Itai Disraeli with his Grammy (left) and with the band Opium Moon.
When news broke that Wildwood music teacher Itai Disraeli and his band, Opium Moon, won the Grammy for Best New Age Album, the school’s social media went wild. Parents, students, alumni, and friends shared congratulations and memories of Itai’s impact on their lives and careers. "So proud to be a Wildwood Wolf!" and "Congrats from a Wildwood mom, 6th grade class of 99!" and, "Who gets to say their son’s music teacher is a Grammy winner…I do!"
In the 19 years that he has been teaching at Wildwood, Itai and his colleagues in Wildwood School’s music department have inspired and launched the careers of many musicians, songwriters, and producers, including Wildwood alumnus Eli Pearl '08 who played in Dolly Parton’s band at the Grammys.
In a note to school colleagues the morning after winning the award, Itai wrote: "I am humbled by and grateful for this great honor. I feel so fortunate to be working with such fabulous human beings, educators and creative spirits as yourselves and share our vision of a better day and tomorrow through education and music!"
Itai plays fretless bass on the debut CD described as "a sensual and groovy collaboration of master musicians making peace through harmony." Accepting the award on the Grammy stage Itai said: "We come from Israel, Iran, the United States, and Canada. Our music was made with freedom, peace, self-inclusion, and love. This award shows that music like this can build bridges, not walls. We need this more than ever now."
His approach to music education echoes this worldview, as he teaches budding and advanced musicians that, "Music has the power to heal, to connect, and make us true global citizens. It is a language that we can all learn to listen and speak with. It’s a code that connects human emotions and makes us feel like we’re one human family."
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