Lennon Bus invites all Dreamers on Board

On October 9, 2013, Americans and Brits remembered a music legend and peace activist on what would be his 73rd birthday. If you’re into music, it’s likely you’ve heard the name. If not, get out from under the rock and start listening to some early rock’n’roll, and surely you’ll stumble upon some Lennon.

Some of Lennon’s songs include, “Watching the Wheels,” “Jealous Guy,” “Mind Games,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Intsant Karma! (We all shine on)” and the infamous “Imagine.”

Although Lennon passed away on October 8, 1980, his music and legend continues to live on. For the last 16 years, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus has kept not only the Beatles beat alive, but inspires young students to be creative with music. Founded in 1998, the bus works with some of the biggest names in the industry to provide free hands-on music and production programs to young people. The bus features a full recording studio, and sound engineers who are eager to help students (as well as top name artists) record songs and music videos on board.

Bryce Quig-Hartman, a Producer Engineer on board the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was kind enough to give me a tour. Aesthetically pleasing from the outside, John Lennon’s iconic autobiographical sketch adorns the royal blue bus. Step foot inside, and its interior is just as tastefully done. Top-notch equipment from sponsors include Apple, Gibson, Mont Blanc, Sony, Epiphone, Boss and plenty more.

Volunteer and blog contributor Sarah Spohn and her mother Denise Weber before getting a tour of the mobile recording studio

Volunteer and blog contributor Sarah Spohn and her mother Denise Weber before getting a tour of the mobile recording studio

“This is the same equipment that you’d see in a studio in Nashville, or LA or New York,” said Quig-Hartman. All of the equipment was donated by sponsors or private donors.

A full-scale model replica of the Iceland peace tower in memory of Lennon is to the right, behind the driver’s seat. To the left is a simple black and white sticker that says “Imagine.” A special edition Mont Blanc writing utensil fashioned after Lennon is in a light up display case with his signature etched in glass. It might just be the most beautiful bus I’ve ever seen. But what this giant tour bus accomplishes is so much more amazing.

“We are a non profit mobile recording studio. So what we do is we travel the country 10 months out of the year teaching kids how to write and record music. So we’ll show up at a school, bring a group of students on, and in 8 hours, we’ll produce an original song and music video with the kids all done by them,” said Quig-Hartman. “They play the music, they write the lyrics, they plan out some of the shots, and it’s really just to inspire the creativity and helps encourage these kids to be motivated about the arts.”

In schools today, it’s often a rarity that the budget allows for students to participate in arts education. The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is set out to expose kids to making music on their own, something many of them wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to do. “It’s completely non profit, so it’s free for the school and its free for the students,” said Quig-Hartman.

The bus was spotted Monday, Sept. 30th in the parking lot of Lansing’s Everett

High School, as part of the High School Nation Tour. Students were able to write record and film a music video while on board, as well as tour the studios where the Black Eyed Peas and other big name artists have recorded songs and entire albums.

Yoko Ono Lennon is not often thought of as the dreamer; many attribute that to Lennon’s own lyrics, but right he is…he’s not the only one. Ono Lennon has granted John his wish of hoping someday they’d join him, by inviting thousands of students on board. Staff, engineers, producers, volunteers, sponsors, private donors and Yoko are working diligently to let Lennon’s legacy live on and ignite passion in young people for the future. By purchasing the bus, and launching the first European bus on May 8th in Liverpool, Ono Lennon is giving an opportunity to thousands of children, encouraging them to imagine—a word synonymous with Lennon himself.