As time goes by, I realize that the evolution of a project is one of the most powerful things to experience in this work of mine. An idea develops and shifts as it is shaped by both internal and external forces. So it's been with FOR LENNY, which began as a tribute to the American vision of Leonard Bernstein, and has become an vehicle for me to further his vision - his belief that music has real power to heal, connect and strengthen us in times of crisis or tragedy.
LB acted on that vision, fiercely and boldly, throughout his life. He directed his music toward social justice, dedicated it towards shining light and giving hope.
And now here we are, faced again with tragedy. Just weeks ago, students in Parkland, FL were massacred at school. And as I travel around the country bringing Bernstein's music to hundreds of students in American schools, I find kids who are sad and scared and angry. We talk about ending violence, and we sing Bernstein's Somewhere together. We talk about the idea of "A Place For Us" - where there is peace and quiet and open air, a new way of living, a way of forgiving. The kids feel these words, and respond, in their own words and pictures. For so many of them, A Place For Us is simple - just a safe home where they can live, a safe school where they can learn, and a safe street where they can play.
On March 24, I'll be in Los Angeles, leading a group of young musicians in a performance of Somewhere on the steps of City Hall, at the March For Our Lives to demand that the lives and safety of young people become a priority, and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. I hope that our voices and Bernstein's music will join the voices of young people in cities and towns all over this country, bringing change. Please join us if you're marching.