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The Story


Rudiments is a story of one afterschool program dedicated to preserving music and protecting kids in New Orleans. It’s also a story about Black excellence, mentorship, cultural preservation, and violence prevention. 


Derrick Tabb founded The Roots of Music after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. The program is modeled after his middle school band director Donald Richardson Jr. “He saved me,” says Derrick, who went on to travel the world with the Rebirth Brass Band. Now he wants to pay it forward.


Bear first held a trumpet on the day The Roots of Music opened in 2008. He’d just lost his older brother to gun violence, but playing in band helped reset his equilibrium. Featured in The Whole Gritty City documentary and the HBO show Treme, Bear went on to become section leader of Southern University’s famed “Human Jukebox” band. Soon after graduating in December 2020, Bear’s 14 year-old brother Ja’mere, a drummer in The Roots of Music, is shot and killed. Rudiments meets Bear one year later when he returns to The Roots of Music, this time as Band Director.


As the kids are preparing for the Mardi Gras parade season, Mackyrin is leading the tubas. His mother Celeste is in and out of the hospital with chronic diabetes, but the pressure is on. “We’re not ready,” says Artistic Director Lawrence Rawlins. The time to step up is now.


Through the stories of everyday kids, their parents and teachers, Rudiments shows the importance of mentorship in shaping the next generation of musical talent to beat the odds. With studio-quality images and sound, the movie moves from intimate moments at home and in rehearsal to the spotlight of Mardi Gras parades and HBCU half-time shows. 


In Production

"Rudiments" is currently in production. We are looking for early-stage investors to ensure that this important story is told in the way that it deserves to be. 

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