Guitars Not Guns graduates play with The Remedy Band

Wed, 09/02/2009 - 9:19am
By: The Citizen

The Remedy Band had the pleasure of performing with the graduating students of Peachtree City’s ‘Guitars not Guns’ organization on Sunday, August 30th at the Bridge Community Center in Peachtree City.

Surrounded by family and friends, the graduating class of nine students began the ceremony by demonstrating their basic knowledge of chords before moving on to play full songs with the band. The first song, ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, was a song the students worked on for weeks leading up to the event with their teacher and mentor, Robby Jackson. It was clearly evident to all in attendance the students had been putting in some practice time because they performed wonderfully on the song, traversing the chord progressions like seasoned veterans. The band played two more songs with the students, finishing up with ‘Can’t You See’ by Marshall Tucker and ‘Born On The Bayou,’ another Creedence Clearwater Revival tune.

The students had very little experience with these songs but truly showed their skills with chord changes, moving up and down the fret board as Tim Briscoe (lead guitar) called out the chords. Smiles could be seen throughout the entire room as they played the last note of the final song and walked off amidst cheers and applause.

Established in 2000 by local Peachtree City resident Ray Nelson, Guitars not Guns provides underprivileged youth in the community with guitars and lessons, in an effort to help them discover the positive influence of music and the impact it can have on their lives. In addition to teaching kids how to play guitar, instructors emphasize ancillary life skills such as discipline, hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Consequently, it provides them with an enjoyable hobby and keeps them constructively occupied, instead of potentially falling prey to destructive influences like drugs, gangs or alcohol. The ceremony was the culmination of an eight-week program that taught the students the basics of playing guitar, in addition to hopefully building a strong foundation for love of both music and the instrument.

Ray, his wife Louise, teacher Robby Jackson and event organizer Vicki Blair all had words of congratulations for the students and were beaming with pride watching them play. Lunch was provided for the students, along with gift bags, cake, graduation certificates and, most notably, a guitar that the students were able to take home following the ceremony.

The band had a tremendous time playing with the students and hope to collaborate further with the organization in the future. The kids were nothing short of fantastic and it was thrilling to see how far they had progressed in such a short period of time with hard work and dedication. The confidence they gained by the experience was extremely apparent, which will undoubtedly carry over to other areas of life, leaving the students with more than just guitar lessons during the eight week program, but a few life lessons as well.

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