Music Rising was launched in 2005 following the catastrophic hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The organization’s mission was to rescue the musical culture of the Gulf South region of the United States in their aftermath by replacing musical instruments that were lost or destroyed in the deluge. Co-founded by U2’s The Edge and legendary producer, Bob Ezrin—along with a host of music industry partners—the organization provided instruments to thousands of musicians and students as well as to many churches, community, and cultural programs in the Gulf Region and across the United States. Since that time, Music Rising has provided over $3 million in aid. 

Since its inception, Music Rising has been proud to have assisted over 3,000 musicians. In April 2006, the organization helped to re-open the historic Preservation Jazz Hall in New Orleans. This landmark survived Katrina but lost all of its instruments which were replaced by Music Rising. On September 25th, 2006, Music Rising heralded the historic performance by U2 and Green Day at the New Orleans Superdome officially re-opening the stadium during the New Orleans Saints game. Later, the organization dedicated itself to helping churches and schools rebuild their music programs by replacing the instruments they had lost in the devastation. During this time, Music Rising provided tens of thousands of students with instruments to support music education and choir members with the instruments they needed to bring music back to their congregations. Music Rising was also dedicated to supporting a variety of community musical and cultural organizations and events.

Music Rising is proud to have also awarded a $1 million grant to Tulane University’s The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University (NOCGS). The Center is home to the coordinate major, Music Rising–The Musical Cultures of the Gulf South, a course of study focused on the region’s music and culture as well providing a ground-breaking online study resource. The NOCGS also co-sponsors the Trombone Shorty Academy (TSA), a program for teaching musical fundamentals and cultural traditions to young musicians from underserved New Orleans high schools.

Music Rising’s commitment continued to grow by providing instruments to other areas across the country where school music programs were affected by natural or economic disasters. For example, Music Rising provided instruments and instrument repair to musicians and students that were affected by the floods in Nashville, Tennessee in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and provided other disaster relief to various organizations where music education was impacted. 

The charity is the recipient of the 2005 Gold Halo Award for Cause Marketing, the 2006 Billboard Humanitarian Award, the 2008 PRISM Award, and the recipient of close to $1 million from the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2016, Music Rising was honored with the prestigious Jazz Foundation of America Medal of Honor. 

Most recently, Music Rising has recognized the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on musicians and musical communities. The organization will be hosting a live musical instrument auction in December 2021 to benefit musicians in the Gulf South, honoring its original mission and focus when it launched in 2005. The auction will feature extraordinary guitars and personal items from some of the world’s most prominent musicians with all proceeds directly benefitting Music Rising. 

Music Rising is administered by The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and 100% of donations made to the Music Rising initiative go directly to this effort.

The greatest honor for Music Rising has been to answer the call to support those in need and to bear witness to the astounding creativity, resilience, and strength of citizens and communities in the face of adversity. It has also been an honor to be blessed with the generosity, commitment, and goodwill of all of our supporters. Music Rising is dedicated to helping music rise again following natural disasters and emergencies.