Okay, so it's not quite as awesome as Flea founding (and teaching at) a nonprofit conservatory in East LA, but Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon is definitely a class act:
As a student, Justin Vernon traveled with the Memorial High School jazz band to New York City in 1999. As a rock star, Vernon will enable the group to return 10 years later.
Vernon, leader of the Eau Claire-based band Bon Iver, will play with Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble I on April 19. Concert proceeds will help the jazz band attend the Essentially Ellington competition in May at the Lincoln Center in New York.
"This is definitely going to boost us in terms of exposure," Memorial band director Bruce Hering said. "It's really going to charge the kids up."
Jazz Ensemble I will back up Vernon on Bon Iver songs. Vernon, who graduated from Memorial in 1999, will write sheet music for the jazz students, Hering said.
"They are just besides themselves," he said. "They think it is the coolest thing. This is a big bonus they didn't see coming."
Vernon will sing jazz standards too. Students will accompany him on all songs, Hering said.
"Justin has stated that his time spent with the Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble taught him how to be in a band - how to play with a group of talented musicians and make it work," said his manager, Kyle Frenette.
Vernon played guitar with the Memorial jazz band. The band qualified for the Essentially Ellington competition for the first time when Vernon was a senior in 1999.
Bon Iver also comes with the highly coveted Russ Feingold Seal of Approval.