By Hilary Gridley
When San Francisco public school teacher David Wish set out to do something about the lack of music education funding at his school, he may never have dreamt of collaborating with world-class celebrities. But what started as a small-scale effort to get instruments in the hands of local underprivileged kids has grown over the past 10 years into the leading nonprofit Little Kids Rock, with more than 1200 public school teachers providing free music classes to children in their schools.
A program that has supported music education for upwards of 20,000 public school students in 24 cities deserves a serious celebration, and if anyone knows how to get the party started, it’s Black Eyed Peas member Jaime Gomez, better known to his fans as Taboo.
Taboo will join Little Kids Rock for the Rock Their World Celebration on September 29 at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California to mark the organization’s decade of service, restoring and revitalizing music education for disadvantaged public schools nationwide. Proceeds from the concert will go toward supporting Little Kids Rock programs, helping ensure the organization’s success continues into the next decade.
Taboo began collaborating with Little Kids Rock over a year ago, surprising students by hopping onstage to perform alongside them at their end-of-year concert and inviting them to record an original song at his studio. “I am all about the youth,” he said. “I am all about the next big thing. Our kids are the next big thing and I will do anything I can do to support them. That’s why I support Little Kids Rock.”
But Taboo isn’t the only performer working to make music education a priority in public schools. Former Van Halen frontman Sammy “Red Rocker” Hagar will perform at the event, as will former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum and renowned Grammy-winning guitarist Joe Satriani. These special guests ensure that not only will Little Kids Rock students have the instruments they want to play and the instruction to succeed, but also the role models to inspire them.
What’s more, LKR will do it all again on the east coast October 16 at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom in New York City, celebrating their 10th anniversary with renowned guests including Elvis Costello, Tom Morello and Kris Allen, to name just a few. They’ll also honor guitarist Steven Van Zandt (Little Steven) — Bruce Springsteen’s legendary axeman — with their “Big Man of the Year” award.
The organization notes that kids who play instruments are 52% more likely to go to college. You can help make sure kids get the music education they need by donating to Little Kids Rock or participating in their live auction.