HIGHLAND PARK – Chicago Jazz Legend Ramsey Lewis sings out against bullying in a public service announcement with middle school students from Highland Park. The “We Stand Together” campaign was produced in June by Ravinia Festival, where Lewis is artistic director of jazz.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering appears in the campaign as well. She spoke briefly about it at the city’s June 13 City Council meeting. “Through community and countrywide discussions and research, we quickly learned that bullying impacts young children through seniors across all socioeconomic groups. Creativity and commitment will help us to achieve our goal,” she said.
After the mayor’s address, the 30-second “We Stand Together” anti-bullying campaign was presented at the meeting.
The TV spot features Lewis playing his 1965 hit, the “In-crowd,” while several middle-school students gather around the piano.
Lewis tells the children, “I thought classical music was going to be my calling, but in that day and time, there were no opportunities, because African-Americans couldn’t be on stage – like this.”
He sends a clear message about not letting anyone feel like an outsider, as he and Mayor Rotering encourage everyone to “stand together against bullying”
After the video presentation, Nick Pullia, director of communications for Ravinia, spoke about Lewis’ upcoming performance at Ravinia.
“In his long-deferred dream come true, Ramsey will play classical music and make his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia on August 8, not only playing as a piano soloist, but presenting the world preview of his own new piece commissioned by Ravinia, the Concerto for Jazz Trio and Orchestra,” said Pullia.
Pullia added, “Ramsey is a great supporter of REACH*TEACH* PLAY programs that help bring music to underfunded schools of CPS and Lake County.”
The “We Stand Together” anti-bullying campaign airs on WCIU, WGN and WTTW now through August.