One day in Chorale at Florida Southern, a new tenor sat next to me. His name was Andrew Canlon. Some of you FSCites may have heard him play at Beyond and may have seen "O'Canlon"(his band) play before.
He was good.
Turned out, his old music teacher was a chorus teacher at PS22 in New York City.
Inner city education has always been of interest to me. Probably has something to do with the emotion of fighting the bad parts of our culture.
Coincidently, I had been watching videos of PS22 on YouTube. They've been featured on NiteLine, Oprah, Good Morning America, not to mention that Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Tori Amos, and Ashton Kutcher have been huge supporters.
They've done some cool 9/11 stuff as well.
You can see them rehearsing his song "Valor" with an intro from the teacher:
Though many musicians and music teachers fight against using pop culture and musical influences to teach youth, I've always viewed it as an effective means of producing a good product. Plus it pays homage to what is happening in our world.
It is rare that you see kids this young singing such music with such passion. Forget the technicalities of musicianship for now, this is good work.
You can see Andrew singing his song with the PS22 choir here:
Take some time and watch their videos, many of them, on YouTube.
I hadn't watched them in some time but I was reminded today of just how good some of the clips are.