Michael Greene Grammy Speech 2000
Santana swept the major categories in the 2000 Grammy Awards and an unknown singer named Christina Aguilara beat out a very popular Brittany Spears for Best New Artist.
The Grammy All American High School Jazz Bands, Grammy in the Schools and our National Coalition for Music Education were all in full furl and arts education remained one of my obsessions! In that regard I decided that we needed to do something on the telecast to emotionally, visually and viscerally connect these education imperatives with the Grammy audience. To that end we conducted a national search for the best and brightest young performers we could find with the idea that we would showcase them during my speech segment to drive the inspirational performance message of kids and music like a dagger into the viewer’s hearts and minds!
Tapes and DVD’s came in from all across the country and we assembled an inspired panel of judges to select the final 5 kids. That process reminded all of us that our mission to keep music in the schools needed to remain at the top of our Academy agenda! Finally, when the selections were made I went to my dear friend and inspired kick-ass arranger Patrick Williams to work with the kids on learning the charts and to scare away all the Grammy telecast butterflies. Pat and I chose the Thelonious Monk tune “Straight with no Chaser” for the kids to play. Matt Brewer from Albuquerque, N. M. was our bassist; Julian Lodge from Santa Rosa, California was on guitar; Tony Royster Jr. from Hinesville, Georgia was our drummer; Eldar Djangirov from Kansas City, Mo. was on piano and Rachael Lee from Scarsdale, N.Y, on violin. Enjoy!!!
Narrator: Ladies and Gentleman the President of the recording academy, Michael Greene.
Michael Greene: Good evening. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. You know this is the time in the evening that I usually give my little speech. Well tonight you are in luck because I have invited some of my very special friends to do my talking for me.
Michael Greene walks around to each child, they say their name, age, where they are from.
“My name is Matt Brewer, I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
Michael Greene: “Hey Matt.”
“Hi, my name is Julian Lage. I am 12 years old from Santa Rosa, California.”
“My name is Tony Royster Jr., I am 15 years old from Hinesville, Georgia.”
Michael Greene: Hinesville, Georgia, that’s close to Atlanta.
“My name is Eldar Djangirov , I am 13 years old from Kansas City”
“Hi, my name is Rachel Lee, I am 11 years old, from Scarsdale, New York”
Michael Greene: One, Two, Three, Four. (above introduced children continue to play music)
Michael Greene: Give it up, give it up.
This is what it is all about folks, right here. Thank you sir.
Music is a magical gift. Music is a magical gift, which we must nourish and cultivate in our children, especially now as scientific evidence proves that an education which includes the arts, makes a better math and science student, enhances spatial intelligence in newborns. And let’s not forget that the arts are a compelling solution to teen violence, they are certainly not the cause of it. Tonight we urge everybody, in this time of prosperity, especially you hi-tech and dot.com billionaires, to join with the Recording Academy, the arts endowments, educators, music therapists, and our federal government, to usher in a new age of cultural philanthropy. One more time for the kids.