NEW ORLEANS — St. Augustine and NOCCA graduate Jon Batiste took home 5 Grammy awards including Album of the Year for “We Are” Sunday night.
The Kenner native graduated from St. Aug in New Orleans in 2004. While he’s come a long way since then, he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
He included the school’s Marching 100 in the video for his song “Freedom”. The school band also recorded with Batiste on the single “We Are.”
“Being able to perform with someone, especially who graduated from our school and him wanting us to be in his music video and him being able to talk with us and dancing all around us, it was a once in a lifetime experience,” band member Joshua Mirabin said.
St. Aug faculty and students who performed on the Grammy winning album couldn’t be more thrilled for Batiste and the rich legacy of their school.
“It was an amazing experience,” St. Aug band member Warren Stevens said. “We all learned a lot being with him and it showed that one day we can be just like him. One day we can achieve the things he has achieved.”
“He embodies everything that this school is trying to put in us, humbleness, respect, dignity, everything of the sort and he showed that on the Grammys itself,” Jaedin Simmons another bad member said.
“Jon had the ability that I could tell him a song, the night before mass and he would come back the next day and know the song and be able to play it just off the cuff,” St. Aug Chaplain Father Tony Ricard said.
Batiste also attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
NOCCA’S Jazz Chairman Michael Pellara says the artist stood out in a school full of talented students.
“One of my more find memories is Jon in the practice room, three other pianists just hanging on to the piano watching him,” Pellara said. “He was already moving into the realm of being a teacher or at least inspiring people who were coming up.”
Back at St. Aug, the Marching 100 will receive a plaque from the Grammys for performing on a song that was featured on the best album of the year. School officials would like to have Jon Batiste back on campus to help dedicate the plaque.