John Lennon once likened his and Yoko’s activism to a marketing strategy. “Peace. We’re selling it like soap.” is what he said. That’s kind of the idea behind the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Give peace a chance by giving kids a chance to collaborate and create original music, videos, films, documentaries, games, apps, etc. If they’re given creative outlets, maybe the next generation can find the road to peace, or the path to a career they really enjoy.
Recently the Lennon Bus and Yoko kicked off a NYC residency in honor of what would have been John’s 74th birthday on October 9. Hopefully this will be the lead up to something even bigger for the 75th celebration next year. Maybe break the record for the world’s biggest human peace sign in Central Park? In the meantime, we’ve got sessions coming up that take the Lennon Bus to all 5 Boros in association with Amp Up NYC students.
First stop: PS 171/CPEII in Harlem. The students are in K-6th grade, and upon arrival, Yoko walked to the big blue Bus where an extremely enthusiastic crowd of young musicians were gathered. You wouldn’t have expected it, but they were actually jumping up and down, excited to be meeting the iconic artist and peace activist. Looking like a rock star in her silver jacket, she warmly greeted the kids, looked each of them in the eye, connected with their energy, shared high fives, and joined the group for some photos.
Next up: Meet and greets with the NAMM Foundation, Little Kids Rock, Amp Up NYC, NYC Public School’s Director of Music, SESAC, Council Member Daniel Drumm, and SESAC’s Trevor Gale. There’s a lot of peace sign throwing when you’re with Yoko. I heard someone say ”that’s a real peace sign.” Then…more photos with the incredible Lennon Bus staff. Those guys deliver the special goodness of the Bus with just the right mix of “Power to the People” and “Imagine” with maybe a touch of TLC’s “Waterfalls”.
From there we went up to the Principal’s office. Yeah we’re bad. We then made our way into the auditorium where 400, mostly young children gave “silent cheers” (wiggle your hands high up in the air) and listened to adults talk about the importance of music education before the young musicians took the stage with Lennon’s “Instant Karma”. The whole school joined in on the chorus (thanks Matt!), and then Yoko Ono Lennon took the stage. She read her piece titled “Make Your Heart Dance” and then led the kids in a spontaneous affirmation that was very well received by the young crowd. I’m sure the kids won’t forget it.
What’s better after an affirmation than a group sing-a-long of “Give Peace a Chance”? Nothing. So that’s what we did.
We hear a lot about how bad schools are, but on that day, at that school, you couldn’t help but be impressed with the teachers and staff, and of course most importantly with those kids, but the lunch room does smell just like a lunch room.