For those of you considering taking your own students to one of his concerts (which you can host at your own school or attend at another school in your area), I wanted to give you a quick rundown of the concert and my final "report card".
Just to give you some background, the cost for the concert was $15 per student, which did include a small cost for the bus that would take us on the 20 minute drive to a neighboring school that was hosting the concert. The money needed to be in and the tickets paid for 30 days in advance. You were seated according to how quickly you paid, so the quicker you paid, the better seats you got. We were front and center, but many of the seating sections were very far away which would have taken away from the experience a bit.
The concert begins with a few original Ennio Emmanuel songs. Many schools teach the songs to students ahead of time, which does seem to increase the enjoyment of the concert for the kids. In fact, there were many students from other schools that had made Ennio T-shirts and knew all the words to the songs. I did not teach my students the songs ahead of time as we just did not have that kind of time, but that's okay too. There is a video presentation that plays during the concert that has images as well as the lyrics to the songs. This allows students who don't know the words to still sing along and at the same time see the words. At many points during the concert, students left their assigned seating section to gather in the aisles and near the stage. While at first this made me a little nervous, it was really okay, and made the experience more like a real rock concert that they might attend.
There were several points in the concert where there was some sort of audience participation component. Students are invited onto the stage and Ennio will sing to them. At another point, students were invited on the stage to play instruments. There was even a young man (a student) that was allowed to get up on stage and share the struggle that his family had recently been through and Ennio followed with a nice, positive message of cultural diversity and tolerance. Ennio also stopped to talk about his charities that help Honduras and Haiti. Finally, towards the end of the concert, the teachers were all invited on the stage for a nice "thank you" and hug / cheek kiss from Ennio.
As the students are dismissed from the concert, they are directed to an area where they can purchase T-shirts, CD's, get autographs, and take photos with Ennio. My students chose not to stay for this part since by the time our school was dismissed the line was incredibly long.
Ennio himself gets an "A". He had a wonderful personality, obviously cares about kids/people, is upbeat, and seemed credible in the student's eyes. He also was working his butt off.
The value of the concert itself gets a "C". I thought it was a bit pricey for only a 90 minute program. There was an autograph session too, but attending it was unrealistic due to the massive numbers of attendees at the concert.
Grade level appropriateness gets a "C". These concerts are billed for secondary schools, but quite honestly, it is more appropriate for a middle school level than high school. Even my 9th graders were not "fooled" by Ennio. They set up the concert and all the publicity as if he is some big star, but it's pretty clear he is no Enrique Iglesias. That being said, I think that younger students (7th, 8th grade) really seemed to buy into it and thus enjoyed it more than the older kids did. It is also more geared towards females as Ennio's main attraction (besides his singing) is his younger, handsome look. There were many young girls that were acting as they do for the latest greatest boy band. You could tell that some of the boys felt a bit awkward as a result.
The Spanish language component gets a "B". Although all of the songs are in Spanish, there is not a lot of teaching or discussing of what the lyrics of the songs mean. The website lists several things that students are supposed to learn during the program, but most of them are really a stretch. Still, there is some value in the fun, culture, and enjoyment of the concert itself which is why I still give it a "B".
If you teach younger students and have some time in class to teach about the songs, this might be worth the time and money. If you teach older students, pass the concert up in favor of bringing in more popular music lessons into your classroom.
For some music lesson ideas, CLICK HERE.