Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It Takes a Springsteen Fan to Understand

If you are around me much, especially if you are a student in my classes, you know that I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. I love his music. I draw a lot of strength from his lyrics which I find in many respects to be deeply theological in some places. He is currently touring to promote his new album "Magic."

I and my oldest daughter Hannah are making the trek Friday to Atlanta to see Bruce at Phillips Arena. I suppose that I am just about as excited to be taking her to her first Springsteen show as I am attending the show myself. My wife and I will then be seeing him in Greensboro on Monday evening. I hope to see him at least once more over the summer or next fall. Friday night will be my 9th concert with Bruce over the last 20 years, not nearly as much as other die-hard fans who boast of hundreds of shows, but nevertheless a good number. I am at least not a "newbie" to his music and shows and with only a few exceptions, can sing the lyrics to most of the songs that I will hear. So, it portends to be a fun weekend.

I found this article today which really caught my attention. It shows the extent that a "true fan" will go to to spread the message of the quality of Bruce's music and concerts. Enjoy!

Style, simile and ... Springsteen?
Teacher ties in academics, fun with middle school trip to concert
By Ragan Robinson
Contact me
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Computer teacher Mike Telesca (center) bought 35 tickets (and had 15 donated) for students to see Bruce Springsteen in concert in Greensboro. To tie it in with academics, they're having three seminars to talk about language arts and Springsteen songs. ROBERT C. REED (RECORD PHOTOGRAPHER)

GRANITE FALLS - Mike Telesca might be the computer teacher at Granite Falls Middle School, but in his classroom, Bruce Springsteen is still The Boss.
Telesca plays Springsteen for background music in class. Sometimes he sings along in a gravelly Connecticut accent that’s close enough to a New Jersey brogue, at least in Caldwell County, to make his principal introduce him as a native of Springsteen’s home state.
Once, when he was at Catawba Valley High School, he taught an entire thematic unit on his favorite musician, using the songs for language arts, calculating stage square footage and area for math, figuring out the cardiovascular benefits of running around as much as Springsteen does in concert.
Telesca, who will tell you he’s going to fib about his age before he fibs about it, has seen hundreds of Bruce’s shows. His book of ticket stubs is a good 5 inches thick. He will be in Atlanta for a concert Friday, Charlotte on Sunday and Virginia on Wednesday. He would’ve gone to two shows in Florida if the death of longtime E Street Band member Danny Federici hadn’t postponed them.
To put it plainly - something his rock idol never does - Telesca loves The Boss.
He loves him so much that this year, he decided his kids needed to see a show. And they needed to see one so much that Telesca shelled out about $3,000 to buy 35 tickets before Springsteen’s management company kicked in 15 or so more. Add Greensboro to that concert list.
Mr. T, to use the student vernacular, doesn’t want to talk about the money. He all but jumps out of his chair talking about the experience his students will get.
“People ask, “How can you justify it?’” he says. “Well, the goal of art is to make you think. There is no artist of our generation who makes you think and examine your beliefs more than Springsteen.”
Then there’s the fact that a lot of his kids never get out of Caldwell County, Telesca says. He wants to show them something new, something bigger than Granite Falls.
He’s not so blinded by Springsteen’s light he can’t see that reasoning might not fly. To supplement, he and English teacher Kim “he’d better play Thunder Road” Story are holding after-school and Saturday “Socratic discussions” on the man and his music this week. They’ll talk about Springsteen’s cultural significance and use his songs for lessons on expressive language.
By the time the show starts Monday night, they’ll have a few Springsteen-themed homework assignments under their belts. They went home Tuesday looking for personification, metaphor and simile in the lyrics.
Students had to do some extra work for the privilege of going on the world’s coolest field trip. Telesca had them write letters explaining why they are deserving.
Their answers are classic middle-school genius.
“Kids once in our life need to have fun,” wrote seventh-grader Erica Haas. “We cannot be treated like animals all the time.”
From eighth-grader Jarret Walker: “I share the same love that you share, the love of rock.”
Eighth-grader Austin Sigler’s mom is a fan and the show is on her birthday. He figures his getting to go would be a great present for her.
And sixth-grader Eric Smith put a needle in his forever young teacher’s side with this one: “My nana is one of his fans and she never got to go to one of his concerts.”

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