Published on www.iberianet.com
The third annual Al Berard Music Festival will be held Dec. 3 at NUNU Arts & Culture Collective in Arnaudville as a benefit for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana.
Who is Al Berard?
Like many children born in the 1960s, Al Berard began banging on pots and pans as a child. At the age of 11 he started playing guitar and the first time he strummed, he knew a musician was what he wanted to be. While in high school, Berard started performing as lead guitarist in a rock band called "ReFLX.” In 1983, he helped form another group, The Basin Brothers Band. They performed country, traditional and original Cajun French music for festivals, clubs and workshops throughout the United States, in Canada, France and Ireland.
Berard credits the late Hadley Castille for opening his eyes to the curlture of his native Louisiana. He encouraged Berard to be proud of his roots and to speak my french proudly.
Berard was instrumental in promoting and preserving the Cajun culture and music by teaching and playing Cajun fiddle and original guitar music. He also conducted an annual fiddle camp weekend every April.
Berard enjoying playing music with his daughters’ Laura and Maegan, niece Callie and son-in-law Adrian Huval. The daughters’ band Sweet Cecilia, formerly The Girls, were admired by their father for their harmonies and musicianship.
In addition to live performances, Berard worked on scores for movies, film and television including a variety of styles from contemporary pop, bluegrass, Cajun, rock and roll and blues.
His Legacy Lives On
"I’m grateful for the gift of music,” said the late Berard.
The Al Berard Memorial Music Fund, a fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana, was established by the Berard Family to honor Al Berard’s legacy. The fund promotes Acadiana’s unique musical culture by providing instruments, master teachers and music scholarships to students of all ages.
During the festival, students who have benefited from the Fund will perform for the public on the main stage, some even playing with instruments donated by the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund. There will be Cajun jam session at 12:30 p.m. lead by Brazos Huval. The zydeco dance competition begins at 5 p.m. and prizes will be awarded.
The festival features live music from Horace Trahan & the Ossun Express, Major Handy & Lil Buck Senegal, Michael Juan Nunez, Lafayette Talented Music Students, and Traiteurs Reunion with guitarist Sonny Landreth. There will be a silent auction, food and beverages, a zydeco dance competition, festival merchandise, a Cajun jam session, artisan booths and exhibitions, and kid activities.
Admission to the festival is $10, children 12 and under are free. Visit www.AlBerard.com
for more schedule information.
Festival proceeds benefit the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund, which has granted $40,000 to local organizations and schools in support of music programs and community projects. Some of the recipients include the Louisiana Folk Roots Kids camp, Lafayette Parish Talented Arts Booster, NUNU Arts & Culture Collective and Tipitina’s Lafayette Co-op along with several Acadiana schools. The fund plans to create scholarship opportunities while still benefitting organizations and programs that provide music education to students of all ages.
Sponsors of the festival are Women’s Healthcare Associates of Lafayette; Boyer, Hebert, Abels & Angelle; Greens’ Piggly Wiggly; Ronny Theriot Community Projects Fund; Tom’s Fiddle & Bow; The Grouse Room; Crawfish Town, USA; Cecilia Water Corporation; Dupuis Heating & Cooling; Liz Trahan Dancing Studio; Boyer’s Thrift Pharmacy; PHI, Inc; Farm Bureau Insurance; St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission and St. Martin Parish Tourist Commission.
Gifts to the fund are tax-deductible and should be earmarked "Al Berard Memorial Fund.” Mail to 1035 Camellia Blvd., Ste. 100, Lafayette, LA 70508. For more information regarding Community Foundation of Acadiana or to learn how you can establish your own fund, contact Erin Winder at 769.4842.
Community Foundation of Acadiana’s core purpose is to connect generous people to the causes they care about. CFA is South Louisiana’s premier philanthropic organization benefiting the region including Iberia, St. Mary, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes.