Wisconsin Public Radio Feature

Artist-In-Residence at Crestwood Elementary – Madison, WI (Photo by Brad Kolberg- WPR)

Exciting news! Wisconsin Public Radio featured a piece on my work, my ministry, and my work with non-profits and people around the world.

Click HERE to read/listen to the piece!

Want to Hear My Take on Baby Shark!?

The Baby Shark craze has made it’s way to my new project at Kidspace Studios. KS Studios is a newly assembled team of teachers, parents (and I), creating new music and animation every week made just for kids and families.

I had a lot of fun putting this one together for you. If you like it, click subscribe and share with a friend! You guys are what keep us going!

BIG SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!

We have a REALLY SPECIAL show coming up! Can’t wait to share the stage with these amazing songwriters…

The Bluebird Cafe
“In the Row” with Tony Memmel, Jeff Cohen, Alicia Witt, and Annalise Emerick
12.27.18 at 6:00pm

Tickets go on sale at 8:00am CST on 12/20/18, and I’m told that they go quickly! Here’s the link:

http://thebluebirdcafe.tunestub.com/event.cfm?id=289542

We’re Headed to Texas!

Lesleigh and I are excited to be touring through Dallas, Fort Worth, and Boerne this March! We’d love to see you if you’re in the area…

Tour dates:

March 29th, 2018
Z’s Wood Fired Pizza
Boerne, TX
6:00PM
Free

March 29th, 2018
Geneva School of Boerne
Boerne, TX
Private event

March 24th, 2018
House Concert
Dallas, TX
Private Event

March 24th, 2018
Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
Dallas, TX
1:00PM
Free

March 23rd, 2018
House Concert
Fort Worth, TX
Private Event

March 21st, 2018
Alliance United Methodist Church
Fort Worth, TX
6:30PM
Free

TODAY’S SHOW CANCELED Due to Weather

TODAY’s SHOW CANCELED! Unfortunately, the rainy, cold weather has forced Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery to close the rooftop patio today.

Though there won’t be any live music, the main, downstairs restaurant is definitely still open for business, so be sure to go if you’re hanging out in downtown Nashville today.

School Visits

It was such a great week working with students in the northeastern United States! I had two school visits in Connecticut and taught clinics to grades Pre-K – 6th.

Would you like for us to come to your school this year OR in 2018-19? Contact us today!

Where words fail, music speaks

A group of visually impaired students talking to Tony about how he plays the guitar

 

Guest post by Lesleigh Memmel

“Where words fail, music speaks.” This quote has come to mind so many times on this tour…

In a previous post, Tony described our visit to S. 21 – a former school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a prison. During our visit, we walked through the empty rooms and halls in silence, and tried to comprehend what had happened there, barely 40 years earlier…

That next morning, we traveled to the Secondary School of Fine Arts. The oschoolyard was filled with students bustling around the campus, laughing, smiling, playing with friends, and waving at us as a warm welcome into their community. The buildings were bright and colorful, and you could feel the energy and love in the air. I describe this scene, because the campus layout was similar to the layout of S. 21, but was a sharp contrast to what we’d witnessed the day before. We were grateful to be filling the rooms and hallways with music, smiles, and conversation.

We had to get a selfie with these wonderful students!

The students started the morning workshop by performing traditional Cambodian folks songs – they sang and danced, and acted out a dramatic play. They were incredible! We played a few of our songs, and then performed a song together. In preparation for our tour, we learned a really fun and catchy Cambodian song, “Arabpiya.” Everywhere we went, everyone knew this song. The students sang and danced around us and accompanied us on their local instruments. So much fun!

Later that day, we visited Krousar Thmei – a school that specializes in education for students who are visually and hearing impaired. After several years of instruction (between 3rd and 5th grade), the students are “mainstreamed” into the public school system. Krousar Thmei translates to “new family.” It definitely felt like a big family there.

We were greeted at the school by the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, and his wife. We toured the school and visited a few classrooms, and were able to introduce ourselves by spelling our names in sign language.

From there, we made our way to the big hall on campus. This is where the words started to fail me (in the best way!). A group of visually impaired musicians played their instruments while hearing impaired dancers twirled around the room. Both groups followed each others’ cues and created something truly beautiful. How do you follow that?!

We played a few of our songs, and then the whole room erupted into a dance party/conga line as we played “Arabpiya” with the students. They danced circles around us (literally).

“Music is the universal language of mankind,” is a quote that’s also come to mind almost every day of this tour… We’ve experienced this firsthand and witnessed it transcend language, ability, physical/cognitive differences, perceived limitations… halfway around the world, we were welcomed into this “new family,” and were each able to bring something unique to make something special together. That’s the incredible power of music.

Stand By Me

Guest post by Lesleigh Memmel

Friday morning, we were up before the sun, and on our way to Channel News Asia for a TV interview and performance on “First Look Asia,” a morning news program that airs in 25+ regions across the globe. Tony had the chance to speak about our American Music Abroad Tour in Southeast Asia, and our work with the Lucky Fin Project.

Tony with the hosts of “First Look Asia” – Singapore

We had the pleasure of spending our afternoon with the kids at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS). Cerebral Palsy is a movement disorder that affects people in different ways, but typically, it affects muscle control/coordination, posture, and balance. With these things in mind, the amazing thing about music is that it can and should be played and enjoyed by people of all abilities. This truth was brought to life before our very eyes at CPAS…

We played some singalongs and shared stories with the children, but the most meaningful concert of the day was after our set. Several groups of students serenaded us with a concert, featuring everything from animal puppets and movement/music pieces, to a handbell choir playing “I Love You (the Barney Theme Song),” to a beautiful version of “Stand By Me.” I had tears in my eyes as these young musicians sang their hearts out for us and for their peers.

Tony Memmel and his band with the students at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore

After a beautiful concert, we got to work with the students and “Engineering Good,” a non-profit organization that works to empower people through sustainable engineering solutions: in this case, music!

The engineers had stations set up where students (and Tony Memmel & his band!) could try out some of their adaptive music projects. Electrodes and fresh produce (yes, fruit & veggies!) were connected to computers that assigned music notes to each piece of fruit/vegetable. In technical terms, I was able to play “Oh, When The Saints Go Marching In” on bananas! It’s so exciting to see people like Engineering Good doing amazing things with technology to make music accessible to everyone.

Tony playing a song on potatoes!

After our banana/apple/potato jam session, we held a few guitar and ukulele workshops with the students – some could walk, some were chair users, and their abilities and ages had a wide range. I’m thrilled to say that by the end of each workshop, we had a room full of musicians playing “Stand By Me.”

Joey working with students at CPAS

I played the whole song with a boy named Elijah, a chair user, who was so excited to know our names, the instruments that we play, and that there are 50 STARS on the United States flag! That’s the first time that either Elijah or I had played a full song on a ukulele, and we closed out the song together with a celebratory high five and a huge smile.

Guitar and ukulele workshop at CPAS