The OFFICIALunOFFICIAL English Bulldog Mascot

Reading, Writing, Rock and Roll!

In Books, bulldogs, K-12 Education, Music, Popular Music, ThatOne WORD, Writers and Writing on April 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM

On One of the most gloriously beautiful Saturday afternoons since the advent of spring here in Southern California, a group of Vista’s finest and most talented teens sacrificed their usual individual weekend pursuits for the public good in support of the Oceanside Public Library and The Big Read.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure, teaching, learning and fun!

The Big Read is in response to a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining among all groups but that the rate of decline is growing, especially among the young.

The Big Read aims to address this crisis by providing opportunities for Readers and Friends of Readers to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The initiative includes innovative reading programs, comprehensive resources for discussing classic literature and an extensive Web site providing comprehensive information on authors and their works.

Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program and major events devoted specifically to the book like panel discussions and book readings; events using the book as its subject– film screenings, theatrical readings, and book discussions in diverse locations directed towards a wide range of audiences.

The NEA inaugurated The Big Read as a pilot project in 2006 with ten communities featuring four books. The Big Read continues to expand to include more communities and additional books. By June 2010, more than 800 grants have been awarded to communities in the U.S. to host Big Reads since the program began nationally in 2007.

That’s a mouthful, so you can clearly appreciate the importance of these young people’s sacrifice today, all in support of literacy! As the canine champion of children’s literacy, I was all over this! The teens are musicians and students enrolled in The School of Rock a merit based, after school program in Vista. The school has established a nationwide presence with a two-fold goal:

1. helping students realize their potential as artists by putting them on stage in front of as many people as possible and

2. to help foster a new generation of incredible musicians.

Rock and roll is at the heart and soul of The School of Rock. The school and its dedicated staff help unleash the Learner’s talent and confidence by performing and learning about music. Instructors at The School of Rock are all working musicians. Learners at The School of Rock quickly appreciate it’s not just about playing an instrument, it’s about playing on a team! How cool is That!

Anna Sentina

Max Peterson

Which brings us back to these five extraordinary kids: Anna Sentina, 15, guitarist and keyboard player, Matt Holman, 14, guitarist, Max Peterson, 13, lead vocalist and guitarist, Alex Kasvikisv, 14, on drums, and Sean Roohanipur, 16, on bass guitar. The band played two sets for two hours. They got to experience not only the glamour of rock-n-roll but the hard work and discipline it entails as well.

They also got to become young custodians of the history of the Viet Nam War era, performing a set list, in response to this month’s featured book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, That included Eric Clapton’s Layla, The Band’s The Weight, Lynard Skynard’s Free Bird and Foghart’s Slow Ride. The performers also covered Bob Dylan, Led Zepplin and, Her personal favorite, Take the Money and Run by The Steve Miller Band. Wow, did That bring back a flood of good memories for Her!

I got to interview the group during a break. I will bring you highlights of That interview in my next blog post. For now, enough of this exposition. On to the photo gallery!

Sean Roohanipur

Every kid should have a chance to experience Success!

Goodwill Energies I direct

Toward each and every one of you

Each and every day!

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”

That’s life today!

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