These musicians put on their own socially distanced graduation show

The young students at The Roots of Music are used to playing their instruments every day. However, they’re not used to playing in parking lots — while wearing face masks.

This year, that was what graduation looked like for the New Orleans-based students, who range in age from 9 to 14 years old.

It wasn’t a normal year by any means, but Derrick Tabb, the school’s founder and artistic director, is trying to look on the bright side.

“They went through a lot,” Tabb told the Associated Press. “This class of 2020 went through a lot. They had to deal with corona. And, that’s going to make them that much stronger.”

Originally founded in 2007, The Roots of Music is a nonprofit organization that gives kids from low-income families the tools to succeed as professional musicians. The school usually operates five days a week, 12 months a year.

The last few months have been different, of course. But that’s why Tabb believed the graduation ceremony would be so powerful.

“I think that [it’s] going to give them the will and the want and to accept and enjoy the opportunity they have to play their horns, because they know how it is to not have their horns, not be able to play,” he told the AP.

The kids, some of whom have been playing music since they were toddlers, seemed ready for the occasion. Standing in a church parking lot with their horns and drums, they performed for a small crowd of face mask-clad parents and supporters. Tabb said the moment was extremely moving.

“I think this was the first year I really actually cried,” he told the AP.

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