“In my thirty-one years of teaching, I have never seen a program this good!”
"A teacher who has been in our district for some twenty plus years told me your performance was the best and most well received show she has ever seen in our schools!"
Susan Green, PTO Assembly Coordinator
“... A truly superb and inspirational concert ... You directly reflected the characteristics you write and sing about.”
"My students were in awe before you even started and they now talk about you each day. Over the weekend, parents and students alike came up to me at a soccer tournament and asked about the concert and your CDs, all commenting how much their child has talked at home about you and the event. Teachers are still buzzing from the songs as well."
Rebecca Connelly, Concert Coordinator
“Thank you for your wonderful American Heroes performances at our two K-3 schools. I was especially impressed with your innovative methods of introducing role models to children. The students received not only an informative history lesson through anecdote and song, but also many subtle and not-so-subtle self-esteem boosters as well. You were thoughtful, thought-provoking, well-spoken, and professional. More important, you made each child feel good about his own potential and place in history. The sound was superb (a feat in our not-so-perfect auditoriums!) due to your wonderful sound system and clear, strong voice.
"It was an honor to have you perform at Schwenksville Elementary School on such an important day...Inauguration Day (1/20/09)! Your music touched many students and teachers at our school. We can't wait to have you back next year!
Nichole Davis, Parent/Assembly Coordinator
“(For graduation,) one of our teachers developed a very touching slide presentation and utilized your “Heroes” as one of the songs played in the background. Amazingly, the whole school population of almost 950 kids spontaneously started singing along; it was truly a beautiful thing. “Heroes” has become almost a theme song for Shoemaker School.
“Most worthwhile program EVER!”
"We had an ASHA Board meeting today and a lot of women said their kids loved your performance and came home singing your songs! Great job!"
Dori Kelly-Olson, Presenter
"Your songs inspire me to learn about the heroes you write songs about. I love your performance! It was out of this world. Your songs help me memorize their life for tests. I know all of your songs by heart. They're SPECTACULAR, man!"
Noah D., 5th grade class
"I have never seen an audience so full of smiling and happy faces as at your concert! (The children) kept singing and humming to themselves as they went out the door to go home. It was almost more fun watching their reactions!"
T. Mottley, 1st Grade Teacher
It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T at Alfred Vail School in Morris Plains
October 15, 2013 by Morristown Green Contributor
By Berit Ollestad
Who says learning can't be fun?
Certainly not the kids at the Alfred Vail Elementary School. Grammy-nominated recording artist Jonathan Sprout had them singing and dancing to his songs about Martin Luther King Jr., Sacagawea and Abraham Lincoln last week.
It had been 13 years since Sprout's last visit, and if the auditorium was any indication, it was 13 years too long.
"A hero is someone that we look up to and respect. They aren't cartoon characters, they are real people," Sprout told the children, encouraging them to learn the story of aviatrix Amelia Earhart and discover what her dreams were. The young audience responded with squeals of delight.
Each hero was introduced with a list of clues. By the time Sprout unveiled the last one, virtually every hand shot up.
"My favorite speech by this hero was a speech that he made 50 years ago this year called the 'I Have A Dream' speech," said Sprout. After reciting some additional facts about Martin Luther King Jr., he engaged the children with song-and-dance routines.
Growing up in Hightstown, Sprout set out to sing for grown-ups.
"But I always felt like a fish out of water," he said. His mom, an elementary school teacher, pointed him to his current career path. "She sort of induced me to sing for her 3rd grade class one day."
As he was packing up to leave that performance, another teacher came over.
"I couldn't help but hear you through the walls, and I wanted to ask you if you'd be willing to consider playing what you just did for the entire school? We have $150 left over in our school fund and we could give you that," the teacher told him.
"How could I say no to that! Starving artist, $150 in 1981! In time, I realized I'd finally had found my people," Sprout recounted. "I realized rather quickly that I somehow wanted to make an impact, and not just simply make people laugh. I always had enjoyed biographies. So I am sort of like a niche within in a niche."
Over three decades, Sprout has sung at more than 5,000 children's concerts and recorded 10 CDs. Some of the proceeds from his CD sales go back to the schools.
He described his craft is "heart-motivated, not market-motivated." One of his rules is to avoid featuring celebrities whose story is not complete. Many sports heroes, for example, have fallen from grace in recent years.
At Alfred Vail, his best reviews came from the pint-sized critics shuffling out of the auditorium.
"I liked it because it told me about the heroes," said second-grader Sofia.
Ava: "I really liked the songs!"
"It was great!" said Jonathan