Band offers free album to help Richmond schools


They call themselves Pamplamoose, French for "grapefruit." But today they sing to improve levels of English proficiency in Richmond classrooms.

It was all Tyler Hester's idea. He's an English teacher known for thinking out of the box.

"I tell them I am working at a school with great kids who come from a community that is not always providing the educational opportunities that ought to and they said, 'How could we get behind this effort,'" Hester said.

This is how the Richmond book drive works: Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn are offering their online Christmas album for free to anyone who buys one of the books on the list through The book goes directly to a Richmond address then the buyer get an order number to use to download the songs.

Pomplamoose is counting on the generosity of its fans.

"Since last Christmas, our fan base has gone from 15,000 subscribers to what, 200,000 subscribers," Dawn said.

Hester and his two friends met in college and now more than ever are committed to giving to others.

"Our generation is starting to realize that we have a tremendous responsibility at this and we have to start doing things like this," Hester said.

Four schools including his own are already receiving the goods.

The vast majority of those students are not reading at grade level. So the idea is to get books that will engage them and help them succeed.

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