Houston stop produces sweet music
Aspiring video rappers from YES Prep & Grady Middle School take a ride on theJohn Lennon bus
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus — a mobile multi-media production facility on wheels — made a recent stop in Houston and students at Grady Middle School and YES Preparatory Academy got a chance to become rock stars for a day.
The non-profit recording studio is on coast-to-coast tour offering students the opportunity to create a music video from scratch. Since 1998, the Lennon bus project has encouraged kids to play music, write songs, engineer recording sessions and produce video projects using the latest audio, video, and live sound equipment. The results on posted on the John Lennon Bus YouTube site.
"Their potential is unlimited," said producer and engineer Kevin Hoy, who works with the students to craft a music video.
Jan-Patrick Schmitz, CEO of Mont Blanc North America, said the pen company decided to sponsor the tour after noting that budget cuts were forcing schools around the nation to cut back on arts education programs. "Whatever you do in life, if you don't have the opportunity to develop your creativity, you miss an important part of your development," he said.
Schmitz believes Lennon is the perfect role model for such a project, since even now, 30 years after his death, because both adults and their children revere him.
"He's one of the few musicians of another generation that if you talk to kids, they know who he is," Schmitz said. "The Beatles stand for peace and freedom. Their message — and John Lennon's message — is as relevant, if not more so, today."
Schmitz is also impressed by the results of the students' finished products. "They come here without any experience and they create something collaborative," he said. "It's amazing what an impact you can make."
"This Is How We Roll" by Grady Middle School
"Chance To Be Famous" by YES Prep: