When the COVID-19 pandemic rolled across the globe, it silenced live music everywhere. Perhaps nowhere was that silence more deafening than New Orleans.

To help offset the fallout for struggling musicians, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation launched a Music Relief Fund last spring. Through their efforts, they’ve distributed more than $1MM to musicians across Louisiana. And this year on February 9, one week before we endure a silent Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation will commence the next wave of relief efforts in partnership with independent creative agency LIGHT+CO, by asking people everywhere a simple question:

Have you ever been saved by a song?
Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s latest effort will kick off with a PSA entitled "Rise and Shine"  -- helmed by director Benjamin Sonntag and featuring New Orleans' own Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews -- created to reawaken the New Orleans and to invite music lovers everywhere to join together and help the city's sound carry on for generations to come.

Of the collaboration, Sonntag remarks, “When there's a cause attached to art, the vision is easily shared, dialed in, and everyone puts their heart into it. Every person involved wanted to make the best film possible for the foundation and was open to how we got there. There was no ego, just a truly unified effort. Everyone was all in.”  

“By cancelling live music in New Orleans, the pandemic robbed the city’s musical community of not just their sound, but their livelihood. Their ability to make ends meet, and do what they do best: share their sound with the world. We’ve all had that moment when music has saved our lives. Now it’s time to save music,” added David Cameron, CEO, LIGHT+CO. 

Watch “Rise and Shine” (4:00) below or on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/d12SCa7XYvE or the 90 second cut here

Don Marshall, Executive Director,  New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation “In my years of working with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, I don’t think I’ve seen a more powerful and authentic representation of our city or musicians than the “Rise and Shine” PSA.” “For generations, the musicians of our community have been the true soul of Louisiana. The goal of this fund is to help our musicians impacted by quarantine, disruptions of income, and several other challenges, all while ensuring an equitable distribution of funds.”

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews  “It’s been a rough time for our city’s musicians – many are hurting. Being a part of that community, I know that we have to be there for one another. We’ve always banded together to help each other – it’s more important now than ever. Music lovers, join us to help keep NOLA music alive.”

About the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit organization that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. For more about the Foundation, please visit www.jazzandheritage.org.

About Director Benjamin Sonntag
Benjamin was born and raised in Utah, where he currently resides with his wife. From a young age, he was drawn to storytelling — first as an actor, then quickly as a filmmaker. Throughout middle school and high school, Benjamin was constantly chronicling the world around him with his friends, mostly in the form of docu-style work.

Once at University, Benjamin studied directing — with a significant focus on commercial and branded storytelling. Drawn to the quick-running-time format, Benjamin immediately connected with the opportunity to tell relatable human stories, but against an incredibly cinematic backdrop. As he’s continued mastering his craft, Benjamin has sought to strike the balance of highly visual stories full of legitimate emotion — sometimes warm, sometimes raw, always filmic.

Benjamin’s work for various brands has garnered him both Gold and Silver awards in branded content from the American Advertising Federation. His work consists of narrative, scripted content as well as collaborations with non-actors to recreate tableaus from their real lives.