, Salem, MA


February 7, 2013

A concert for New Orleans in Beverly

For a Mardi Gras celebration, it’s hard to beat tomorrow night’s concert at the Larcom Theatre in Beverly.

Not only will it feature two saxophone players, Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers and Amadee Castenell — both Grammy award winners — but they’ll be playing in a band with two other natives of New Orleans, including vocalist and band leader Henri Smith, to help send North Shore teenagers to rebuild their city.

“I have to be involved, ‘cause it’s my town,” said Smith, who has lived in Gloucester since fleeing Hurricane Katrina. “We’re all doing this for the cause of New Orleans.”

Fifty percent of proceeds from the Henri Smith New Orleans Mardi Gras Concert will help the North Shore YMCA send about 100 teenagers on a service-learning trip to New Orleans during April school vacation.

“We’re going to play a lot of Fats Domino, and lot of New Orleans Mardi Gras music,” said Smith, who worked as a DJ in New Orleans before his singing career took off.

In addition to Castenell, who won his Grammy playing sax for Dr. John, and Neville, whose musical family is a New Orleans institution, the other Louisiana native in the band is drummer Charles Burchell.

The band, which Smith formed seven years ago, also includes violinist Orie Furuta, young trumpet player Jake Baldwin, and experienced percussionist Les Lumley.

“He’s played with Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens and Jefferson Airplane,” Smith said of Lumley.

Clarinet player Steve Swartz also brings serious credentials to the stage, having studied his instrument with New Orleans legend Pete Fountain.

This is the fourth year the YMCA has sponsored a service-learning trip to New Orleans, which originally was limited to members of the Cape Ann YMCA and last year expanded to include teens from across the North Shore.

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