Jesse caught the whiff too.
But in all seriousness, this is a sweet story, courtesy Hentoff in the WSJ. (Just pretend that ["writer and philosopher"?! oy] Joseph Cambell's name went unmentioned and you'll be fine.)
Ms. Passarella's second-grade students, she says, would have told him how moved they were by not only the ballads "but the more avant-garde recordings, such as 'Interstellar Space.'" She notes that, through her teaching, "I have discovered that young children have open, welcoming minds, and the more pure and emotional the music, the more they connect. Soon they were hooked on John Coltrane's music."
The children learned that Coltrane lived in Dix Hills -- a hamlet on Long Island not all that far from their school -- from 1964 to his death in 1967 (his family sold the home in 1972). And they were saddened to discover that the house -- where he composed "A Love Supreme" and all his last works -- had been in danger of being demolished by the real-estate developer who now owned it. But they and their teacher soon were excited by the news that a resident of Dix Hills, Steve Fulgoni, a longtime jazz enthusiast, had come to the rescue of the Coltrane home.
But the structure, left untended for years, requires much fund raising to become what the Coltranes would like it to be -- "a place of learning" where, for example, Coltrane's Meditation Room would change into a multimedia room for schoolchildren. Contributions can be sent to Friends of the Coltrane Home, P.O. Box 395, Deer Park, N.Y., 11729 (www.the coltranehome.org).
Among the more dedicated recent fund-raisers were Ms. Passarella's second-graders. They engaged in raffles, cake sales and a book fair. Then, their teacher tells me, on May 23 of this year -- at a special assembly program in Coltrane's honor -- "they sang their original songs and choreographed ballroom dances." One was named "Chasin' the Train" (Trane was his nickname).
The teacher says, with pleasure, that her second-graders "are now being called Kids for Coltrane." With their moving into the third grade, she will no longer be their teacher. But she plans to start a Kids for Coltrane Club once a week during lunch. "We will invite these students already familiar with his music and also new members."