The rumors are true. On Thursday, September 21st, Imagine Dragons did indeed make an appearance at our very own Clark High School. Shortly before performing at the world-renowned Life is Beautiful festival in Downtown Las Vegas from September 22 through 24, this band of locals-turned-rockstars came to Clark to present the performing arts department with generous funds for music education.
The aptly titled “Save the Music” grant was subsequently also shared with Robison Middle School and Cashman Middle School. The grant is a part of the Toyota and VH1 Save the Music Foundation’s joint #ToyotaGiving campaign; Toyota and Save the Music have worked together to donate over $700,000 to music education programs nationwide over the past two years. In support of this initiative for the resurgence of music education, the Grammy-winning band put on quite a show.
The performance began with speeches from Mrs. Pendleton, VH1 Save the Music Foundation Executive Director Henry Donahue, CCSD superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, Toyota Engagement and Marketing Director Tyler McBride, and Life is Beautiful CEO Justin Weniger.
“We believe that every kid in America has the right … to have music, and art, and beauty in their school, in their community,” said Donahue.
The crowd was abuzz with excitement and the alluring air of fame permeated the everyday high school atmosphere. As everyone got settled, Clark’s own orchestra played the opening number, performing their own rendition of the Imagine Dragons’ most famous song, Radioactive.
Then came the moment of truth. As the band themselves took the stage, they performed a four-song repertoire: the acoustic versions of Believer, It’s Time, Whatever It Takes, and Radioactive. With no sound effects and studio touch-ups, the songs were beautiful, despite the minimalism of their untouched vocals and instrumentals.
After the performance, Bonanza High School graduate and Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds spoke about our generation’s culture of acceptance, connecting to the audience in a way that was unlike that of a celebrity to fans, but rather that of one individual to another. Four hundred lucky students were truly starstuck that day.
Later that weekend, the Life is Beautiful Festival raged on throughout Las Vegas. With artists from Chance the Rapper to HAIM, the city celebrated a wide variety music styles over the course of three music-filled nights. Artwork and culinary demonstrations brought further celebration of culture to the Las Vegas community as well.
Just as Dan Reynolds pushed our students and our generation to continue championing acceptance, the festival encouraged acceptance of diversity across the board. Life is Beautiful was a way for our community to come together, and especially in light of recent local tragedy, served as an embodiment of Vegas’ unified spirit and a shining reminder – life is indeed beautiful.