Photo by Stan Lim, The Press-Enteprise/SCNG
9-1-2017 – Norco – They weren’t alive during John Lennon’s lifetime, but a group of Norco High School students imagined musical stardom Friday, Sept. 1.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a nonprofit program created 20 years ago, rolled onto campus, bringing a mobile recording studio equipped with the latest gear. The bus, which features a caricature of the late ex-Beatle on its side, travels across the country to 150 to 200 schools a year, as well as conventions, music festivals and public events.
“It’s very inspirational and motivational,” said Mark Hopper, 17, who wants to sing and perform in Broadway musicals. “It makes me want to follow my dreams at singing and all that. It’s the first step for a lot of us to get the experience of a recording studio, so it’s really cool.”
Hopper was one of eight students, all seniors in the school choir, who spent the day recording an original song using digital technology while also learning about video, photography and production. They made their music in the 45-foot air-conditioned bus stocked with computers, high-definition cameras, surround-sound speakers, amplifiers, industry-standard software and instruments.
“It’s a full immersion multi-media production experience,” said Steven Meloney, one of three on-board engineers. “They have a unique opportunity to work in a professional multi-million dollar studio. Most of this stuff is not available to the public.”
The bus, which also stopped at Dorothy McElhinney Middle School in Murrieta on Tuesday, Aug,. 29, receives financial support from Yoko Ono Lennon and sponsors including Apple, Juniper Networks, Yamaha and Canon.
George Giorgetti, a former music teacher at Norco High who works as a teacher on special assignment in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, helped arrange the visit.
For music students, the experience was like “a 6-year-old going to Disneyland for the first time,” Giorgetti said.
He said the goal was to show students what it takes to get to the next level and work cooperatively toward a common goal.
It’s also important to share Lennon’s beliefs in love and non violence to today’s youths to help unite a divided nation, he said.
“Each generation has a message to give,” Giorgetti said. “The baby boomer generation was peace. Right now, we need that more than anything.”
To affirm Lennon’s wish, about 300 students went on the football field and made a giant human peace sign.
Hannah Ruston, 16, was bursting with energy as the session began.
The group started with a song she wrote two days ago and that they had practiced once before. She played the keyboard as her classmates sang in harmony, drawing praise from the engineers.
“It’s crazy,” said Ruston, who wants to become a Broadway performer and a music teacher. “I never imagined I could be here doing this. It’s my original song in this bus with my friends with all this amazing equipment and it’s for real.”