Updated July 24, 2020
Peter Meechan’s melodious “Song of Hope” filled the homes and hearts of six young enthusiastic trumpeters when they recorded themselves playing their brass instruments before a camera. John Eisenberg of Bayville, Matias Buschfrers of Glenwood Landing, Lucas Ginestra and Braden Cosgrove from Locust Valley, Sara Nearenberg of Upper Brookville, and Teagan Ryniker of Sea Cliff were given a lifetime opportunity to remotely perform in the film company, Orange Robot, “World Band” project and documentary called “A Song for Hope” by their music instructor Nick Montello.
“I have been involved in music education in well over 50 years and I am a strong believer in students expressing themselves creatively,” said Mondello. “It is great for these students to see their performances being integrated with literally world class musicians.”
“A Song for Hope,” memorializes the life of Ryan Anthony, the illustrious principal trumpeter of the Dallas Symphony and founder of the nonprofit organization, Cancer Blows, who was diagnosed with the terminal blood cancer Multiple Myeloma in 2012. He died on June 23, at the age of 51, leaving behind his two children, a wife and a world of fans who looked up to him for inspiration. The release of the documentary will potentially be later this summer.
However, Anthony, who was involved in production, was able before he died to see the “World Band,” a compilation of audio and video of Meechan’s “Song of Hope” recorded by about 1,400 musicians around the world including Mondello’s six students. “World Band” was recently released Thursday, July 23, on YouTube by Cancer Blows.
Meechan’s “Song of Hope” was specifically written for his dear friend Anthony back in 2015. According to Peter Meechan’s website, after hearing the song, Anthony changed the heart-wrenching composition ending to a more uplifting endnote and titling it “Song of Hope.”
Ten-year-old Ryniker was musically enlightened by the song. “Originally, I thought it was a song that my teacher wanted me to play but then I learned it was for the movie,” he said. “I was surprised because I thought I was too young to be doing any of this stuff. It makes me feel like I don’t have to be really old and that I can do it at any age.”
Each performers’ love for the trumpet and music was expressed in the making of this film. “I picked it up in second or third grade and I kind of just stuck with it because I really like playing the trumpet,” Buschfrers, 15, said.
“It is in my opinion an easy instrument to play because it only had three valves,” Cosgrove, 11, said. “I like playing all kinds of music.”
Mondello recognized his students’ passion and gave them a chance to publicly perform their skills, since NYSSMA, New York’s school music festival, was cancelled for the spring due to the coronavirus. “Every one of the students just were so thrilled to participate,” Mondello said.
Nearenberg, 12, was given a chance to perform with professional trumpeters like her grandfather. “Sara has always been interested in sociable and charitable causes, so it appealed to her,” said her father, Mark Nearenberg. “She is quite good, but my father was a professional trumpeter while he was still in his teens and I think that appealed to her. She’s playing one of his trumpets.”
Parents like Michele Eisenberg, mother of 11-year-old Eisenberg, saw “Song for Hope” as a way for her son to create connections. “Our experience with “Song for Hope” was wonderful and it was especially nice to feel connected to other musicians during the quarantine when everyone felt so isolated,” Michele said.
Ginestra’s mother, Andrea Urioste Ginestra said she felt the significance of the project from the beginning for her ten-year-old son. “This was an opportunity to be a part of something together and a way to bring the community together,” Andrea said. “Trying to explain this to a 10-year-old is difficult but I think he loves the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than just his local neighborhood and just his local community and feel like he is helping in some way.”