Class is now in session at the school of rock.
Eddie Van Halen just donated 75 of his own personal guitars to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a national organization that promotes music education for children.
In a statement, the guitarist simply explained, “Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me.”
Van Halen also acknowledged that his immense success motivated him to give more children a chance at self-fulfillment through music. ” If I can help a kid discover a liking, or even a passion for music in their life, then that’s a wonderful thing. Music has provided a good life for me and hopefully it can help make life better for others with this donation.”
The generous gift, which will be dispersed among 7 Los Angeles schools at Van Halen’s request, is already making an impact. Michael Flores, a student at Garfield High, tried out one of the guitars and told CBS2, “I think its great … Compared to what I played in the beginning, this sounds amazing.”
The Associated Press reports that Van Halen instructed staffers at Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation that the guitars were to be used in schools, not sold — and the lucky schools who received them weren’t told who donated them until the day they arrived. Hopefully the guitars will be kept secure under lock and key when students aren’t using them, as the Foundation recommended.
In these photos, Eddie Van Halen poses with his 75 donated guitars and Felice Mancini, executive director of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Guitars played by legendary musicians usually end up on display at museums or auctioned off to the highest bidder. Rocker Eddie Van Halen instead decided to donate 75 of his own electric guitars to public schools.
Garfield High School was one of seven Los Angeles public schools on the receiving end of Van Halen’s donation, through the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.
“I think his motivation was he just realizes how lucky he’s been in his career and that music pretty much saved his life,” Felice Mancini of the foundation said. “He wanted to give something back.”
Garfield High received 15 of the guitars, which are from Van Halen’s personal collection.
“I think its great,” student Michael Flores said of one of the donated guitars. “Compared to what I played in the beginning, this sounds amazing.”
Garfield High School, known for its award-winning marching band, started two beginning guitar classes. While students are able to play the guitars individually, they are unable to play as a group because they lack the cables and amps necessary and those items are not in the school’s budget.
But that hasn’t quelled students’ excitement, Music Director Eloy Adame said.
“It was like an injection of enthusiasm when you let them know where the guitars are coming from and what a legend Eddie Van Halen is,” he said.
Garfield High School Students Thank Eddie Van Halen