To Beat The Band

That’s Richard Barber explaining in an interview that marching band directors in New Orleans believe they’re doing more than teaching music to their students. “You see these directors — often the most important adults in their students’ lives — passing on a legacy that had literally saved their own lives when they were kids.” Barber is a television producer and director in New York. His immersive documentary The Whole Gritty City explores the influence of three marching band directors in post-Katrina New Orleans as they prepare their kids to perform in the annual Mardi Gras parades. “As close to cinema verité as network television ever gets,” wrote reviewer Robert Lloyd in the Los Angeles Times. “Sensitive, intelligent, and inspirational,” said National Public Radio critic David Bianculli. The documentary received a 2015 Christopher Award, an honor presented each year to writers, producers, directors, authors, and illustrators whose work “affi the highest values of the human spirit.”

As a Hampshire student, Barber taught himself to edit film, he says, “on the midnight-to-dawn shift on a Moviola in a little room behind the East Lecture Hall.” During a long career working primarily for CBS, he’s won numerous industry awards, among them an Emmy for producing the television documentary 9/11.

From the Fall 2016 issue of Hampshire's Non Satis Scire magazine.