Teacher writes title track for album
You can say that Dana Lamb has acquired fame and fortune. She has name recognition and leads a rich life as a result of her work. As a music teacher at Cleveland Elementary, Lamb is quick to say that she is living her dream everyday in the classroom.
That may seem strange after learning that she has written the title song for the “Texas Tenors” second album, “You Should Dream,” that was released last year, and that the song is also the title of a PBS concert special airing across the nation in December. Yet with this success in the recording industry, Lamb keeps all of it low key, putting the focus on her students first, and anything else related to music outside of the classroom, a distant second.
“My dream for my life has been to be a music teacher. That is what I am and what I will always be,” says Lamb.
The Texas Tenors got their start on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009 where they finished fourth. Since then they have been performing worldwide concerts and recording albums.
Lamb’s mother is big fan of the group and is friends with them on Face Book. She read that they were looking for new material and encouraged her daughter to submit her song. Lamb says she received a call about seven minutes after she submitted it.
“They [The Texas Tenors] have a soft spot for educators because all of their parents were teachers. They thought the song was so inspirational because teachers encourage their students to dream, that is what teachers do,” she says.
“You Should Dream” came about after one of Lamb’s former students told her that she should write a song. She says she didn’t think much about it at the time, but then later she heard a song in her head while taking a shower.
“I grabbed my son’s purple marker and wrote it down. I went on vacation and forgot about it until I saw the words scribbled on an envelope. I pulled out my cassette recorder and recorded the most horrendous demo,” Lamb says.
After submitting the track to several producers, it was picked up by one in Nashville and another in Los Angeles.
On May 13, Lamb was on set at the Grand Canyon University Arena for the filming of the Texas Tenors PBS special “You Should Dream.” It was the day after Mother’s Day and Lamb traveled there alone.
“I just wanted to experience it for myself. I didn’t want to miss anything,” she explains. “As I was watching all of this come together, I was in awe of the number of people and talent needed to produce the program. I kept thinking to myself that all of this is happening because of a song. If I had not taken the time to write it down or if I hadn’t found the courage to submit it, all of this might not be happening. It was a very humbling experience.”
Lamb had never written a song before she wrote “You Should Dream.” Since then she has been busy writing mainly for students at Cleveland Elementary. She has written all of the school’s character education songs, as well as songs for kindergarten plays and various academic subjects.
Lamb is an avid supporter of public education and for keeping music in public schools. She is proof that music can help a child succeed in school and beyond.
Her family came to the U.S. from Italy and Hungary in the in the 1930s-1960s. She was the first person in her family to ever go to college since her relatives immigrated here.
“Music levels the playing field. Kids succeed in a place where they feel they belong. Music doesn’t care about your test scores or how much money your family has. It helped me connect to the other subjects and made them relevant. If not for music and public school, I would have never made it to college,” she says.
Although passionate about music, Lamb did not pursue it in college. Instead, she went a more practical route and earned a degree in marketing. She enjoyed a successful and profitable corporate career for a while, but realized her true dream was being a music teacher.
“Being in a public school classroom, I can’t think of a better place to be. My dream everyday is to go to Cleveland Elementary and teach my students,” Lamb says.
With the success she has experienced with “You Should Dream,” Lamb admits it is fun to think about what could happen if the song exploded on the music charts, such as receiving a Grammy nomination. But, she says even that would not lure her away from teaching.
“Would I like Faith Hill or Carrie Underwood to call me up, yes I would. But more than that, I would rather be a rock star in my students’ eyes. All the other stuff is just fluff. I live my Grammy every day in the classroom.”