Lean On Me

Here’s a throwback to one of the first virtual videos we made last year (and some footage of my mega-beard). This song has been on my mind, and I want to share it with you today to hopefully inspire you, and brighten your week.

A Look Back at 2020…

COVID-19 changed almost everything for our band. Like so many people, in a matter of moments, our calendars that had been filled with tours, recording sessions, and teaching opportunities were erased, and all events indefinitely postponed. 

We say COVID changed “almost” everything, because the pandemic put to the test our band’s fundamental belief that people are born into a certain time and place with unique gifts, talents, and abilities. We have taught this principle for many years in classrooms, on stages, and (to the best of our ability) with our actions. 

With that in mind, we pivoted with the aim to rise to the significant challenges in front of us. 

From assemblies, to concerts, to creating the first AMA Virtual World Tour, our band has recognized our mission has changed, but it is not done. 

We work every day to reach people in virtual capacities, and in spite of the many challenges, to do it joyfully.  

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

May this season bring you and yours peace as we reflect on the good news of comfort and joy. There is abundant hope to be known in the mysterious, amazing, prophetic promise of Christmas.

Love,
Tony
p.s. Please enjoy our Christmas video above (featuring Leonard “Bear”stein and his animatronic grizzly orchestra)!

Cultural Resilience – How can Music Thrive During Hard Times?

My band was honored to have been invited to participate in Indonesia Cultural Week 2020. The theme of this virtual arts festival was “Cultural Resilience.” How does music find ways to thrive even with the challenges before us?

I wrote and directed this piece that’ll give you a deep look at what cultural resilience means to me. Thank you for watching. As always, leave me a note, and share with a friend.

Love,
Tony

Happy Thanksgiving!

This video features artist friends of mine from across the United States as we come together to virtually celebrate Thanksgiving and Gratitude. It’s the largest piece I’ve directed.

**HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL FUN FACTS ABOUT THE PROJECT:

  • 11 AMA Alumni Artists make appearances in this film! 
  • Footage was collected from those artists in 8 U.S. Cities!
  • 30+ audio tracks were assembled to make up the “Family” track!
  • 100+ Video Files were assembled to make up the full film!

Thank you for watching and sharing with a friend!

Love,
Tony

Bright Bright Light

M U S T W A T C H ! A tornado and a global pandemic can’t dim the light that’s shining from MNPS Dodson Elementary. It’s my joy to present “BRIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT,” the BRAND NEW SONG and MUSIC VIDEO that I co-wrote with 360 students as an artist-in-residence.

This footage captures the exciting classroom atmosphere as we crafted the song, showcases student artwork, and shows the hard work and fun that went into this special project. The students were SO excited that this song would eventually be recorded and shared… Let’s shed some light today! Thank you for sharing far and wide!

Read on for full story…

R E S I L I E N C E : On March 2nd, I began a 2-week songwriting residency at Dodson Elementary in Nashville, TN. We set out to create a brand new song with the entire school. The students and I wrote the chorus on day one: “I’ll Be the Bright, Bright Light,” a song about courage, kindness, joy, and strength.

That night, the #NashvilleTornado hit the Dodson community hard. Dozens of families lost their homes or were displaced. School was closed for the remainder of the week. The following week, we picked up where we left off, knowing that we had important work to do: we had to finish this song. Three days later, due to COVID-19, schools were closed indefinitely.

For the past several weeks, I have been coordinating with the music teacher, Tracy Roberts, and working to complete the song that these students poured their hearts into.

**Thank you to the community of special sponsors that made this completed project possible.**