By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Longtime “Tonight Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks and his trumpet-playing brother Duane were back in their hometown of Philadelphia today, teaching master music classes at the Kensington High School for Creative and Perform Arts.
The Eubanks brothers — Kevin, Duane, and Robin — are world renowned musicians and graduates of Germantown and Central High Schools.
“Music and arts are the perfect way to bring your education to bear on everyone around you,” said Kevin Eubanks today. He says he played in a band as a student in Philadelphia, and the arts were key to his success. So, he says, he’s baffled by the many cuts in arts education.
“Music from America is all over the world and it’s selling every second of every day,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s a billion-dollar industry. Students in Japan, Korea, Cuba, and Europe — they are not taking music out of schools! So why are we?”
On November 19th, the Philadelphia Education Fund will honor the Eubanks brothers with an “Eddy” award.
“The Eubanks brothers are wonderful examples of people who have benefited from public education in Philadelphia and gone on to do great things,” says Darren Spielman, CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund.
CAPA High School principal Debora Carrera says funding for the arts is critical. She says CAPA is a neighborhood school that is not “special admit,” so many kids get their first exposure to the arts when they come to the school.
“We’ve been able to find kids who have amazing talent that has been raw, that our teachers have been able to work with to develop, to create,” she says, “and what they learn in music, in choir, carries over to their other classes.”
CAPA jazz ensemble student Jeffrey Williams sang lead today while Kevin Eubanks backed him up on bass (below).
“I was kind of nervous,” Williams recalled afterward. “As we got to the end I felt a little better. I love music — it soothes me. I don’t know what I would do without it.”
Past Eddy award winners include former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and singer Jill Scott. This year’s Eddy Awards presentation will take place on November 19th. For more information go to http://www.philaedfund.org/news-events/special-events/eddy-awards.