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Joe Sample to Aid Houston Inner-City Schools

Legendary pianist Joe Sample will hold his third annual JSYO Henriette Delille Legacy Concert in September to raise funds for the Joe Sample Youth Organization. The last two concerts raised over $100,000 for Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School, where Sample was baptized, and its two sister schools, located in Houston’s Fifth Ward neighborhood.

“I saw that something needed to be done and decided I couldn’t wait around while others talked,” Sample said in a press statement. “In the last two years we’ve been able to make a real and immediate difference for the kids. For example, the schools have been able to buy much needed furniture, desks and chairs etc., so that the students have a place to sit, read and study. In one school they were able to replace the entire curriculum of textbooks that were 30 years out of date. In another the heating system had died years ago and in the winter the kids had to wear their overcoats to study. Another school had no outdoor equipment so the children could only stand around on the asphalt.

“Those schools have been an important part of the backbone of this city, helping to make the city what it is today,” he added.

The concert’s namesake, Henriette Delille, helped lay the groundwork during slavery for the New Orleans group Sisters of the Holy Family, who have run the school since 1931. The Sisters assisted dying slave women and educated slaves, moving to the area after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Recently, the Sisters have aided Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Some of the students at the school are from Louisiana, forced out by the aftermath of the hurricane.

Sample has had a long, illustrious musical career, co-founding the Crusaders (originally the Jazz Crusaders) and playing with the likes of Miles Davis, B.B. King and Steely Dan. His new album, Feeling Good, features a reunion with vocalist Randy Crawford, who Sample first collaborated with over 30 years ago.

Originally Published