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Musician Sérgio Mendes urges students to ‘embrace the dream’

USC Thornton students sing along to a lively performance by the Brasil ’66 band

Most musicians who appear at the USC Thornton School of Music’s Contemporary Music Division forums come alone, speak to students and answer questions.

In late October, legendary Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes arrived with his full band, including USC Thornton faculty member Alphonso Johnson on bass, and opened the forum with a lively performance that had the student audience dancing and singing along.

Mendes led his group, Brasil ’66, to fame in the 1960s and helped introduce Brazilian music to the American public. After rocking the Carson Center, Mendes covered his career, offering advice to students during a discussion with Popular Music program director Patrice Rushen.

“As a kid, you know, my thing was music,” he told the students. “The passion for music is what drives you through your life. Pursue the dream. Embrace the dream. Think big. Dream big.”

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