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Arts / Entertainment

CSU Marching Band fundraiser for New Orleans family brings Dirty Dozen Brass Band to Fort Collins

September 18, 2009

During the month of September, the Colorado State University Marching Band is partnering with the St. Bernard Parish Project, the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Association, the Aggie Theatre, and the Fort Collins Musicians Association, to sponsor a home rebuild for a displaced New Orleans family affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Special halftime show at Hughes Sept. 19

The halftime show during the Colorado State University vs. Nevada football game on Sept. 19 at Hughes Stadium will be one of the capstone events of the fundraiser.

The CSU Marching Band will collaborate with special guests, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans, on a halftime show that Rams fans won’t soon forget!

During the show, fans will have the opportunity to text their donation to the effort. Game time is 3 p.m. and tickets are available at

Aggie Theater performance

Following the football game on Sept. 19, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, or  DDBB, with special guest John Magnie of the Subdudes, will perform a “full-tilt DDBB party” at the Aggie Theater in downtown Fort Collins. Tickets are $10 in advance at, or $12 at the door.

Fundraising through music

The fundraiser project was conceived during a 2007 tour of Louisiana that Chris Nicholas, associate director of bands at Colorado State University, participated in as a member of the Fort Collins-based band the Caleb Riley Funk Orchestra.

While in New Orleans, taking part in the great tradition of Jazz Fest, the members were astounded that two years after hurricane Katrina, the entire St. Bernard Parish was still decimated. “We saw families living in FEMA trailers in front of their destroyed homes, drinking canned water, and desperate for relief,” said Nicholas.

Change society for the better

Nicholas, who is spearheading the fundraiser said, “I am very interested in the concept of social entrepreneurship; in exploring the power that artists possess to change our society for the better. I think it’s important that our students gain an understanding of just how significant their gifts are, and how much an organization of dedicated musicians can positively affect change in our society.”

Hands-on philanthropy

When Nicholas became aware of the hands-on philanthropy Liz McCartney began in 2006 with the St. Bernard Project, it seemed a natural fit. Bringing the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to Fort Collins for a halftime show at Hughes Stadium is the ideal catalyst to help raise significant awareness for the project. The prolific New Orleans band was impressed with the plan submitted by Nicholas and Greta Cornett, with the Fort Collins Musicians Association, and quickly accepted the invitation. 

"Coolest thing we have done as a band!"

Said senior clarinetist Cortney Wooden, “This is a great opportunity we (Marching Band) have to get involved and help those affected by Katrina. If I can help change the life of a family by performing and spreading the word about our project, I am happy to take on that challenge and do whatever it takes. I think this is the coolest thing we have done as a band!”

St. Bernard Parish Project

Corporate sponsorships and individual donor contributions, as well as ticket proceeds from the Aggie Theater event, will be donated on behalf of the CSU Marching Band to the St. Bernard Project fund drive.

“The Aggie Theatre is happy to be involved in a cause that's been forgotten by many and still very much needs people's time, attention and generosity,” said Kyle Stych, general manager of the venue.

According to the New Orleans’ based St. Bernard Parish Project’s website, the “program rebuilds homes for senior citizens, people with disabilities and families with children who cannot afford to have their homes rebuilt by contractors. A typical rebuild project takes about 12-weeks and costs approximately $15,000 worth of building supplies to complete.”

Funds to rebuild home of Darrell Bertha

The CSU Marching Band fundraiser is already assigned to rebuild the home of Darrell Betha (pictured) a 22-year resident of St. Bernard Parish, and his fiancée Rose. Prior to the disaster, Betha, an injured construction worker, donated his time to the senior citizen program at his church, cleaning homes, grocery shopping and spending time talking.

When the family returned to their home, “It was horrible to see,” Darrell said in a story on the St. Bernard Project website. “Everything we worked for was gone. We couldn’t even recognize our own furniture.” Not only did the couple lose their home, but they also lost loved ones in Katrina. Rose lost two of her uncles.

Betha has lived by the motto “If you are kind, people will be kind to you.” Betha has been amazed to find that his motto holds true.

Sponsorships and donations

Both corporate and individual donor sponsorship packages are available, and included recognition at, and tickets to, both the CSU football game and the Aggie Theatre concert. To make a donation (Colorado 501(c) 3 non-profit), please contact

To make a donation in person, visit the donor booth at the 10th Annual Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair on Sept. 19 and 20 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The fair grounds are just north of the corner of Vine and Lemay in Fort Collins.

The The Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Association is a Fort Collins, Colorado based non-profit organization committed to applying their vision and expertise toward a sustainable future for all. For more information about the fair, visit

Student fundraiser, Rent-a-Gig

Through November, Rent-a-Gig with the CSU Pep Band for private or corporate events. The band is in constant demand, so this is a great opportunity to bring down the house at your tailgate, wedding, or corporate function! For more information, contact Will Ostendorf, Colorado State Marching Band senior assistant at

For more details about all aspects of this project, please visit the CSU Marching Band website.

For a full performance and event calendar, more information, and to sign up for a free event e-newsletter, visit

The School of the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. For more information, visit

Contact: Jennifer Clary
Phone: (970) 491-3603