A young man and his guitar
There are some things people enjoy doing so much that it becomes a part of their identity, almost as if the passion would be necessary to fully describe their life. For Zachry Kelley of Huffman, Texas, it was his love of music.
Zachry first played trumpet in elementary school and although he had fun, the horn ultimately was a passing phase. Then in high school, he discovered the guitar and an infatuation grew to where he desired to learn everything about this incredible instrument. “Oh yeah, if it had six strings on it, he wanted to play it,” says his younger brother Jed. “He really got into it.”
Jed wasn’t the only one who recognized Zachry’s penchant for the guitar. Their father Steve saw a spark in his son’s eyes early on and together they’d sit down and pluck away. “He picked up my dad’s acoustic, my dad would show him a couple little blues chords,” Jed says. “Real quick and easy to learn.” Even though the guitar seemed like a natural in his brother’s hands, his voice was wanting. “He couldn’t sing. He wasn’t a singer,” he says with a chuckle.
Like any teen it wasn’t long before Zachry discovered music for himself as he and friends fell into the metal scene at the time. Soon they formed a band – in the garage no less – and Steve created a makeshift studio with soundproofing and recording equipment to boot. Continuing to build on his love of music, Zachry went out and bought a $2400 Fender Telecaster. “He only brought that out on special occasions,” Jed says. “That was his baby.”
Growing up in Texas, Zachry and Jed worked as welders with their father’s business, something of an experience that would create many fond memories. Jed recalls his brother bringing a guitar as they traveled with family, from job to job. Clearly for Zachry, his tool belt would have held wrenches and his guitar.
At 27, sadly Zachry passed away this year yet his legacy will live on for a fundraiser was held to honor his memory to which the Foundation was the grateful beneficiary. His love of sharing music will continue on through this generous donation to support music education therapy programs. We at the Foundation wish to say thank you to the Kelley family for their support and offer our condolences.
Spartanburg Preparatory School: South Carolina
Spartanburg Preparatory School (SPS) recently celebrated its fifth anniversary as a public charter in South Carolina. This in itself is an accomplishment as funding early on was quite scarce and the administration had doubts from one year to the next about its future. Music Specialist and Choral Director Danielle Roberts recalls the “dry times” where her music program faced unbelievable challenges. “The school was on a very bare bones budget. In fact, when I came to SPS in 2014, there were no instruments at all for the children to use,” she says.
Today, with changes in state and federal funding, as well as outside fundraising, the financial situation for SPS has significantly improved. Although Danielle now has a few instruments to offer students, she still seeks alternative resources to fortify her music program. “However, since we are still in the ‘building up’ process, and due to costs of larger instruments such as guitars, drums, and Orff instruments, I supplement our needs by applying for grants as needed,” she says. She applied and the Foundation awarded SPS eight Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitar Packs to the delight of her music class.
One such eighth-grade student, Chance, says that he’s long wished to play guitar and since receiving the donations, his music class is much more exciting. “I now love playing guitar and hope to continue playing throughout the years,” he says. “I have really loved our music class and I look forward to it every Thursday; I have a blast every single time.”
Danielle currently teaches a small class size of 10 eighth-grade boys but hopes to broaden the guitar class – through various donations and community resources – to include all of their sixth to eighth-grade students, serving approximately 120 children, she says.
Incredibly over five years, Spartanburg Preparatory School went from a program with an uncertain future to a charter school that is currently at capacity and if not for drawings held each March, it wouldn’t be able to accept new students. The Foundation is glad to have helped in their success.
Music and the Mind
The notable German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Such a profound thought leads one to wonder about the importance music has in our life. Intern Boneth Ahaneku, a student at University of Colorado, adds her insight into music and its influence on the mind. “As a neuroscience major, I look at many general aspects of the brain from a very scientific viewpoint,” she says. “With music, however, it is very easy to describe without all the science and by simply describing the effect is has on the body.”
The sounds of instruments as they permeate our ears and body through vibrations stimulate multiple areas of the brain. The above infographic shows just how deep music delves into the mind. It’s not just what you hear, but what you see, including movement, what you feel physically and emotionally, and this spans both hemispheres of the brain, Boneth adds.
As a part-time Moorpark College student, Valerie sought to volunteer with a nonprofit organization “So that I could feel that I was doing something worthwhile for someone else, not just for myself.” Her search for a position near Ventura County led her to the Foundation’s website, where she learned about our mission to support music education and therapy programs. Knowing how much she enjoys music (Valerie is a huge Foo Fighters fan), it was an obvious choice. “I knew I had to be a part of that rewarding process,” she says. Valerie volunteers at the Foundation working with social media and specializing in writing thank you letters to donors and letters of substantiation.
- Our donation page on the website has been well received and donations have steadily increased since its implementation.
- The Foundation is working hard to prepare for the 2015 NAMM show and is considering a shared booth with key collaborative partners, in addition to a more direct relationship with the NAMM organization.
- We are proud to announce a windfall donation of US made Guild guitars from Fender.
- Gary Sinise signed a bass guitar – supplied by the Foundation – to help support the American Legionnaires fundraiser “Turf to Surf”, which is a Harley-Davidson ride through Camp Pendleton.