A few years back, I remember seeing a viral video of a group of musicians performing “Stand by Me.” It was one of those rare moments that you feel something grab you, take you in, and you lose all sense of anything or anyone around you. As moving as this performance is, the story behind it and the continuing journey, are even more amazing. Please turn up your volume and enjoy:
This was the first single from Playing for Change, a multi-media charity art project of Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke. What began as a project to record musicians from around the world and to share their music with the world, sprouted a movement to give back to these musician’s communities through The Playing for Change Foundation.
Last fall I had the opportunity to see the Playing for Change concert at the Musical Instrument Museum and attend an educational session on their journey with Co-Founder Mark Johnson. I was excited to hear first-hand of how his idea evolved into such an incredible movement. I honestly didn’t think the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck could stand up for a full 2 hours, but evidently, they can. It was truly overwhelming listening to his inspiring journey, seeing the sparkle in his eyes and hearing the passion in his voice. The only thing missing from this learning session was a box of much-needed tissues. You’ll see the sparkle and hear the passion in this short clip of Mark:
To date, Playing for Change Foundation has created 7 music programs, 130 jobs and have 600 students attending music programs they started throughout the world. With their “mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so,” I have no doubt that if anyone can do it, Playing for Change and their Playing for Change Foundation can!