Benny Mardones rocks Canajoharie High School
with message of perseverance
A veteran rock ‘n’ roll star told Canajoharie
High School students that in life they must be able to handle being
told “no.” And when the answer is “yes,” they need to be prepared to
take advantage of the opportunity.
Benny Mardones, whose signature hit “Into the
Night” skyrocketed him to the top of the music charts in 1980 and
again in 1989, visited Canajoharie High School Thursday, Dec. 1. He
spoke in the school auditorium relating to students his experience
exploding into fame after 14 years of hard work in the music
industry. He also spoke about succumbing to drug addiction, his
battle to overcome Parkinson’s disease and the resurrection of his
career in Upstate New York.
“As you go into life to follow your dreams,
you’re going to be told ‘no’ a lot. You’ve got to be able to handle
the no’s,” Mardones told the students. “I’ve heard more no’s than
yes’s but I took advantage of the yes’s and I expect you to do the
Mardones’ hit “Into the Night,” which still today
is one of the most played numbers on the radio, has been the theme
song for two Canajoharie High School proms in the last 30 years.
When Canajoharie technology teacher Dwayne Heroth heard Mardones was
headlining at the Turning Stone Casino Friday, Dec. 2, he called the
musician’s management and the rocker agreed to speak with the
students about his life and career.
appearance was one of the high school’s Student Teacher Activity
Rally (STAR) activities of the year. Each year, the STAR program
organizes activities surrounding a theme. This year’s theme is “Stay
Humble, Work Hard and Be Kind.”
Mardones spoke about his work in the music
industry and his professional and personal relationships with
notable musicians such as Roy Orbison, Bruce Springteen and Jon Bon
Jovi. His rise to fame, he said, came with pitfalls. He said he was
recused from his $1,000 a day drug habit by friends when he moved to
“If it wasn’t for Central New York, I’d be dead.
I’d be six feet under,” he said.
The musician also spoke briefly about his 16-year
fight with Parkinson’s disease, which doesn’t stop him from touring
In closing, Mardones, who received more than one
standing ovation during his appearance, encouraged students to
pursue their dreams.
“Follow your dreams because this is still a
country where you can make your dreams come true,” Mardones said.
Captions: Top: Benny Mardones speaks from the
stage in the Canajoharie High School auditorium Thursday, Dec. 1.
Middle: Canajoharie High School technology teacher Dwayne Heroth
presents Mr. Mardones with a “Stay Humble, Work Hard and Be Kind”
t-shirt. Bottom: Students pose with Mr. Mardones following his