As British novelist Margaret Drabble says, “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

In a clear demonstration of this hopeful spirit, student band members at Hamburg High School in suburban Buffalo, New York, put together a project to transcend their initial disappointment at missing out on an international performance opportunity.

For the past four years, the Hamburg band had been participating in an annual tour of Japan. This year’s class was scheduled to perform at a jazz festival in Kanazawa, but plans of that sort have understandably been put on indefinite hold in light of the global pandemic.

Uniting with their band director, Lawrence Dubill, however, they came up with a project they could all participate in, which tapped many facets of their creativity, and resulted in a video performance of Herbie Hancock’s classic tune “Watermelon Man.”

As this story seems to suggest, the idea to promote culture and education while nurturing the power of the arts to nurture youth and foster peace, may indeed have a life of its own.

Upon viewing the video, Herbie Hancock sent the following message:

“Wow! What a superb performance!! I was thoroughly impressed. As I’m sure everyone who views this will agree—this will inspire and encourage so many people to see these talented young musicians offering their heartfelt performance from their individual homes as a virtual gift to the world. Congratulations!!”

(You can read in more detail here about the fascinating story of how it was all put together.)