Boston-based rockers Thirteen Yards to Victory couldn't help but notice the headlines in the local newspapers and the announcements on social media sites that many arts and music education programs in their area were being cut severely. The bad economy was going to mean a poor education for so many students.
The five members of the band decided to forego the usual trappings and financial rewards that many of their peers enjoy and are releasing their EP American Dreamers on September 15, 2009, as a community service, revenue-generating project that will fund arts and music education programs across the country and in the U.S. territories. All money raised in any state, through the sale of the digital download distributed by TuneCore, will stay in each state to support youth education and enrichment in the arts.
“Music is my life. It's how I express myself to the world. I believe music is very powerful and I hope our public service commitment will inspire others to use their own talents, whether in music or not, to benefit people in the community,” said 19-year-old 13 YTV guitarist and vocalist Vinny Prezioso.
So, where did these five young men with blue collar backgrounds get the idea for their project? They were inspired in part by both President Obama's United We Serve campaign and The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. In fact, the band received written support of their efforts from Senator Kennedy in what is believed to be his last public comment on community service. In a personally written statement released two weeks before his death, Senator Kennedy wrote, “The ‘I'm an American Dreamer’ project demonstrates the band’s strong commitment to help America meet its most pressing challenges by putting their talents to work for communities across the country.”
“The support for our efforts thus far has been humbling and encouraging by the support of Kennedy, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry and other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, as well as an overwhelming response from the local business community and the national music industry,” said 22-year-old bassist Dave Rossi.
Prezioso, Rossi, and their band mates, Anthony DiPerri (20, Vocals, Keys), Thomas Iannello (21, Guitar, Vocals) and Ryan Passariello (18, Drums), are committed to ensuring that their friends and fans have the same programs they benefitted from participating in during their school years.
“As a bunch of guys who recently graduated from high school, we can't imagine not having had programs like marching band, art, or theater. We, and so many of our friends, benefitted greatly from having these kinds of programs in our schools,” said Rossi.
The band has already received the help for their "I'm an American Dreamer" project from Grammy Award-winning producer Ken Lewis, the Hard Rock Café Boston, TuneCore, JamSpot, James Pickett Photography, Highway 51 Productions, Ginkgo Consulting, Zara Clothing, Club Cafe Boston, Holland & Knight LLC, Blouin and Company Inc., the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, Saragoni & Company and the Balboni Communications Group, LLC.
"It's been incredible," Prezioso said. "Every time we ask someone to join us in our 'I'm an American Dreamer' campaign, we've gotten a yes, and then they help us make the project even bigger."