Daily Archives: April 1, 2012

WHEN COMMERCE MEETS ART, NICELY

How did the Chrysler Corporation enter my college classroom?  It was an unexpected visit, because I teach English, not business, and it happened after the class meeting was over.  But the automative corporation was chaperoned by the Ink Spots, so I feel good about it.

I have an especially nice group of students in an Honors class twice a week early in the morning.  And I’ve had conversations with some of them after class — the subjects being literature and music.  At some point I must have said something about my deep immersion in “older” music and thought nothing of it. 

Last week, one of my very personable, insightful students said, “Professor, I heard the Ink Spots perform WHISPERING GRASS on a Chrysler commercial, and I wanted to hear more of them.  I have to look them up on YouTube — I heard a cover of THE GYPSY by Frank Sinatra . . . ” 

I was astonished and delighted, and told the young man about my Facebook friend Austin Casey, who has a page devoted to the Ink Spots and Bill Kenny — http://www.facebook.com/#!/Mr.InkSpot — and a YouTube channel that’s pointed in the same direction.  One sweet bit of evidence is this:

If a major American corporation is using beautiful music to sell its cars, I feel more kindly towards them: one more young person now knows about the Ink Spots.  (And, being a hopeless improver, I told him about the Spirits of Rhythm on YouTube: perhaps he’ll come back in April and happily tell me about Leo Watson.  Youth wants to know!)

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