Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday's Music Moment: Procrastinating Do-Gooder Edition

This is it. If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, then what are you doing reading my blog? The thronging crowds and snappy clerks await!

Unless…I have a better idea for you.  One that truly embodies the spirit of the season, and helps needy kids to boot. It makes you look like a generous do-gooder, which I know you are, not to mention a supporter of groovy new (and sometimes old) music - that's what brings you to Friday's Music Moment every week, right?

Carolyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story last week about some young musicians and their friend Tyler Hester, a ninth grade English teacher at a charter high school in Richmond, CA. It's the kind of school where the library "consists of about 500 dog-eared paperbacks housed in a former bathroom," according to the article, the kind of place where even if you HAD a love of reading, you'd be hard-pressed to find a book with which to indulge it.

The musicians, Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, have a huge-on-Youtube band called Pomplamoose, and they decided to help their college buddy and his students by encouraging their 200k plus YouTube fans to donate books to the school. In return, donors get a free download of Pomplamoose's latest album.  The response has been phenomenal, with donations to the school coming from all over the world. As of this writing, 7,354 donors have given 9,898 books and counting. It's been so successful that they've expanded beyond the original school site to donate books to public schools all over Richmond, a city where only 55% of students test proficient in English at the end of elementary school, and where in some schools 99% of the student population is poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

Check out Said's article for the full story, but suffice it to say that tales like this refute all the nasty rumors about members of the Digital Native generation being apathetic and me-centered. I'm kind of intrigued too by this whole phenomenon of a band that exists only on YouTube. Do they even tour? Do they even have to? Evidently they made their mark when Hyundai bought their jingle for a car ad, but since I pretty much never have a chance to watch TV this time of year I haven't seen it - I apologize if everyone in the world is already sick of Pomplamoose.

As for me, I want to hear more than just the snippets of "Deck the Halls" in the video below, so I donated a couple copies of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou to the school. Why not pour yourself a nice eggnog, choose a book or two to donate in someone's honor, and spend the rest of the day listening to your new Pomplamoose Christmas album?

Happy Holidays to all my readers - thank you so much for making Normalarkey a part of your week. It's the best present I've had all year (I mean, besides the Jean Nate and the Christmas Tree sweater.)

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