The Positive Vibrations Foundation took on its first project in 2009, restoring the Lusher Charter School’s band room. The foundation continues to promote and underwrite music for progressive community festivals and events, support music performance and industry education programs for youth, create and support opportunities for cultural exchanges, and provide the public with educational videos showcasing the musical artists and unique culture of the Gulf South.
Since 2010, the Positive Vibrations Foundation has been the presenting sponsor of the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival, a community music festival organized for the purpose of both providing a community-building experience and raising funds for charities supported by the Mothership Foundation (now, Friends of Bayou St. John). Bayou Boogaloo has enabled BBMF to reinvest in the community by planting oak trees along Bayou St. John, launching an anti-litter initiative, and becoming a valued community partner to organizations throughout New Orleans that rely on the annual festival to generate exposure and raise funds for their services.
Positive Vibrations Foundation hosted its Summer Arts through Culture Program each June from 2009 to 2011. Selected teen candidates were awarded full fellowship grants and spent four weeks at the Lusher Charter School and Tulane University. Each year 16 full fellowship grants were awarded to enthusiastic young musicians from all across the United States, and internationally, including fellows from Buenos Aires, Argentina and Nigeria. The lives of these young artists were enriched with the music, culture and heritage of New Orleans. As the work of the foundation continued, and local need in New Orleans became more apparent, the foundation’s programming began to expand and evolve.
In June 2012, the foundation awarded 20 individual scholarships, to local students, for the Positive Vibrations-Lusher Summer Music Intensive and produced a 4 part concert series and masters’ studio.
Until 2013, the foundation continued to offer full scholarships for the Lusher Summer Music Intensive in June and the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Jazz Camp in July. In lieu of the residency program, students were responsible for their own room and board in New Orleans, but the Jazz Camp offers housing at Loyola University. Positive Vibrations Foundation has provided all of the instruments and audio gear needed to run the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp from 2010 - present.
The Positive Vibrations Foundation was proud to sponsor its first Cultural Exchange in 2013. The foundation provided residencies (master classes), meals, room and board plus transportation for the young, up and coming Red Wolf Brass Band members who also performed at the LEAF festival on Saturday October 19th.
The foundation introduced Congo Kids in 2013. The Congo Kids collective's mission is to engage young people with living musical masters and share the rhythmic heritage of New Orleans. Through this program, the Positive Vibrations Foundation hosts African Drumming Workshops for kids and African Drum Care Workshops for all ages with partners such as Upturn Arts and the Congo Square Preservation Society.
The foundation sponsors a Master Class or Master Artists Series During many of Upturn Arts programs; bringing in some of New Orleans finest musicians to share their craft and educate the kids through music workshops.
Positive Vibrations Foundation provides funding for music entertainment during some local fundraising events in New Orleans. They have sponsored the music portion of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans' yearly garden party fundraiser, "An Edible Evening" for 9 years.
In 2015, the foundation introduced Congo Kids Rhythms & Heritage Workshops. Program participants were also given drums thanks to a collaboration with DW Drums. These unique workshops focused on the music and culture of the Mandé people of West Africa and had a strong emphasis on traditional percussion. The workshops were led by Luke Quaranta (Toubab Krewe, Benyoro, humanBEING, Pirate's Choice) Raja Kassis (Antibalas, Raja Kassis' humanBEING, Pirate's Choice) Sam Dickey (Benyoro, Toumani Diabate, Pirate's Choice) Yacouba Sissoko (Regina Carter, Benyoro) Morcoumba Gueye (SingSing Rhythms NYC) Morgan Price (Duke Ellington Orchestra, FELA! on Broadway) Igmar Thomas (Lauryn Hill) Alfred Jordan (Sonic Bloom) Eric Vogel (Big Sam's Funky Nation).
In 2016, Positive Vibrations Foundation introduced a series of all ages, free African Drum Care Workshops led by Seguenon Kone, Master Drummer from the Ivory Coast in collaboration with Congo Square Preservation Society.
During Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival 2017, the foundation hosted several all age, free workshops with artists who were scheduled to perform at BBMF. Water Seed presented "The Passage of the Drum (from West Africa to New Orleans) with Special Guest Cyrille Neville" and "From Classical to Hip Hop with Special Guests T –Ray the Violinist and Gary 'The Urban Cellist' Washington". Zigaboo Modeliste: King of the Funky Drums, Legendary Drummer of the Meters led a Master Class.
2018: Positive Vibrations Foundation created a new partnership with Send Me A Friend, a "sober-network" Co-Founded by Anders Osborne that connects music industry professionals struggling with sobriety on the road with volunteer "Friends" across the country.
2019: we revived our Congo Kids program and brought on Cherice Harrison-Nelson as Director. We formed a collaboration between the Guardians Institute and Guardians of the Flame Maroon Society along with Faculty composed of music educators and culture bearers who engage with children ages 5-10 educating them through storytelling, literature and music camps. The Congo Kids participated in an International Drum Camp, came out with the Young Guardians of the Flame on Mardi Gras Day, hosted a (pre) St. Joseph's Day party, performed with the Young Guardians of the Flame at JazzFest 50, participated in a Juneteenth event, performed in a theater production, and hosted a Jazz Awareness Month community concert. During the holiday season, Congo Kids became Ambassadors of Culture and Literacy in their schools- hosting members of CK Faculty and Herreast Harrison's Donald Harrison Sr. Book Club in their classrooms where they presented a book to each student after engaging with culture bearers in an oral history and music education activity.
2020: In this time of physical distancing, we created Master Clips series to support and shine a light on some of the musicians who have been involved in various programs of Positive Vibrations Foundation over the last 10 years. These mini episodes are tailored to both aspiring musicians and curious music fans. Join Master Clips host Monique Pyle as she asks pointed questions on each musicians’ craft, composition styles, performance techniques, and sources of inspiration. Learn how Big Chief Donald Harrison got the nickname “Cool Breeze” and the spiritual experience that Clarence Johnson III had playing with the great Henry Butler. Hear new songs written during the 2020 pandemic from the globe’s most sustainable musical community. Master Clips provide a series of snapshots of New Orleans music and stories of its inspired creators. All Musicians were compensated for their time and performances during a time when live music and public events were shut down.