Virtual concert raises awareness about music education - Dallas News |

Virtual concert raises awareness about music education

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

King College Prep High School was one of several schools in eight different cities that performed in a virtual concert broadcasted around the world. The goal was to raise awareness about the importance of keeping music in school.

Backed by the jazz band, 18-year-old Khalil "Syncere" Lewis is center stage at the Bridging the Gap virtual concert. The massive screen was a window to eight different cities including Granada Hills, CA; Kent, WA and San Fernando, CA.

Music programs from each of the schools took turns performing.

"Since I'm an artist I write music as well so it helps me form metaphors and similes, everything correlates," said Lewis, a King College Prep student.

Chicago native and radio personality Shirley Strawberry hosted the virtual concert. She said students around the country are losing out on culture because of budget cuts.

"What I love about it is how happy these students are… I would hate to see the schools around the country lose it just because of funding," said Strawberry in an interview with FOX 32's Tisha Lewis.

Song writer and performer Jackson Browne made a surprise appearance at the Wednesday night event.

Principal David Narain said virtual instruction and concerts, like this one, help show the importance of arts education.

"There is lots of research that will show you that having students participate in fine arts and performing arts makes them a better student and well-rounded person but it's easier to cut than let's say math classes which is required," said Narain.

Chicago Public Schools said campuses without music education partner with organizations that provide instruction to students.

This example of virtual instruction is a public and private partnership with Cisco.

"Benjamin Washington has done an unbelievable job with this program, but think about being able to have Benjamin Washington at 100 high schools at Chicago Public Schools, right? And this technology allows you to do that," said Jerry Rocco with Cisco Chicago's Public Sector Relations.

This is the fourth year that Cisco's Bridging the Gap virtual concert has connected students at different schools nationwide.

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