The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Rolls Into Miami

Though John Lennon once co-wrote a song about a Magical Mystery Tour, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus only goes halfway with that philosophy. While it does hope to create magic, it also seeks to take the mystery out of the artistic process.

Started by Yoko Ono Lennon 19 years ago, and dedicated to her late husband, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a mobile recording studio that drives around the country striving to educate and inspire. "It's a state of the art bus filled with gear to encourage digital media education. It travels around the country to schools and music conventions to give young students and artists the chance to make music and videos," explains the nonprofit's publicist, Taylor Nunez.

The bus will be making its first South Florida stop of the year Monday morning at St. Brendan Catholic Elementary School, where students will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in learning how to write, record, and produce original music as well as how to film the process, assisted by educators and engineers. "There [is] a crew of four people who live on the bus and teach the students how to use all the audio and video equipment," Nunez says. Hopeful that the lessons imparted on the students will inspire them, the organization will also be donating musical instruments and production gear to the school.

On Tuesday evening, anyone in Miami will have a chance to see what the bus is all about when it'll be parked outside the Betsy Hotel on South Beach. From 7 to 9 p.m. it will be open for tours and demonstrations. Afterward, in the Betsy's lobby bar, there will be a free performance by Linney, a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who is a former John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner. "She plays her own original songs and the performance will also be filmed for a documentary project they're making about her," Nunez says.

Beyond teaching the kids how to use media technology and music, one has to wonder if they might also need a lesson on the man who the bus is named after, considering John Lennon died 35 years ago. Nunez happily says that is not the case. "The staff are always surprised how many kids still know who John Lennon is."

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, outside the Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-6100; lennonbus.org.

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