Grammy winner visits Altimira
GRAMMY AWARD WINNER Susan Tedeschi paid a visit to the sixth-grade music students at Altimira Middle School Friday.
It's still unclear if the sixth-grade band students at Altimira Middle School fully understood the caliber of artist they were meeting when Grammy award winner Susan Tedeschi strolled into their classroom Friday afternoon. But they certainly enjoyed hearing her sing and play guitar.
Tedeschi was in town performing with her guitar-legend husband, Derek Trucks, during the seventh annual Jazz Plus Festival, which raises money for music education. But Tedeschi wanted to do more than help raise money, she wanted to raise spirits and inspire hope that there can be a life dedicated entirely to music.
"I knew I wanted to sing when I was 6 years old," she told the class of a dozen or so students. "Don't ever be afraid to go for it and try new things."
The students expressed nervous excitement when she walked in to listen to the band play three songs from their most recent concert. The blues singer bobbed her head along as the students played "Bugler's Dream (Olympic Fanfare)" by Leo Arnaud, "Vanguad (Concert March)" by Bob Cotter and "Pathfinder" by James Curnow.
"I get nervous too, especially when there's a camera in your face. That's never easy," Tedeschi told the students, referring to the television and print media that came to cover her visit to the school.
Jazz Plus executive director Joseph Lang helped connect Tedeschi with the band students at Altimira Middle School, one of the programs that Jazz Plus In Schools has supported to keep music education thriving. Tedeschi, the mother of a fourth-grader and second-grader herself, has a history of reaching out to young musicians in the classroom and sharing her story with students.
She told the captive young audience about how she first began making up songs as a small child, and how that translated to performing in her hometown in Massachusetts. "I started making money playing music when I was 13 or 14," Tedeschi said.
She also discussed the importance of music in education. A graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Tedeschi credits her time in college with solidifying her decision to pursue a career as a musician. Music education is something that kept her engaged in school, she said.
"Music is really important because it breaks up the day between English and science and math," she said, adding that it also compliments the core subjects. "Math is something that is used every day in music."
The students were excited to ask her questions about her life on the road, hearing stories about her performances across the globe and what it's like to balance two young children in a family of touring musicians.
She ended her visit by performing John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" and her own band's, Tedeschi and Truck, anti-war anthem "Pack Up Our Things and Go" with her acoustic guitar.
At the end of the visit, music teacher Veronica Tonus beamed, "This was just a huge treat for the kids."