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Hot Jazz, Cool Teacher: How One New Orleans Man Fosters Greatness

Sam Venable proudly shows off his marching band uniforms at Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans.
Sam Venable proudly shows off his marching band uniforms at Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans.

Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. New Orleans and marching bands.

Some things are inseparable.

The city best known for hot jazz is a wellspring of talented musicians. Where do they all come from? Oftentimes it's great teachers — like Sam Venable, the band director at Langston Hughes Academy, a middle school on Trafalgar Street.

Hear the story of great teaching at the top of the page. You can also hear this clip of Venable playing at his grandmother's 90th birthday:

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