Irving Park students perform Natalie Merchant’s ‘Kind and Generous’ to thank teachers

Buckley Report

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — There isn’t much Americans can all agree on these days. But, if we had to bet, we’d say the one thing could be is that it’s been quite a year.

For Cynthia McKee and her staff, that’s an understatement.

McKee is the principal at Irving Park Elementary in Greensboro and she’s seen what her faculty have had to fight through with the pandemic.

“Whether you’re a veteran teacher or a first-year teacher, you’re flying by the seat of your pants, you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day,” McKee said.

Jonathan Drye gets it — though it’s far from his first year. Drye is an 18-year veteran music teacher at Irving Park so he’s long past mincing words.

“Teachers are not appreciated the way they should be and I feel this is going to bring a little bit more light to what we do,” Drye said.

Well, they are by Adam Paul.

Paul’s company, 7 Cinematics, is perhaps the world’s premier streamer of live music events — he’s done the streaming for many of the top names in the industry, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Zac Brown Band, The Avett Brothers and Post Malone.

And his kids happen to go to Irving Park Elementary, so Paul had an idea: Get in touch with music legend Natalie Merchant (former lead singer for 10,000 Maniacs before her stellar solo career) and see if they could “borrow” her song she titled “Kind and Generous.” You probably call it, “The Thank You Song.”

Merchant was more than happy to do it so Drye did his own arrangement and Paul recorded the entire school taking turns singing the song to the teachers and edited it for streaming on Teacher Appreciation Day on May 4.

For Drye, it was a wonderful music project for his students.

“We were not able to do our big play with fourth and fifth grade last year, which is how we showcase to the community and say, ‘Hey, look what we’re doing here.’ So, now, I get to do it with the whole school,” Drye said.

And McKee sees it as another great connection to the students she loves.

“Music brings alive, everyone,” McKee said. “And it’s all different generations, you know? This is not [the students’] generation, this song we’re singing. But if you watch them, it brings them alive and they’re having the best time.”

See them perform the song in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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