I'm a huge Cirque du Soleil fan. I've probably seen every show they've done, and can even pronounce the French name correctly. The best show, in my learned opinion, is Love. A tribute to the Beatles, at the Mirage, is so magical I would swear they're hypnotizing us with their sequined outfits. I'm a huge Beatles fan, so it's an easy sell for me, but before the show I just loved them. Now I loooove them! It's a very specific technical difference.
So it seemed to be a continuation of that same magic that I met Brian Rothschild, Executive Director of a thing called the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. In addition to being a huuuuge Beatles fan, I'm also a big supporter of education. I really found a joy in my learnin' as a kid, and always try to support education as an adult, especially in helping kids of all races and financial means find a way to express themselves. So get this: the bus is a full on, decked out audio and video production studio. I don't mean a hand recorder and an iPhone. I mean full on pro tools (that's a really good thing for you non-audio peeps), green screen, instruments and even multiple sound booth capability. It is state of the art as far as I can tell. But listen to what it does.
10 months out of the year the bus tours the United States, visiting schools, concerts, and events. At each of these the bus invites a group of kids, ranging from grade school age through high school, to record music. For 8 solid hours this group of kids, who usually have never worked together before, must write, record, and produce a video for an original song. For free.
I saw some of the results. These are not only some slick videos, they are also some amazing songs! The beauty of the bus is that it doesn't just give young musicians an opportunity to work in a professional setting, or that they can leave with a slick video to show around, but also that they learn to work together, with kids they may only barely know. They work closely together, learning to be creative together, and no doubt form long lasting friendships because of it.
And if that isn't enough, artists like Sam I Am, Carlos Santana, Natasha Bennefield and more, often join the kids, helping with their music and, if asked nicely, sometimes siting in on the song. I'm no musician, and the only place I sing well is in the shower, but even I know that having a chance that Carlos Santana might play guitar on my own song would blow my mind!
It's not hard to see why it's so compelling for companies like Apple, Sony, Gibson Guitars, Avid and many more to want to help this organization succeed. There's absolutely no downside, and so much upside in supporting kids and their futures.
I strongly suggest you check it out. If you're at NAB right now, you can find the bus parked outside the side door near the Sony booth in the central hall. Or, for those geographically challenged, go to http://www.lennonbus.org
. And tomorrow (
Tuesday, April 17th
) Morgan Spurlock of Supersized and 30 Days fame, is hosting a live streaming event from the Lennon Bus. If you cant be there, watch it by ownloading the Lennon Bus app for iPhone and Android, at
, or check out the site for more details!