“A band that’s too big to be true.”
This is how one group of people describes their group, the Incredible Youth Orchestra.
A group of musicians, mostly from Brooklyn and New York City, who have formed a choir that plays the classic pop-rock songs of the 1960s and 70s, including the hits “Satisfaction,” “Sugarland,” “Tangled” and “I Got a Feeling.”
The group, which also includes a singer and guitarist, is one of dozens of new groups being formed around the country as young adults struggle to find meaningful ways to connect with their families.
“When I was a kid, we called it ‘a band that sings,’ ” says Natalie Jarem, one of the musicians.
“We were all on the same page.”
That was before the Internet.
But today, the music of the 70s and 80s is still resonating in New York, San Francisco and L.A. and has been embraced by audiences who feel a sense of connectedness and community.
That’s because the music has helped shape our cultural values and our collective identity.
“It’s so different from how it used to be,” says Josh Cohen, who runs the New York-based music-and-art blog The Village Voice.
“Even though it’s different, I think the way that music was meant to be has been the same.”
“I’m a rock and roll kid,” says singer-guitarist James Brown.
“I was raised on pop and rock.”
And, though he grew up with a father who was a jazz drummer, he grew into a rock star, a musician who has toured with the likes of Pink Floyd, the Doors, Aerosmith and the Who.
“Rock is a way of life.
I don’t really see it as a negative thing.
I think it’s a way to do things.”
He’s not alone.
“The way we think of music and music culture is different now than it was when I was growing up,” says Justin Bieber, who is now 31.
“If you think about it, rock music started with Elvis and Led Zeppelin.
There’s no such thing as rock ‘n’ roll anymore.
There are people that are going to say that the Beatles and the Stones were good rock ’em-ups.
But to me, rock is what it was.
And it’s the only kind of music that I have heard.”
As a kid growing up in Manhattan, he remembers being mesmerized by the music and performing with his friends in a small bar in Westchester, New York.
“My friend and I would always go to a bar and sing to each other,” he says.
“You would see us and you would say, ‘Man, that is a great band.’
I was like, ‘That’s great!’
I’m like, man, this is the kind of band you would hear every night.
We had so many friends that would go there and do it.
That was how I felt at that age,” he continues. “
One of my friends would come in and play with us and we’d sing to him and we would dance to him.
That was how I felt at that age,” he continues.
“And I think that’s the same way with music today.”
As an adult, Justin’s career took off.
He has won three Grammys for best new artist and won two Billboard Music Awards for Best Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.
But in a world that feels disconnected from its roots, the band has been an essential part of what has made rock culture so compelling.
“There is no such as rock band anymore,” says Cohen.
I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and be like, this can’t be the way it’s going to work. “
Because the only reason I’m writing this is because I can’t see another way.
I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and be like, this can’t be the way it’s going to work.
And that’s what I’m here for.”
In the midst of a crisis in the music industry, Cohen has also been a leader in bringing his vision to a new generation of young musicians.
Since 2011, he’s helped build a grassroots movement to bring rock music back to America’s music scene, and he’s made a mark with his own band, The Incredible Youth.
The band recently won an Emmy for best rock performance.
But Cohen’s greatest accomplishment has been building an entire community.
In addition to his role in bringing rock back to New York and San Francisco, he helped start an organization, the Brooklyn-based Youth Symphony Orchestra, which works with young musicians to help them learn to play and become professional musicians.
Through the orchestra, he has created a community that is more inclusive, diverse and has a strong tradition of supporting young musicians