Minor speaking to the student body
A 1974 graduate of Carver Middle School, Rickey Minor returns with an inspirational message for the music students.
March is Music in Our Schools Month, and Carver Middle School brought in one of their most famous alumnus in the musical field to talk to the sixth graders who are in their music program.
Lucky for those students, none other than famed music director Rickey Minor graduated from Carver Middle School in 1974, and he was very excited to return to the school for the first time since he walked the stage 38 years ago.
“(The school) looks a little different, but it feels the same,” an excited Minor said. “The buildings are still in the same place, and I just remember all the trouble I used to get into here. People who are in the arts just have a different kind of energy, so I couldn’t sit still to save my life.”
Minor was born in Monroe, Louisiana, and he moved to Los Angeles when he was nine years old. He can relate to the students of Carver Middle School because he grew up on 20th Street and Central Ave. He also lived on 54th Street and Hooper, and in the Jordan Downs, on 102nd Street and Grape Street.
Minor was a gifted student at Carver Middle School, where he took a lot of AP classes. He also gravitated to music during that time, as he and a few friends formed a singing group.
“This is where I got the music bug, when I was in the 8th grade,” Minor said. “We were in the talent shows and my band won. I wasn’t into playing at the time, I was just in a singing group and we won the talent show. Everybody was screaming for us and I was like ‘I like this!’ It was good times.”
Minor’s band decided that they needed to learn how to play instruments, and since he sang base in the group, he leaned how to play the base guitar.
After Carver, Minor attended Jefferson High School, and he earned a scholarship to UCLA, where he was a math major. But music was his true calling, so he decided to take that path instead.
It was a great choice for Minor, who helped a young Whitney Houston become a star while he was making a name for himself. He went on to direct numerous superstar tours, including Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Christiania Aguilera, and he also was the music director for the Grammy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, the Super Bowl, and American Idol.
Currently Minor is the bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Minor had a great message for the middle school children at Carver.
“What’s most important was that I chose music, and I chose that as a path,” Minor said. “But my goal here today is to encourage and inspire these kids to understand that it is not the parents’ responsibility, their life is their responsibility. The sooner that they know that, all the decisions will lie on them. They ought to make every decision about where they go to school, about who their friends are, about what career they choose. It’s a big responsibility.”
Minor stressed that succeeding in life, whether it be music, math, or sports, that it is all about hard work and taking the time to become great.
This assembly did not only feature Minor talking to the students. The Carver Middle School band played some songs for Minor, and he hopped in on the bass and played right along with them.
Minor had one other important message for the students.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you’re going, and it’s up to you to get there,” Minor said.
Music in Our Schools Month is a nationwide program which was created by the National Association for Music Education, which believes that music programs nationwide are in danger because state and local legislators are attempting to make up for funding shortfalls in this difficult economy by cutting education budgets, which can place school music at risk.
Carver Middle Schools sees a correlation between music and academics, which is why they are building their music program.
“We want to promote our music program and get our children enthusiastic about getting involved in music,” Principal Luz Cotto said. “We truly believe in the performing arts as a vehicle to academic achievement.”