NAMM to Host Premiere of HBO's 'Music in Me: Children's Recitals from Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco'

September 18, 2006

Music enriches us all, and the seeds for appreciating it are planted in childhood. The HBO Family presentation, "The Music in Me: Children's Recitals From Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco," profiles young musicians around the country from different musical and cultural traditions. The first segment of a three-part series debuts Saturday, Oct. 7, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m./PT exclusively on HBO.

An invitation-only screening of the program will take place Friday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall (7th Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets), followed by live musical performances by children featured in the documentary.

The screening is sponsored by NAMM, the International Music Products Association, and Music for All, who join with HBO in celebrating children's innate and powerful energy to make music. Both organizations are part of the Coalition, a national leadership network of more than 120 businesses and nonprofit organizations working to assure that all children have access to music education.

"Making music helps kids reach their full potential as clearly demonstrated in HBO's 'The Music In Me,' " said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. "After watching this program, what parent wouldn't want their child to play music?"

HBO Family playdates: Oct. 10 at 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 13 at 8:45 p.m.; Oct. 15 at 5:20 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 18 at 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 20 at noon; Oct. 25 at 4:40 p.m.; Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.; and Oct. 30 at 3:30 p.m.

The program combines performance footage and home-video clips to display the stirring and surprising range of musical styles that children across America espouse and embrace. The special celebrates the heart and soul of dedicated young musicians everywhere, and the power of music to make us all feel more alive.

Ranging in ages from 7 to 11, the six featured musicians began playing early and never stopped. Ten-year-old trumpet player Tyler said, "I started music before I started talking." Ten-year-old Qaasim observes simply that he, like others in the film, has "the music in me."

"The Music In Me" vividly conveys the passion each child feels for music, whether playing in the bedroom or before an audience. Eleven-year-old classical cellist Nathan describes how he feels composer Camille Saint-Saens' piece "Swan."

"I think Saints-Saens was trying to put a whole bunch of feelings together, sad and happy at the same time," he said. "Lots of people say that I express the music really well. And everybody thinks that's the best part of me."

Rock guitarist Una, 11, who performs her original song about global warming, said, "Music can really influence people. And that's what I am trying to do...change the world with my music."

The six children featured in "The Music In Me" are:

Nathan, 11, from Hillsborough, Calif. – This classical cellist shares the concepts and emotions that inform his artistic interpretation of "The Swan," by Camille Saint-Saens.

Elena, 10, from Berkeley, Calif. – An accomplished flutist with a penchant for Latin jazz that connects her to a unique Latin community. "I just feel that Latin music is in my body," she said.

Guyland, 7, from Frilot Cove, La. – A zydeco accordionist, Guyland received a toy accordion from his father on his first Christmas and was able to play it by the time he turned 2. He now carries on the tradition of his late, great-grandfather, a well-known accordion player, who, according to Guyland, teaches him to play in his dreams.

Una, 11, from Portland, Ore. – A rock guitarist who believes music has the power to influence people, Una finds a voice in her own composition, called "Global Warming." In this music-video-style segment, Una sings, "Be friendly to the earth; it will be friendly back. Global warming: It's not just a prediction anymore."

Tyler, 10, from Virginia Beach, Va. – A trumpet player who performs in a brass band with his parents and two younger siblings by day, Tyler jams at night on the street with a sophisticated jazz combo. He said, "I like playing with my family. But most of all, I love playing jazz. I like jazz, because I get to improvise."

Qaasim, 8, from Brooklyn – This percussionist loves the West African djembe drum, though at times he struggles to carry the heavy equipment. Qaasim points out that he "can make music with anything, actually. Music is everywhere." He illustrates his point by tapping his drumsticks on everyday objects he finds in New York, including mailboxes, fire hydrants, benches and metal security gates, creating a symphony of percussion sounds.

Other specials in this series, "The Leopards Take Manhattan: The Little Band That Roared" and "The Music in Me: The Family Special," will debut next year.

Producer Diane Kolyer's HBO credits include the Emmy®-winning "Happy to Be Nappy and Other Stories of Me," the Emmy®-nominated "Rosie O'Donnell's Kids Are Punny" and the interstitial series "My Favorite Book." Executive producer Leslie Stifelman is music director of the Tony- and GRAMMY-winning Broadway musical "Chicago," as well as the creative force behind Symfunny Toons, Inc., a company dedicated to the development of television and interactive products for children to learn about music. Co-producer Beth Aala's HBO credits include the recent Emmy® winner "I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me."

Individual segments of "The Music In Me" include "Nathan," directed by Amy Schatz; "Elena," directed by Mark Mannucci; "Guyland," directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent; "Una," directed by Amy Schatz; "Tyler," directed by Mark Benjamin; and "Qaasim," directed by Diane Kolyer.

"The Music In Me: Children's Recitals From Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco" is produced by Diane Kolyer; executive producer, Leslie Stifelman; co-producer, Beth Aala; editor, Andrew Morreale. For HBO: supervising producer, Dolores Morris; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.