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High School Students Board the Lennon Bus

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Students from Woodstock High School who share a passion for music spent two days aboard a mobile recording studio when the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus came to Woodstock April 11 and 12. WHS senior Nathan Varga works in the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus while onboard engineer Luke Huisman assists. Independent Photo by Ken Farver

Seven WHS students, most coming from the AP music theory class, came together to create an original music video. The group spent time on board the bus recording vocal and instrument pieces, then filmed video footage — some on campus and some around the Square. They wrapped up the two days by putting the music and video together with help of the onboard crew. 

“They’re collaborating to create an original composition. Their sound is some electronic, some acoustic… it’s a mash-up of different styles,” said teacher Rich Stiles. 

The bus is equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video recording equipment, musical instruments and high-end computers that integrate the various formats. Three onboard engineers assist students with writing, recording and producing original songs and video content. The hope is to give students who are passionate about music a better idea of how it is produced. 

“I hope they take away the sense of professionalism that goes into this type of project. There’s no shortcuts. Everything we do has to be planned out and executed thoroughly,” said Steven Meloney, one of the onboard engineers.

The bus visited last year, and students got a small taste of what it was capable of, but this year was intended for the selected students to spend time creating the music video. 

Junior Josey Brown, 17, is considering a career as a band teacher. She said the time spent on the bus was a great experience. 

“This is a glimpse of how we could use our skills in real life, in the real world. It’s cool seeing how all of the parts come together. Watching them mash the recordings together of the pieces we’ve each done is so cool. I’ve never really put much thought into how much work goes into this. It’s unbelievable to see,” Brown said. 

The 45-foot educational tour bus is celebrating its 20th year offering students from elementary school to college a hands-on audio and video educational experience throughout the country. After a few stops in Illinois, the bus was headed to Idaho. 

The event was sponsored by Woodstock-based Other World Computing.  

“The experience that kids get on the John Lennon Bus is empowering,” said Jen Soule, president of OWC. “It shows kids how to go from ideas to a finished product and gives them a real hands-on experience. Many kids use the project as a sample of their work for internships or college applications, so it can be life-changing. These are very impressive works by kids that would likely not have had a similar opportunity. That is the magic of the bus and why we sponsor it.”