The Louisiana Office of Tourism and Oxford American Magazine will sponsor a series of concerts and symposiums that showcase Louisiana’s musical heritage. The tour is called the Louisiana Soundtrack Experience, and it begins Feb. 23 at Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. The program is titled, “From Elvis to Hank to Johnny: Celebrating 65 years of the Louisiana Hayride.” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said he will kick off the series in Shreveport.
"I'm particularly looking forward to the Hayride. I just think the tradition and legacy of the Louisiana Hayride is a Louisiana treasure that I'm hoping we can rekindle in the Shreveport area," Dardenne said.
Oxford American guest editor Alex Rawls will moderate a panel discussion that will probe the issue of how to preserve the state’s music traditions. Rawls said gathering the musicians together will spark insightful discussions.
"I think we're going to have something genuinely dynamic. People thinking about ideas, thinking about their culture, so often produces really unusual, interesting results," Rawls said. "You can often watch and hear people working through ideas on the fly."
The program will feature dozens of musicians, including the Louisiana Hayride Band. Dardenne said the five concerts and symposia will be recorded for posterity. He hopes residents will learn more about the music that is in their own backyard.
"So much attention focuses on New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz, but there's been great Louisiana music across the state," Dardenne said. "This was an opportunity for us to make certain that people all across the state would have the opportunity to learn about the history of music in their area, and then also have the opportunity to attend a free concert."
The panel discussion begins at 2 p.m., followed by a concert at 7 p.m. The second installment of the Soundtrack Experience will be held at Northwestern State University on March 2 featuring music from the Creole heritage.