don’t Stop Believin’”). Without fail, a few people then begin to sing that song, a few others start to dance, and before long it is playing through someone’s phone and everyone is grooving to the music. After a few repetitions of this last Sunday, we chose Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” as the team’s official song, with alternate theme music of “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone.

Afterward, we took our break. Which, normally, wouldn’t be worth mentioning, except that JJ spent the whole time dancing to iPhone ringtones, and the rest of us spent the whole time laughing hysterically. As productive as our meetings are, we always find some time to goof off.

For the remainder of the meeting, we discussed the theme of this year’s trip, “Art Invigorates.” We brainstormed mission statements and discussed our goals: sustaining and cultivating the vibrant New Orleans culture, sharing our artistic passions with the community, and eating as much good southern food as possible. It’s only the second week of planning, but we’re well on our way to the Big Easy. I can taste the beignets already...


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