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One half of famous song writing duo to play CKJH
By PAUL BALCERAK
Students at Central Kitsap Junior High School will be treated to a little something extra at the schools annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly this Friday. Thats because students and guest speakers performing and appearing at the event will be joined by LeRoy Bell, one half of the famous Bell and James song-writing team.
It is kind of a steal for us to get him to come to a school that hes not necessarily connected to by family, but hes connected by wanting to give a message, CKJH Principal Franklyn MacKenzie said.
Bell will be on hand to perform his song, Dream of Peace, off his latest full-length studio album, Two Sides to Every Story.
This years assembly will be presented, as usual, by the CKJH Dream (diversity) Club and is titled after Bells song. CKJH School Counselor and Dream Club Adviser Sharon Goodman said the theme of the assembly will center around exploring what students can do to promote peace and diversity within their own ranks.
That message is what appealed to Bell in the first place and what prompted his visit to the school.
Its a subject thats dear to my heart, as far as peace goes, the Edmonds resident said. Its neat when young people get into it like that.
Goodman thought of bringing Bell to perform at the assembly after attending one of his concerts recently.
Hes just a very impassioned singer and sings a lot about peace ... and I just thought hed be a good fit, she said.
Bell originally made his mark on the music industry as a songwriter with Casey James. Billed as Bell and James, the tandem wrote for artists such as The Temptations, Lou Rawls and others before recording two full-length albums of their own.
Their 1979 single Livin it Up (Friday Night) peaked at No. 15 on the U.S. charts and was sampled on the Notorious B.I.G. album Born Again in 1999.
They also authored a pair of Elton John hits: 1979s Grammy-nominated Top-10 cut, Mama Cant Buy You Love, and 2004s Are You Ready for Love, which was remixed by techno whiz Fatboy Slim and shot to No. 1 on the British charts.
More recently, Bell has been back in the recording studio, releasing two studio albums and a live album in the last four years.
The assembly also will feature student skits and guest speaker Cherry (pronounced SHER-ee) Rachal, who was involved in the civil rights movement.
Our goal is that were not just doing a one-time thing because its Martin Luther King weekend or black history month, MacKenzie said.
To preview LeRoy Bells song, Dream of Peace, as well as other songs, visit www.leroybell.com/music.html and click on the appropriate links.