By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A traveling music and technology festival was in Philadelphia today, giving high school students an arts experience they might not otherwise get because of budget cuts.
The “High School Nation” tour made a stop at Martin Luther King High School, treating students to an outdoor concert while they explored careers in the music industry.
The Philadelphia school district has managed to hire back 66 laid-off “itinerant” music teachers, but their jobs are only funded for half the school year, according to Frank Machos, the district’s director of music education.
“As of now, what we’re being told is that the funding is there for them to have them there until January.”
High School Nation founder Jimmy Cantillon says Philadelphia needs this boost of music education.
“When we started researching how hard the schools and the districts are getting hit here with funding cuts for music and the arts, right off the bat we knew it was a no-brainer to come here,” he said today.
Kids tried out drums and guitars at the festival’s interactive displays, and climbed aboard the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.
“We help students write songs and create music videos for free,” says Ryan L’Esperance, an engineer and producer on the bus, “and as we travel around, these students get to be completely interactive in all of the latest and most state-of-the-art technology.”
The tour includes two buses, tents, and a performance stage.