Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa students snag a spot performing Pink Floyd song


When the invitation came, the mother shrieked. The daughter turned to Google.

Roger Waters needed a children's chorus from Patel Conservatory to accompany him during an upcoming concert in Tampa.

"Oh, my God, Pink Floyd was so big," Toni Morrison's mother told her.

The Internet confirmed this, and 12-year-old Toni loaded The Wall onto her iPod.

Sixteen music students will share the stage Tuesday with Roger Waters, a former leader of the British rock band. The preteens and teens — many of whom were unfamiliar with the iconic musician until last week — will chime in for one song.

We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control.

"There's a lot of irony there," said Stephanie Morrison, Toni's mother. Toni is in the International Baccalaureate program at Williams Magnet Middle School.

"She started singing it very powerfully, and I said, 'No, you need an education, thank you.' "

But music can be timeless, each generation relating to it in different ways.

"It's always cool to stand up for what you believe in," said Jonathan Hack, chairman of the music department at the Patel Conservatory. "It's just taking back a little bit of power when you're at an age when it's easy to be overlooked."

Pink Floyd's fame has spanned decades — albeit the decades before these backup singers were born. The original group of four members formed in the late '60s, and the band — in various forms — played through the 1990s.

Waters, a songwriter, vocalist and bassist, left the group in 1985. The Wall, produced in 1979, still ranks as the third best-selling album ever in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

The anti-education message in Another Brick in the Wall Part II may ring a little hollow when sung by today's high-achieving youth, but it's not totally archaic yet.

"Everybody feels like this at one point or another," said Samantha Wassmer, 14, one of the teens who will sing the chorus. She's in the IB Program at St. Petersburg High School, but she said that doesn't keep her from having occasional "I don't need school" thoughts.

The students practiced at home and at a rehearsal Friday, learning the chorus and simple choreography that will have them running onstage at the St. Pete Times Forum.

They'll be wearing matching T-shirts and dark jeans. It won't be like the song's music video, where schoolchildren in uniform march into a meat grinder.

"We don't need no education," sings Toni, the seventh-grader whose mother listened to Pink Floyd in high school.

Toni stops abruptly and looks serious.

"But I kind of think sometimes we do need some education sometimes," she said.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Tampa students snag a spot performing Pink Floyd song 11/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lanes closed after pedestrian fatally struck by semi-tractor on U.S. 19 in Clearwater


    CLEARWATER — Southbound lanes on U.S. 19 were closed early Wednesday morning after a pedestrian was fatally struck by a semi-trailer.

  2. Manhattan Casino controversy resumes after taking a break for Irma

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has once again found itself defending its controversial choice of the Callaloo Group to open a "Floribbean" restaurant in the historic but currently empty Manhattan Casino.

  3. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Carlton: The cross atop the church that moved, and other strange tales from Hurricane Irma


    Down in Miami, the famous tan-don't-burn Coppertone Girl on the side of a building lost her head — part of it, at least, the top of her blond hair lopped off in the fierce winds of Hurricane Irma. ("At least her tan line and doggie weathered the storm," the Miami Herald noted optimistically.)

    Hurricane Irma partly decapitated the Coppertone Girl in Miami. [Miami Herald]