Kids jam with rock star at Major Chords for Minors

by Josie Norris, editor-in-chief.
Kids jam with rock star at Major Chords for Minors
SAGINAW– Saginaw’s own Major Chords for Minors had a special guest for the afternoon of March 3. Vocalist and guitarist David Victor, formerly of the band Boston, stopped by Major Chords for Minors the day before his scheduled concert at the Temple Theater to hear the students play. By the end of the jam session, Victor took out his guitar and played alongside them.

Victor is currently touring with the band Rock Stars and Stripes. The band’s performances take audience members on a trip across America through rock and roll classics.

The touring with Rock Stars and Stripes is a bit different from Victor’s former touring days. In his years of touring with Boston, Victor recalls rolling into town, performing and leaving. He says the most interaction with the community was sometimes a meet and greet before the show.

“It’s the polar opposite of learning anything about the community and where you just played and where people work and what they do and what kind of food they like,” Victor explains.

Part of how he gets to know a community is choosing an organization or charity to benefit through a live auction of a guitar signed by the members of the band. Choosing an organization to benefit starts with traditional search for charities and organizations in the city the band will be visiting, according to Victor.

When Rock Stars and Stripes found Major Chords for Minors in Saginaw, it stood out to Victor.

“There was nothing close,” Victor says with a laugh.

Founded by John Vowell and his wife Katrina, Major Chords for Minors is a Saginaw based 501(c)(3) non-profit that has been offering free private instruction on piano, drums, and guitar to children in grades three through 12 since 2011. In addition to the lessons, Major Chords for Minors also provides instruments to students to practice with.

According to the organization’s website, the vision of the organization is “building better children through music” which goes hand in hand with their mission: “building better community through our children.”

What started as eight students learning music grew into 175 students plus hundreds more on a waiting list to start lessons.

When Victor met the Vowell he knew he made the right choice in Major Chords for Minors.

“They’re just true to their word, and such sweet people and doing something that’s really needed in this community I think really desperately,” Victor says.

During the process of being chosen by Rock Stars and Stripes, Executive Director and co-founder John Vowell discovered that Major Chords for Minors is one of only a small handful of organizations that not only provide lessons but also instruments to students.

“We didn’t know that- we just wanted to help kids in Saginaw,” he explains.

In addition to opening for the Rockstars and Stripes concert on March 4, Major Chords for Minors received the proceeds from a live guitar auction that took place during the concert.

“It’s not all about the money- it’s about the exposure for the children and see what the program is doing for them (personally),” Vowell says.

Juleal Cannon, 13, of Saginaw was excited to play guitar with a rockstar.

“He [Victor] was improvising in front of me while I did the solo and it gave me that nice background beat.” says Cannon, grinning as he holds onto an autographed Rock Stars and Stripes poster.

Vowell admits he was just as excited as the students for Victor’s visit to Saginaw.

“I’ve never known a rockstar in my life. I get to hang out with a rockstar for a couple days,” Vowell shares. “I feel like a kid today.”

Following the jam session, 14-year-old Tiasa Cantrell of Saginaw was excited about meeting Victor. Cantrell has been listening to Victor’s music for years, she shared she even is learning his song “Heaven on Earth” in one of her music classes.

Meeting Victor meeting him made her “kind of nervous but then I’m very happy because he’s my hero.”

“I have had a huge crush on him since I was a little girl. Today was really nerve wracking,” she said with a giggle. “When I saw him come in I ran upstairs (saying) ‘He’s here! He’s here,’” Cantrell explains.

She has been counting down the days to Victor’s visit and according to Cantrell the day “was amazing! He came in and we sung and we rock and rolled with him,” she says with a huge grin.

Following the jam session, 14-year-old Tiasa Cantrell of Saginaw was excited about meeting Victor. Cantrell has been listening to Victor’s music for years, she shared she is even learning his song “Heaven on Earth” in one of her music classes. Meeting Victor meeting him made her nervous, but once she met him she shared “I’m very happy because he’s my hero.”

“I have had a huge crush on him since I was a little girl. Today was really nerve wracking,” she said with a giggle, “when I saw him come in I ran upstairs (saying) ‘He’s here! He’s here,’” Cantrell explains.

She has been counting down the days to Victor’s visit and according to Cantrell the day “was amazing! He came in and we sung and we rock and rolled with him!” she says with a huge grin.

According to Vowell, Major Chords for Minors is always looking for volunteers and teachers. If interested in teaching at Major Chords for Minors, email [email protected]

 

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