THE MUSIC PASTOR AT BEN FRANKLIN MIDDLE SCHOOL
Jack Martens is a fifty-six year old teacher who has spent 33 years teaching music at Ben Franklin Middle School in San Francisco.
ďOver 50 percent of Martensí students are from broken homes. The same number are on welfare. Nearly that many come from families where English is not the primary language. To that score, add the reality factor that funding for the arts has been all but cut off in Jackís school district.Ē
He sees himself as Father Christmas bringing joy to girls and boys all year long. Jackís ultimate desire is to help kids in his band see Godís love. Although Martens keeps a Bible and other Christian symbols on his desk,"it is his interaction with the kids that gives his witness a melody line.Ē
He eats lunch with them to give them a chance to talk through their problems at home with somebody. He stays after school to help with difficult fingerings with their instruments and difficult passages in life. Through the mechanics of music, he is able to communicate with disadvantaged and academically struggling students that they are capable of doing something beautiful with their lives.
Every December as the Band from Ben's performs in the Nordstrom Plaza dressed in their nicely pressed white shirts, black slacks and skirts, itís not only the Christmas shoppers that feel the spirit of the season. The kids in the band (who otherwise might be in a gang or in the juvenile detention center) feel the joy of Godís love incarnated through a man the...
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