Keepin' It Cool by Jeff Winbush
The Seduction by Dave NathanMore articles about Nick Colionne
World Culture Music
Keepin' It Cool
Colionne started mentoring kids (in Kindergarten through eighth grade) in an effort to raise money for a local Chicago area school. "It all started when I was playing at a club in Elgin, and the Principal of the school was there." The Principal asked Colionne if he would consider performing at a fund-raiser to benefit the school. "I told her, 'Sure, I'll be glad to do that.' And I told her that I'd like to come by and meet the kids. First I did a seminar in the auditorium, and all the kids came down. And I just kind of fell in love with the kids, and vice versa I guess, because the next week the kids were sending me messages." When the school year ended, the students invited Colionne to attend their graduation ceremony. "I went back to watch the class graduate, and then I decided that I wanted to be a part of these kids' lives, and do what I can to help them out."
The following school year, Colionne committed to mentoring the children every other week. "We started putting talent shows togetherthe Easter pageant and Christmas shows, Christmas caroling at the senior citizens' home for those that are shut in or don't have anybody. It's just something that's really close to my heart.
"The music program was very small at the school and then was eventually eliminated altogether. I was bringing a lot of computer equipment to the school and synthesizers and things, to show the kids how it was done in the music business. And I started having the eighth grade classes write their own graduation songs. I taught them a lot about what I dojazz. And we did some rock stuff, showed them how to create music and how to use today's technology using sequencers and computers, and how to put together a song."
Colionne has become more than merely a music mentor to some of the children. He has in some cases taken on the significance of a parent. "There are kids who need a father figure, so I'm there for them tooto talk to, to call when they've got a problem. And I try to help them work it out and keep them on the straight and narrow, not only in music but in life in general."
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