Music education in public schools is being threatened by budget cuts, but for the past decade, Music Will has reversed that trend in the Bay Area and all across the country by bringing free instruments and lessons into the lives of more than 200,000 underprivileged children.
On Saturday, September 29th, 2012, Sammy Hagar joined Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver) and the Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo at Facebook’s brand new headquarters in Menlo Park, CA to help Music Will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the inaugural SF .
Among the many highlights of the evening was when seven students from Highland Elementary in Richmond took the stage to perform a short set for the sold out room. Midway through “Stand By Me,” 6th grade lead singer Ashley Fortuno introduced a very special guest, “Ladies and gentlemen, Sammy Hagar!”
“The Red Rocker” joined the students on stage and completed an amazing rendition of the Ben E. King classic, trading lyrics with Fortuno on stage.
“Music and kids — I agree 100% with everything said here tonight,” Hagar said. “Music got me out of poverty and gave me direction. It kept me from getting in trouble. I’d rather be at home playing with my band practicing in a garage than out doing drugs. I’m telling you, music can save people and it’s a good thing to have kids get involved with.”
Hagar joined the house band, Coverflow, as did Sorum, for a pair of songs before receiving a priceless gift – a guitar signed by hundreds of Music Will students!
The final act of the evening commenced when eight Music Will students from Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco took the stage to perform a short set to cap off an evening filled with music. They played a few songs, including an original written by 13-year old Britney Santo called, “Fall In Love With Me.
The night ended on a high note. As the students played the opening chord to the final song of the evening, bassist and vocalist Erwin Garcia called upon a guest singer to join the band. “Where’s Taboo? Let’s get Taboo up here!”
From the corner of the room, a blaze of yellow hopped on stage and suddenly, Taboo joined the students in a high-energy performance of “I Gotta Feelin’.”
The audience, which was comprised of the board members, donors and volunteers who helped build Music Will into the nation’s largest, free instrumental music program in the U.S. public schools in the past decade, was on their feet in an instant, and left with huge smiles and swollen hearts, knowing that the evening would bring music education into the lives of tens of thousands of deserving children.
“These kids are our future,” Taboo said to an inspired crowd. “It’s up to us to do everything we can to support them.”
The benefit event featured a live and silent auction with items ranging from a guitar autographed by Slash, to a party emceed by Wavy Gravy. The food and beverages were donated by Facebook and included a gourmet tasting menu created by the executive chef and his team. In total, the event raised enough money to put more than 5,000 rock instruments and curriculum into Bay Area public schools, and provide free lessons to tens of thousands of children.