By Chace Blackburn, Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia
On May 18, Hanover High received a surprise visit from the famous rock band, REO Speedwagon. The band saw the school’s video made to welcome the new superintendent, Jamelle Wilson, which featured the band’s song “Roll with the Changes.” Kevin Cronin, the lead singer, was so moved by the school’s video, (produced in August 2011) that it brought him to tears. When the band realized they would soon be touring in Virginia, they deciding on making an impromptu stop at the site of the video. CHECK OUT VIDEO – CLICK ON ARROW BELOW THE STORY
The band (which formed in 1967 at the University of Illinois), was more than happy to be at our school. The band is comprised of Neil Daughtry (keyboards), Kevin Cronin (singer/guitarist), Bruce Hall (bass/vocalist), Dave Amato (guitar), and their newest member, Bryan Hitt.
To get things “rolling,” TV99 posed a few questions (written by the audience) to the band members.
When asked what their most memorable moment as a band was, Cronin replied “That’s a good question. We have had so many. Our music has allowed us to be play venues such as the Houston Astrodome and Madison Square Garden. We’ve met several US Presidents, and have even traveled with Clinton in the 1996 election, which was a huge honor. One of our songs was even performed on Broadway. So all of those things, as a collection have been awesome. Including moments like this.”
When asked about the formation of the band, Cronin was quick to answer: “We got the music bug in high school. So to all of you students, high school dreams can come true” he said. We are still doing the same thing we did in high school, and have never wanted to stop. You never know, you may just be the one whose dreams come true.”
The biggest influence on the band was definitely the Beatles. Daughtry (one of the founding fathers of the band) told the audience about what it was like to be a young person during the reign of the Beatles.
“When the Beatles came to America, we were your age. And they were the coolest people you’d ever seen. Their sound was so unique. When you’re young, the music and things you experience are what influence you” Daughtry said.
“Music isn’t so necessarily different. The inspiration process is, and will always be the same. But the technology behind music has changed a lot. now they have so many tools to produce music and make videos. Such as the tools your school used for production, said Cronin.
Sadly, the band had to leave to get on the road for their show in northern Virginia that night. But not before the band imparted some words of wisdom.
Cronin put his two cents in on the topic of music.
“Music makes sense of the nonsensical. No matter how music changes, a good song always needs that human spirit behind it. that passion can be sensed. Music is essentially trying to relate, but in the form of notes and lyrics,” he said.
As the band departed from the school, to go on to their huge arena-filling concerts, everyone felt the sense of their influence. And for just an hour or two, in the school auditorium, our school was closer.