|Austin-based multimedia company Nelda Studios is teaming up with foster care nonprofit Austin Angels and Band Aid School of Music to announce their new nonprofit program initiative, “A Chance to Rock,” providing music lessons and instruments to children experiencing foster care. As the first of many programs that Nelda Studios intends to support in the creative arts, this program offers youth in foster care an outlet to express themselves musically on an individualized and personal level. Joining the initiative as music ambassadors are local Austin musicians Kathy Valentine (The Go-Go’s), Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel), Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas), Nakia (The Voice), Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit) and Zach Person. |
These artists are participating in a PSA campaign to kick off a fundraising drive for “A Chance to Rock.” The PSAs and donation page can be found at www.achancetorock.org. Proceeds go directly to increasing the number of foster families participating, as well as expanding the initiative to include camps, group classes, single-day activities and concerts. For more information about “A Chance to Rock,” see here.
|Kathy Valentine (The Go-Go's)|
“Music has played such a huge part in my life,” said Kathy Valentine (The Go-Go’s). “I would say writing songs especially is like my best friend, and the best therapy I've ever had. It really helps me process whatever I'm going through and helps me get into that creative place. This program not only provides a place to learn about music, but it provides the instrumentation, the lessons, the advice, the encouragement, the guidance and makes it possible. And possibility is the key to life.”
“The access to music, instruction, musical instruments, just the ability to have them is so important because it gives kids direction,” said Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel). “It gives them a goal and an activity that helps with socialization. It's so important because creativity is the basis of all good things in my opinion, no matter the field, no matter the age, and music helps in creativity. I just hope that some kids get to experience the joy of making music.”
|Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel)|
Compelled by the diminishing support for the arts, Austin-area philanthropists Karl and Nelda Buckman founded Nelda Studios with a broader mission to support art and creativity through original media productions, philanthropy, and community outreach. Nelda Studios’ philanthropic arm, The Buckman Fund, recently partnered with the University of Texas at Austin to found The Buckman Center, a future collaboration space for creatives, designers, and technologists at the School of Design and Creative Technologies. In addition to amplifying creativity in higher education, Nelda Studios is equally committed to providing hands-on creative programs in communities, such as the program “A Chance to Rock.”
“Working with Austin Angels and Band Aid School of Music has a special place in my heart because not only does it help make the arts accessible to all, but it helps those with a real need,” said Nelda Buckman. “‘A Chance to Rock’ truly helps us achieve our underlying goal to spark creativity and provide inspiration and opportunity for current and future generations, especially to children in less fortunate circumstances.”
Initially conceived by Band Aid School of Music Director James Mays, “A Chance to Rock” offers a wide array of music lessons including piano, guitar, drums, voice, bass, ukulele, and more to come. With locations in South Austin (2309 Thornton Road, Suite G, Austin, Texas 78704) and Westlake (4214 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, Texas 78746), Band Aid School of Music teachers have university training, professional performance experience, or both. In addition to their teaching credentials, the teachers have warm, inviting personalities and are dedicated to teaching the style of music the children experiencing foster care want to learn.
|Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas), Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Nakia (The Voice) and Zach Person|
“[Music] is so deeply woven into who we are as human beings that giving a child the opportunity to express this kind of thing, to learn this kind of thing, even to have the intellectual exercise and the physical exercise of just doing the activity over and over and over, and rewiring their minds, is a really powerful experience,” said James Mays.
With a mission statement to walk alongside children, youth and families in the foster care community by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship, Austin Angels has been meeting immediate needs and providing long-term support that is not provided through traditional service models in Austin and nationally since 2009. Programs match volunteers with families and youth to provide support, empower through connection and help with their personalized needs.
“Exposing [children in foster care] to something like this, for many, will probably be the very first time,” said
Sara Hale, Austin Angels Executive Director. “It'll open up new ideas, and new thoughts, new dreams for them that before this day they just may never have known were possible.”
For more information about Band Aid School of Music, see bandaidschoolofmusic.com. For information about Austin Angels, see austinangels.com.