One of the most famous names in sports, legendary University of Tennessee Knoxville quarterback Peyton Manning, threw a tight spiral of funding our way earlier this year. The now Denver Broncos QB’s PeyBack Foundation gave the Joy of Music School a grant for $7,500 to help underwrite Midsummer Music Mentoring, a program of instruction that introduced kids to basic music-reading skills and practical experience. It was the largest grant we’d ever secured from Manning’s foundation and the first since 2007. We were so grateful we nearly got flagged for excessive celebrating!
Joy of Music School student Brayden (aka “Bray”) came out of the hospital with an unusual prescription this year: play more music. Last Jan. 23, the 16-year-old Bray was critically injured on his dirt bike when he ran into an unmarked steel cable hanging between two trees. Knocked unconscious, Bray woke to a concussion, sprains, and most seriously, a torn hepatic artery, resulting in “grade four trauma” to his liver. Twelve surgical procedures, a gifted team of specialists at UT Medical Center, and many weeks spent in the hospital, have saved Bray’s liver and his life. The liver is the only organ that can regenerate naturally, so doctors expect Bray to be fully recovered by next year.
During his recovery from an initial procedure, one of Bray’s doctors recommended that Bray consider taking up a slightly more sedate hobby—like the guitar. Little did the doctor know that he was talking to a gifted guitarist who once performed at the Bijou Theatre with the popular Nashville-based band Hot Trio. The doctor soon became a fan of the young musician. Bray has been a student at the School for five years, originally taking up the instrument because it was “cool to see older kids” play and he liked the musical “freedom” offered by the guitar.
“Bray’s family has been an enduring and endearing part of the School for years,” says School Executive Director Francis Graffeo. “Bray’s recovery has been wonderful.” Bray’s two younger brothers also are students at the School, so we all are feeling blessed that we get the privilege of enjoying his family’s musical talents—and newfound dedication to less extreme activities—for years to come.
The School has a dire need for sturdy, padded “gig bags” for acoustic guitars, says Music Director Julie Carter. We could use half a dozen of them—those simple bags used for carrying a guitar between lessons at the School and home. They’re really a better solution than boxy guitar cases, which tend to get dinged up. They cost about $40 each. We could also really use a couple of good-quality baritone ukulele cases. Generally they go for about $20. Care to help us out? Please call Julie at 865-525-6806. You can also send a check or donate online, indicating where you want your gift applied. Thank you!
Earlier this year, our own Executive Director Frank Graffeo was chosen to participate in the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness at the University of Tennessee. The title may be a mouthful, but the opportunity for Frank — and the School — is great. This is a 10-month program designed to help nonprofit leaders apply business practices to their organizations. There are a couple of dozen participants from many different types of groups. So far it’s been “a wonderful learning experience” that ought to pay big dividends both in the short-term and over time, says Frank. His tuition is being funded largely by contributions from board members and other friends of the School. “I’m most grateful,” he adds.
“Just your typical teenager” are words you never would use to describe Fulton High School senior Caleb Lukkarila. Unless your idea of the average teenager is a polite, responsible, humble, hardworking, friendly young man, who fully recognizes and appreciates the blessings in his life. But, don’t let this quiet maturity fool you. It’s simply cover art for the soul of a jazz showman. A gifted alto saxophonist, Caleb takes to the spotlight like the rest of us take to the couch. While many kids, and grown-ups, spend years trying to fi nd their place in the world, Caleb came upon his in a rare moment of typical adolescence—by trying to look cool. When made to choose an instrument as part of his school band requirement, sixth-grade Caleb admittedly didn’t even know what a saxophone sounded like. He just thought it looked cool. Little did he know that while he was busy looking cool on the outside, he forever was changing on the inside. Gone was the shy boy. Confi dent, accomplished Caleb was taking over, one note at a time. A presentation at his high school by a Joy of Music School staff member two years ago inspired the young musician to expand his music network beyond the high school marching and concert bands. And expand it, he did, via JoMS volunteer teachers Joe Jordan and Lynlee Robinson, and jazz great Jerry Coker. Coker calls him “one of the most talented students I’ve known in my 55 years of teaching.” Recognizing that Caleb belongs on big stages, the School also has sent Caleb to the prestigious Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop for two summers. “The Joy of Music School has given me the best education I could ever dream of,” says Caleb. “Aside from the amazing musicians I get to play with, [Director of Education] Julie Carter has been so helpful and supportive of my life beyond music.” Though many listening to him play would swear he was born with a gift, Caleb is convinced that it simply takes hard work, like the many hours of practice he puts in. With the School’s continued guidance and his work ethic, his dream of continuing his music education at the University of Tennessee may well come true.
The Joy of Music School got four nights “on stage” at one of Knoxville’s premier restaurants in August – and made the most of it. We were part of the Kobe Burger Mondays at the Orangery series, in which the restaurant generously donates $5 to charity for each American Kobe beef burger it sells. Over the course of the month, scores of volunteers, board members and friends of the School (new and old) enjoyed a fun night out and delightful live music. “We were impressed with the turnout, and the musical guests thrilled everyone,” says Rebecca Bonano, the Orangery’s catering sales manager. So, too, DID the burgers. Many thanks to the Orangery for supporting our School!
Announcing the 8th annual Holiday Sparkles & Spirits! – an evening to benefit The Joy of Music School. On Friday, December 6, 2013 revelers gather for a unique holiday event at Cherokee Mills, convenient to west Knoxville and downtown.
Experience the warmth of a holiday gathering, sumptuous fare and holiday music. Plus, get a head start on gift-buying for loved ones—all for a great cause!
Bid on unique items:
Arts & Culture - Travel - Food & Wine - Home & Garden - …and more.
The evening is highlighted by a brief performance from students of the School. Holiday songs fill the hall, played and sung by talented students studying in our program. What better way to witness the results of the Joy of Music School’s efforts than to experience a live performance?
A silent auction runs throughout the evening with a live auction culminating the excitement.
Semi-formal attire. The event includes heavy hors d‘oeuvres, wine and cocktails.
$75 per person.
Please call 865.525.6806 to reserve an evening of holiday delight!