The Elysian trumpet, crafted in Portland, made its way to New Orleans Monday coinciding with the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
It was commissioned by Mayfield and presented to the City of New Orleans as an instrumental monument in memory of Irvin Mayfield, Sr., who died in the hurricane, and on behalf of all of the victims of Katrina.
The horn is brushed with a 24k gold finish and adorned with jewels and symbols representing New Orleans' cultural icons. Renowned Portland trumpet maker Dave Monette and designer/goldsmith Tami Dean spent over a year on the project.
Monette says building the Elysian trumpet has been a challenging experience but that all of the hard work has been worth it.
Dave Monette: “It's been a challenge every step of the way just because we want to do new stuff that's really interesting acoustically and visually. So to get everything to work so that visually it looks stunning and acoustically it's the best horn that's ever been made in the history of the company, that's a little bit of a project.”
And the first time Irvin Mayfield, Jr. saw the horn he was thrilled.
Irvin Mayfield, Jr.: “Greatest trumpet ever made in the world. The best trumpet ever made. I don't feel like I deserve to necessarily play it. But that's what it is.”
But Mayfield says that while he's looking forward to playing it, the real purpose of the Elysian trumpet is to honor his father and the other victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Irvin Mayfield, Jr.: “It's the only monument built of its kind for Hurricane Katrina. So it's gonna have an extreme significance. I don't think people are really going to recognize here how important it is. It's something greater than all of us. That's what's so great about this, we can all come together to make something greater than us. Something to continue to keep us driving you know.”
The Elysian trumpet was named after the place where Irvin Mayfield Sr.'s body was found — on Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.
Irvin Mayfield, Jr. is scheduled to play the horn this Wednesday in New Orleans to commemorate those lost in Hurricane Katrina.
The trumpet will be featured on OPB's Oregon Artbeat in its new season. We thank them for providing the sound for this story.