We know in New Orleans, perhaps better than any other place in the world, how powerful music can be, both for musicians and listeners. The work involved in composing, the captivating experience of listening, and the pure joy of witnessing an incredible performance all have lasting effects on a person—no matter which side of the stage you’re on. This transformative element of music is part of the drive behind Rich Rhodes’ creation of the Rhodes Fund in Jazz & Other American Traditions at Tulane University.
Rich Rhodes wanted to give back to Tulane’s music department, a place that he regards as having changed his life for the better. He hopes to advance the department, which helped propel his personal growth and education, beyond its current capabilities. The department’s dual focus on enhancing students’ knowledge of the broad and varying work of music-making as well as its unique consideration of the cultural compounds of music both at Tulane and in New Orleans sets it apart. “I love watching concerts on campus and knowing I play a part in supporting the music and musicians,” Rhodes says.
“Attending Tulane,” Rhodes says, “and having such an incredible musical experience gave me the confidence and encouragement to do things I never would have done otherwise. I was involved in campus productions and was the president of several music organizations. I played trombone, piano and was even able to conduct my own show. These things helped shape me into the confident and successful person I am today, both creatively and professionally. I want current and future students to continue to have such experiences.”
For Rhodes, giving back to Tulane has always seemed both easy and the right thing to do. “I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity and ability to give back,” Rhodes says, “and really, it’s a non-effort. I give what I’m able because I love music, I love New Orleans and I love Tulane.”