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Smith River gets a visit from the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

SMITH RIVER - After winning a national music contest, Smith River Elementary was finally awarded with a big surprise and several Del Norte County students got the opportunity to participate.

Last year Smith River Elementary's music program was nationally recognized by the NAMM foundation with a merit award, but this year they took it one step further.

“So that was already pretty wonderful and important, and then we invited those schools to apply for the Lennon Bus residency. So this school submitted a one minute video about zombies, and what happens, music never dies. It was just precious and wonderful and creative. So they really earned it," said Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation, Mary Luehrsen

Out of 96 schools competing in the Why Music Education in My School is Great competition. Smith River was one out of nine that was awarded with a visit from the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Some of the music students were even able to spend time with staff and create their own song.

"The staff is great; they're wonderful to work with. You can tell they're very passionate about music and kids, and music education," said Coleen Parker, Human Resources Director of Del Norte Unified School District.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, is a state of the art, audio and HD Video, recording and production studio and the bus is dedicated to increasing students access to music.

"It was fun, they really do help us, come in together to form one big band,” said Smith River 6th grader, David Garcia.

In addition, more than 250 music students from the surrounding areas performed for the SupportMusic webcast Friday morning and music educators expressed their gratitude. 

"It's a great experience, you know, we have music everyday here in our schools and it's nice to be recognized for what we're doing and for our kids to see, this is special," said Parker.

Crescent Elk Middle School band members said, "It was really fun, amazing, it was awesome, it was cool and I really liked the high school performance." 

After all the positive reinforcement that has come from this effort, Del Norte County Unified School District is now going to offer music education for K through 4th grade.