In a music class at Marie Curie Middle School in New York City on Thursday, students were sitting on their hands to keep still. Grammy award-winning singer Josh Groban was right next to them, but students were practicing their vocal scales with the quiet earnestness of seasoned musicians.
"It was really a lot of fun to sing with them and see how well behaved they were," Groban told HuffPost, then laughed. "I found out later that the teacher told them not to get too excited."
Groban visited the school to kick off Bing's "Our School Needs", a campaign in which students, teachers and parents can submit a letter, pictures or a video asking Bing to fulfill their school's wish list.
In conjunction with Bing, Groban donated a variety of new instruments for the school's orchestra and music students. The school's tight budget has prevented the purchase of new instruments. Up to four students at a time were sharing flutes that were decades old.
"I got a special performance from their orchestra," Groban said. "They played me Michael Jackson's "Thriller." With the instruments they already have, to hear them play so beautifully, I can only imagine what they'll do with the new ones."
Groban is a passionate advocate for arts education and has dedicated much of the resources in his own nonprofit, The Josh Groban Foundation to promoting school arts programs.
"My vision is to express to people who have a stigma against arts education, who feel like it's a luxury or expendable, that it's a necessity like math and science. It not only creates millions of jobs for people but also changes kids' lives when they're on the fence from one life path to another," he explained.
Groban said he hopes to address Congress and others on the issue of arts education and plans to expand his nonprofit's involvement with the issue in the near future.
"As somebody who has been able to have an arts education and live out so many of my dreams," he said, "I view it as a duty and something I'm extremely excited about."
To enter your school to win supplies from Bing, go to the "Our School Needs" website.
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