Year after year, student musicians graduated, went on to other studies and success in their various careers. After a run of competition wins and successful tours, “Prof” Johnson was apparently forced to retire – presumably by school administrators who were jealous of his growing glowing fame. With Prof gone, Kashmere’s powerhouse band folded.
It’s was Afros and pleated shirts, James Brown and Bootsy Collins. It was the ’70s, and at an inner-city Houston high school history would be made. Charismatic band leader, Conrad “Prof” Johnson, would turn the school’s mediocre jazz band into a legendary funk powerhouse. Now, 35 years later, his students prepare to pay tribute to the man who changed their lives–the 92-year old Prof. Some haven’t played their horns in decades, still they dust off their instruments, determined to retake the stage to show Prof and the world that they’ve still got it.
Told with style and pizzazz, the rousing documentary Thunder Soul celebrates the Kashmere Stage Band, a worldwide sensation in the 1970s that will forever change the way you think about high school bands. When Conrad O. Johnson, a music teacher at a predominantly black high school in Houston, replaced the staid stage band standards with contemporary funk, jazz, and original compositions, he changed the lives of his students forever. Not only did they become one of the best bands, professional or amateur, around, but they learned lessons that stayed with them long after graduation, as evidenced thirty-five years later, when the band reunited to pay tribute to the man who made it all possible.
Thunder Soul is a genuinely uplifting documentary that spans two distinct time periods – past and present – in the history of Kashmere High School Band, a student ensemble that during the 1970s ruled in the realm of high school music competitions and that reunited in 2008, picking up their instruments again for the first time in years, to play a tribute concert in honor of their inspired, inspiring and demanding music teacher and band leader, Conrad O. Johnson, Sr., fondly referred to by them as Prof.
During the 1970s, the student band at Kashmere High School, a Houston, Texas, inner city school that was attended mostly by African-American students who were considered at risk, emerged as the unbeatable best in high school band music competitions across the U.S.
Under the tutelage of Prof Johnson, they strayed away from the prevalent big band sound and introduced popular tunes — funk — into their repertoire, along with original pieces composed for them by Prof. Their sound was unique. Additionally, they choreographed their performances with smooth moves that left audiences in awe. Everywhere they performed — including Texas-funded tours through Europe and to Japan — they attracted a huge and loyal following. They even recorded and released a record, Texas Thunder Soul, which is now, in re-release, a huge hit and collector’s item.
The successes of Kashmere High School Band inpsired other student groups – ranging from basketball to debate – to excell and boosted pride throughout the entire community.
Band members were treated like rock stars, but Prof kept a tight reign on them, demanding discipline and their continued hard work and achievement – not only in music, but in other aspects of their lives, as well. One former student comments that Prof taught him not only how to play music, but how to be a man. Needless to say, all of the young band members adored the teacher who inspired them to learn and built their self confidence by insisting that they achieve. Watch Thunder Soul Movie Online
Fast forward to 2008. Former Kashmere band members, now in their 50s, reassemble to honor Prof, now 92, with a concert of the music they played way back when. Many band members hadn’t handled their instruments since graduation, but they’re determined to get back into the swing – or funk. It ain’t easy. One horn player confides with good humor that she nearly passed out on her first blow. But she and her peers persist, and under a baton wielded by a former student who’s now a musician, and with prayers lead by another who’s now a preacher, the ensemble plays a brilliant, heartfelt concert for Prof. To View The Full HD : free movies online for free