High-Profile Gigs Keep Kids in (Music) School




The Regent Park School of Music often uses celebrity collaborations to keep its students motivated by their musical studies.





By Cathy Riches

Picture this: You’re the director of a music school. One day you get a call saying one of the most influential rock stars (ever!) wants to book your choir to perform with him. In two days. What do you do? If you’re Richard Marsella, Director of Regent Park School of Music, it’s an easy decision.

“We did everything we could to make it happen knowing that it would be an unforgettable experience for our students,” said Marsella. “In the end, it was well worth it! The presenting company, Live Nation, contacted us, knowing of our work as a community music school.”

That was 2010 and the first time the choir performed with Roger Waters on the Pink Floyd anthem “Another Brick in the Wall.” When the opportunity came around again this past July, they were practically old pros.

Members of the RPSM choir joined Roger Waters on-stage to perform "Another Brick in the Wall."

“Our kids have had the opportunity to collaborate with Lights, Andy Kim, the Barenaked Ladies, Dan Hill, Nikki Yanofsky and more,” said Marsella. “I spoke last week with Liona Boyd, and it’s looking good that a collaboration might occur later this year!”

Experiences like these have heightened impact for the school’s students. According to Marsella, fostering collaborations between the students and musicians from a variety of cultures – both musical and geographical – help connect a community and also help cross musical barriers.

Up next is a visit from Philadelphia-based jazz legends, the Sun Ra Arkestra who will be joined by dancers from the Coleman Lemieux compagnie. RPSM students will round out the partnership with a wide range of ensembles, including steel pan, guitar, brass and woodwind. Marsella views it as another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids. Here is a recording of the Sun Ra Arkestra performing “Space is the Place” live at the Town Hall, New York City, December 22 1973.

“These sort of experiences really give our students the confidence to overcome any challenges. I think the influence of major artists on our student body helps RPSM kids develop a musical voice, and act as future leaders in the community.”




On Saturday October 20th 2012, join the Regent Park School of Music for an exciting launch event in the new Daniels Spectrum.  Presented by The Daniels Corporation, in collaboration with Coleman & Lemieux Compagnie and Artscape, RPSM students will participate in "SPACE is the PLACE", a concert event featuring THE SUN RA ARKESTRA, legendary jazz band from Philadelphia. Be a part of a community experience where music and dance will help connect the many voices that occupy Regent Park and its new cultural hub.