By Kim Baldonado
All too often art and music take a back seat in public schools, but at Miramonte Elementary in South LA, music took center stage Tuesday.
In the Miramonte Elementary Auditorium Tuesday, the school band’s rendition of “My Girl” had fellow students swaying their hands and a special guest tapping his toes.
The man who wrote the song and sang the 1965 classic was in the audience, Smokey Robinson.
“To have his presence here, it’s an unreal feeling and I am infinitely grateful and blessed to have him here,” said Angel Ruiz an 8th grad student at Miramonte.
The legendary artist donated a signed Gibson guitar to Miramonte, encouraged the students to do well in school, and gave the ultimate compliment to the band.
“I am so so happy these kids still have access to music and they still have programs where they can play music,” Robinson said. “When I was in elementary school I was in a band and played the saxophone and we didn’t sound nearly as good as these kids.”
Miramonte’s music program is funded by Music Will, a non-profit providing free music education to schools nationwide. Tuesday the Hot Topic Foundation donated one million dollars to Music Will.
The Music Will program has been at Miramonte for 13 years and the students who participate say it has been life-changing.
“It’s just the best thing ever and I feel like everyone needs to have a music in their life because music will heal, it will bring peace to people,” said Emma Sanchez an 8th grad student at Miramonte.
Robinson says it brought joy to watch the students perform his music.
“As a songwriter that’s what I write them for. I want people to sing them forever and ever and ever,” Robinson said.
It seems the rock and roll hall of famer will sing his songs forever as well. At 82 years young, he’s still touring and performing.
“I tried retiring one time and after about three and a half years or so I was climbing the walls,” Robinson said. “So I’m going to be the George Burns of this end of show business.”
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