All year, Steven Van Zandt has been holding virtual fundraisers to benefit TeachRock, the organization he founded to save music education — providing online music history courses, among other resources, to kids whose classrooms have been robbed of arts programs. And he just announced his biggest event yet.
On December 21st, Van Zandt and TeachRock will present Stand With Teachers, an hour-long event featuring performances by Eddie Vedder and Margo Price. Others slated to appear include Steven’s wife Maureen Van Zandt plus their Sopranos colleagues Steve Buscemi and Vincent Pastore, along with Whoopi Goldberg, Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Tom Morello, Edward Norton, and Lillyhammer’s Trønd Fausa Aurvåg and Steinar Sagen.
Tickets, which are tax-deductible and will allow you to stream the event on-demand for three days, are available now.
Van Zandt said he wanted to stage the event to honor educators for their dedication to teaching throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. “Being an educator has never been easy, but 2020 posed greater challenges than any schools have ever faced. And, as usual, teachers rose to the occasion,” he said. “When schools shut down overnight, teachers rallied and moved classes online. But that’s not all — like the essential workers they are, teachers continue to risk their health to serve students and families, be it to distribute tech to keep students connected, or meals to help families in need. Teachers are the plainclothes superheroes in our midst. They deserve to be heard and celebrated, and that’s why we’re going to Stand With Teachers on December 21st.”
Bill Carbone, executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, added: “We will celebrate with a fun and uplifting evening of music and conversation, all to honor the teachers who continue to go above and beyond to meet the basic educational and human needs of America’s students during these unprecedented times.”
Van Zandt launched TeachRock with Bono, Martin Scorsese, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen after 2002’s No Child Left Behind bill effectively reduced music and arts courses across the country. “They canceled all the arts classes in America so that they could test kids in math and science constantly,” Van Zandt told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “It’s just so misconceived.” (All arts classes were not canceled, exactly, but attention and funds do focus on the core curriculum.)
The organization provides online music history courses, among other resources, to kids whose classrooms lack arts programs. TeachRock has more than 200 free lessons online, from the Birth of Rock to the Roots of Hip-Hop; it provides free distance learning to students in 100 New York City public schools. During Covid shutdowns, nearly 400 percent more teachers accessed TeachRock’s online curriculum. It currently reaches 23,000 schools in nearly 7,000 districts in all 50 states.