VISTA — From shredding guitar to keeping the beat on the drums, kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Vista are thriving in its music program, which offers free lessons for those interested in learning how to play and read music.
The club is hosting its fourth annual Rock & Roll Texas Hold ’Em Poker Tournament with a goal of raising $60,000 to help fund the organization’s music program, according to CEO Matt Koumaras.
The event begins at 5 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the Vistonian, a wedding venue on South Santa Fe Avenue.
The fundraiser, which will showcase two kids’ bands from the club playing several songs, is catered by Full Metal Burgers and Bleu Oak Charcuterie. In addition to the poker tournament, there’s an online auction.
Tickets are $125 each and the auction runs from Aug. 22-27.
The Vista club started the music program about five years ago. Brandon Brunt, who volunteers at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, was hired to run the classes.
The program offers lessons on drums, guitar, keyboard, ukulele and vocals, with private lessons available from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The group also built-out a recording studio for those wanting to record their music.
The money raised will be used to pay for Brunt’s salary, curriculum and securing new instruments. The club also accepts musical instruments donations, most of which make up the current inventory.
“They get to participate for free, which is key,” said Susan Arias, vice president of development for the club. “They get access to small groups with one-on-one attention. It gives them access to something that they wouldn’t have without our music program.”
According to Arias, the club encourages the students to try several instruments to find one they connect with before starting lessons.
Once the kids “sort of master the basics,” they tend to form bands or groups and start creating their own original music, Arias said.
Arias said one of the benefits of music is an opportunity for kids to learn new skills such as focusing, paying attention to detail, finding motivation and developing a work ethic. She said the frustration of learning of an instrument is an opportunity for Brunt to help the kids work through their difficulties.
Additionally, the music room provides an area to relax and allows the kids to recover mentally.
“Just being able to go in and pick up some drumsticks, then drum away and let the worries of your school day or something else go away,” Arias said. “Just focus on something that is beautiful and creating art.”