Between 2000 and 2003, twice a year my job would take me to Anaheim and Nashville to attend the NAMM shows. The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world. For a musician, it’s like being a kid in the largest candy store you can possibly imagine. I saw superbly crafted instruments, incredible new technology and I met amazing musicians like Victor Wooten, Alan Parsons and Bill Bruford to name but a few. While all of those things were very cool, what is forever etched in my mind is meeting David Wish, an inspired man who cared enough to make a difference.
At the 2002 NAMM show in Anaheim, I was walking the halls of the second floor looking for companies that might have a need for our fiber-optic based touch pads.
As I was walking past one of the smaller booths, an energetic and cheerful man wearing a huge red and white top hat approached me. His simple booth had a round logo carrying the slogan, ‘Little Kids Rock’. As this was a product show, I imagined that they must have been selling some kind of software or books aimed at the younger market. I stopped and asked him what his company did. Smiling broadly, he invited me into his humble booth, introduced himself and began to tell me all about his organization and its vision to provide the students of underserved schools with free musical instruments and instruction. Afterwards, David asked if I would pose for a photograph with himself and Jon E. Gee who plays bass with John Mellencamp. Of course, I said yes!
“In 1996, an elementary school teacher, David Wish, grew frustrated with the lack of funding for music education at his school. Realizing that he would have to take it upon himself to make sure his kids got a chance to explore music, David began offering an after-school guitar class to interested students. The classes became wildly popular, and as more kids sought to enroll, he decided to take the program national.
In 2002, with initial support from musical luminaries BB King and John Lee Hooker, Little Kids Rock was born. What began as an informal project led by a single school teacher and a handful of volunteers has since evolved into a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization that has served thousands of students…”
In an e-mail recently, David told me that they would reach 50,000 low-income kids this year!
I have only met David Wish once. Since then, I have spoken to him once on the phone and we have exchanged 8 or 9 e-mails. While I do not know him very well, what I do know is that this is a man filled with purpose, light and love. He is responsive, and always demonstrates a humble heart. Not once have I heard him say “I did this”. Rather, it’s always about ‘Little Kids Rock’ and recognizing the efforts and contributions of others.
Little Kids Rock is the realization of a vision with an outward focus to help and bring joy into the lives of those who so desperately need it.
“Little Kids Rock believes that learning to play a musical instrument can be a transformative experience in students’ lives, with the power to inspire the creativity and confidence that are critical to success in school and beyond.”
I agree with them! I salute their accomplishments and I salute David Wish for his perseverance and his dedication to a most noble endeavor.
David, what you and Little Kids Rock have accomplished is truly inspirational. I cannot even begin to imagine the many challenges and hardships that you and your team have faced in the pursuit of your vision. From my heart, to you and your amazing team – thank you for what you have done. Best wishes to you all as you move forward with Little Kids Rock!
All Photos © Little Kids Rock
© Gil Namur, 2009