GARY, Ind. (AP) – Two of Michael Jackson’s brothers returned to their hometown of Gary, Indiana, to watch students perform at a school the siblings last visited nearly a half-century ago.
Jackie and Tito Jackson dropped by Gary’s West Side Leadership Academy on Wednesday for a tour of its performing arts classrooms and to see students demonstrate their talents in orchestra, dance, voice, recording techniques and theatrics.
“You guys are so good,” Jackie Jackson said as he hugged singer Taylor Iman following her performance of The Jackson 5’s hit, “I’ll Be There.”
The last time the brothers visited the school, then known as West Side High School, was for a 1971 concert featured the same year in The Jackson 5’s “Goin’ Back to Indiana” television special, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
The Jackson 5 featured Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, who died at age 50 in 2009.
Jackie and Tito were in Gary on Wednesday for events related to the upcoming groundbreaking for the northwestern Indiana city’s Hard Rock Casino, said Mark Spencer, director of West Side Theatre Guild.
When asked what advice the brothers would give students who want to pursue a career in the performing arts, Tito responded: “You have to work hard.”
Jackie added that, “I would tell them to follow their dreams and never give up.”
The brothers said they are still performing and recently toured in Denmark.