LAKE PLACID - Staff at North Country School are lauding the recent performance of a professional touring musician and his positive impact on students there.
The boarding and day school for grades 4-9 hosted singer/songwriter Jared Campbell at its 200-acre campus Dec. 9.
Campbell, a 25-year-old Binghamton native, has toured the country both as a solo and group musical performer. He's been featured on MTV's "Real World" and increasingly visits schools and universities delivering an interactive live concert called The Blue Project.
Through The Blue Project, Campbell aims to inspire reflection, understanding, and awareness of the importance of personal and family relationships through the power of music.
"Jared's message is unabashedly upbeat," said NCS school counselor Lauren McGovern, who worked with her music department colleague John Doan to arrange for Campbell's visit. "Jared encourages students to stay true to themselves, keep focused on their dreams, embrace differences, and grow in healthy and positive ways, undeterred by life's setbacks and heartbreak."
Performing his original songs on acoustic guitar in front of an audience of students and teachers, Campbell engaged students directly, soliciting their hand clapping, finger snapping, and knee slapping as accompaniment to his songs and storytelling.
After the concert, Campbell spoke with a group of interested students for nearly an hour-about life, music, and the decisions everyone has to face. When the conversation ended, students rushed to grab their guitars, clearly inspired by Campbell's words.
"He's pretty genuine and sincere," said Doan about Jared's music and his interactions with students. "Our kids responded well to that kind of authenticity."
As if to confirm Doan's observation, a six grader noted that "Jared Campbell seemed like a real person, not someone caught up in their own fame." A ninth grader described a friend being moved to tears by Campbell's song "In Your Heart," about the loss of a loved one.
"John Doan and I were looking to bring a visiting artist to NCS to engage the entire community through music and stories," said McGovern. "Jared's ability to connect with students of all ages-from the youngest members of the audience, our fourth graders, all the way up to our ninth-grade class-with humor, insight, and passion met that goal and more."