National activation saw consumer and artist participation from Third Eye Blind, City & Colour, Silversun Pickups, Guster, Frank Turner, and many more
Toyota and VH1 Save The Music executives presented the $40,000 grant alongside a high-spirited performance by Chicago-bred urban gospel singer Sir the Baptist that brought the entire auditorium of students and teachers to their feet
Chicago, Nov. 7, 2016 — Toyota and VH1 Save The Music’s national music festival activation and social media campaign #ToyotaGiving came to a close yesterday as Toyota presented three Chicago area schools each with $10,000 grants that will provide musical instruments and equipment to each school.
At an energetic school-wide assembly held at John Spry Community Elementary School on Thursday, November 3, Tyler McBride, Engagement Marketing Manager at Toyota, and Chiho Feindler, Senior Director of Programs and Policy at VH1 Save The Music, awarded the grants to the three participating schools – John Spry Community, Goudy Technology Academy, and Daniel Boone Elementary. John Spry’s Assistant Principal Pablo Guzman and Chicago Public Schools’ Director of Arts Education Evan Plummer were also on-hand to present the grant and spoke to the importance of music education in Chicago’s public schools. Chicago local and self-proclaimed “Ghetto Gospel” singer Sir the Baptist surprised the students with a soulful performance of his track “What We Got,” which brought the entire auditorium to their feet. He also invited thirty music students from all three schools up to the stage to perform a rousing rendition of “Wake Up.” Several students performed with his band, adding elements of violin, cello, and drums to the mix, while others stomped and sang along with Sir to the chorus: “We gotta wake up, we can change the world.”
The grant was achieved through an interactive festival activation and social media campaign implemented at music festivals nationwide, including Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, Stagecoach, Afropunk, Ruido Fest, Firefly Music Festival, and Country 500. The activation engaged with festivalgoers and artists through interactive large-scale pointillism art pieces, unique to each festival and built using plexiglass and multicolored globes. Festivalgoers and artists were invited to write or draw their answer to the important question – “What Does Music Mean to You?” – on the globes, which were then added to the art piece. As each festival progressed, the mural evolved as it slowly filled up with hand drawn pieces. By the end of the festival weekend, the art was displayed for festivalgoers to check out their handiwork, complete with hundreds of personalized messages speaking to the importance of music. Artists who participated in the activation had the below to say:
"Music means I am not alone" – Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins
“Music is Everything” – City & Colour’s Dallas Green
“Music is how we connect. Music is how we express ourselves” – G-Eazy
With the eight festival run complete, Toyota was able to fulfill a $40,000 donation to VH1 Save The Music, which was divvied up to fulfill three Keys + Kids grants at three deserving Chicago schools. Each Keys + Kids grant consists of $10,000 worth of musical instruments; a Casio Celviano Grand Hybrid GP-500 Piano and 3 Casio WK-7600 Music Workstations. VH1 Save The Music established the Keys + Kids grant in response to the growing need for high-quality, functional pianos, and to provide even more students with a safe and inclusive community to learn through the arts.
“Altruism is at the forefront of our brand, so we’re thrilled to partner with VH1 Save The Music to support music education across the country,” said Steve Appelbaum, national engagement marketing manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Cultivating curiosity and creativity is so integral to our nation’s progress and VH1 Save The Music is the perfect partner to help Toyota invest in the quality of education across the country.”
“We are gearing up to celebrate 20 years at VH1 Save The Music and partners like Toyota have helped significantly with our mission to ensure music is a part of every child’s complete education,” says Henry Donahue, executive director of VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be in these communities and that our work over the summer has brought instruments and music back to these schools.”
ABOUT SIR THE BAPTIST
Sir the Baptist, hip-hop’s holistic lyricist, is proving himself to be a chaplain of the modern rap culture. He’s an internationally known artist signed to Atlantic Records, BET award nominated and acknowledged by Forbes, Jay Z, Billboard, CNN, Late Night with Seth Meyers, BBC Radio 1, NPR, The Grammys and many others for his trailblazing cause of “Healing Hip Hop.” As a second generation cultural minister, growing up in historically rich Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago, the idea of cleansing the culture has be a path Sir has been set out on since birth. CNN states that Sir is achieving this through a “balance between religion and life”. By using the power of hip hop’s influence, The Baptist records compelling stories about real people as modern parables to strip away the shame and embarrassment that too often keep people from seeking help. He delivers that same message in an album format, with his upcoming release, PK: Preacher’s Kid. The congregation is taking on an emotional rollercoaster as Sir weaves his way through tales of honesty, love, joy, pain, truth and enlightenment; listeners are left with ideas of hope and the possibility of change. Sir isn’t just a recording artist, he’s also the author of The Travelogue of a Visionary and is frequently called upon for his opinion on current events by major national and international news outlets. In his tireless advocacy for humanity, his urban church and charitable organization (Tymple and DeedPin respectively) have brought awareness, funding and care to countless foundations and over 100,000 music festival goers in the summer of 2016 alone at festivals such as Lollapolooza, Made in America and more. Sir was also honored by the Mayor of Chicago for his contribution to HIV/AIDS awareness. After over 3 million plays, 2 major films and 1 album, Sir the Baptist is well aware that there’s so much more work to be done.
ABOUT VH1 SAVE THE MUSIC FOUNDATION
The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. Founded in 1997, VH1 Save The Music was the first organization in existence dedicated to restoring music programs in America's schools. For nearly 20 years, the foundation has donated over $53 million worth of new musical instruments to 2,024 public schools in 247 school districts around the country– impacting the lives of more than 3 million public school students. Learn about the foundation’s Play It Forward campaign in celebration of its 20th anniversary here: on.vh1.com/playitforward.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to advancing mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve produced more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We share company resources and extensive know-how to support non-profits to help expand their ability to assist more people move more places. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.