This Girl Has Rhythm

This Girl Has Rhythm

click here Aug 8, 2018

by Chicago Regional Director Andrew DeMuro What words come to mind when you see the young drummer in this photo? For me, focused, determined, and driven are all at the forefront. Believe it or not, Yailin Rojas — a South Side Chicago native and the daughter of Mexican immigrants — hardly embodied those traits when she first came to Guitars Over Guns. I remember Yailin as a 6th grader at Evergreen Academy Middle School — a bright-eyed, 11-year-old live wire who couldn’t decide where to invest her time. On a given afternoon, Yailin could be found playing basketball, painting the class mural, or performing in the drumline. Today, Yailin cites her constant bouncing between activities as her search for a more permanent home — a place where she could be herself and truly test the limits of her own capabilities. She found that home in Guitars Over Guns. Since a rocky 6th grade year which saw her leave and rejoin the group on three distinct occasions, Yailin settled in as lead drummer in the Guitars Over Guns rock band, and has become one of our most committed young musicians in the Chicago region. A fiend for a good challenge, Yailin has relished in opportunities to audition for select ensembles, lead band rehearsals, try new instruments (she already knows five), and perform original music. She’s shared her talents with peers from every corner of our city as a member of the CPS All-City Band, and at venues ranging from the United Center, Do Division Street Fest and Reggie’s Rock Club, to the Ronald McDonald House, Mariano’s Market, and the McKinley...
Chicago students release a “beautiful” new music video

Chicago students release a “beautiful” new music video

generic viagra without prescription Jul 22, 2018

Have you seen the latest music video from our Chicago students? Their awesome cover of Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful,” dropped on July 20 and has touched the hearts of so many viewers. In fact, the students at Evergreen Academy Middle School chose the song “not just for the music, but for the message.” The students say that the decision was easy “because the song has a message that other people need to hear, especially now.” They want the audience to know “that they’re beautiful – whoever and wherever they are.” Once the song was chosen, it was time to record! The Evergreen Academy students fearlessly accepted the challenge of recording in only one day – a daunting task requiring top-notch musicianship and professionalism. Our partners from 35th Street Studios and Tall Tale Productions documented the process. Reflecting on the experience, our Chicago students want their audience to know that “recording is a long process. It requires a lot of patience, focus, and nonverbal communication. You end up waiting around and being quiet for most of the day, so you really have to trust in yourself and in your bandmates. Drummers have it especially tough because they have to play to a click track, which makes the song sound perfectly on beat.” The result of one long day’s work is a beautiful music video featuring 22 students ranging from 6th to 8th grade. For the video, mentor Phil Jacobson had students create individual posters to describe what beauty looks, sounds, and feels like to them. Responses ranged from “Peace is Beautiful,” to “Hoodies are Beautiful,” to “Tacos son Bonitos.” Our...
Mentors Share Stories Through Drawing

Mentors Share Stories Through Drawing

Dec 11, 2017

We asked our mentors to share their favorite Guitars Over Guns experiences by drawing them out. Overwhelmingly, what they shared through images and words were stories of youth who didn’t know their own potential until they joined the program, and mentors who were sometimes just as affected as those they’ve taught. We are reminded once again that our mentors are not just teaching music; they are, in many ways, saving lives. See what inspires our mentors to carry out the work they do with our students every day. Mentor Jessica F. “At the #Superfriends program at Williams Park, there was one student in my group named Nathan. Nathan was in 4th grade. He had behavioral issues in and out of school on a daily basis. He was often defiant and disruptive when it was time to listen or during instruction, and was withdrawn during moments of class sharing. But Nathan deserved an opportunity to grow. As the sessions progressed, I questioned whether Nathan truly wanted to be in the program since the first time around he was actually assigned to be in my group. When the second semester came around and students had the opportunity to choose their new groups, Nathan ran to my section. I asked him if he was sure and he nodded his head enthusiastically. As the semester progressed, his behavior, his rhythmic abilities, improvisation and emotional sharing through creative activity increased drastically. Nathan is one pretty awesome kid and I look forward to seeing him again this year.” Mentor Stephanie Fravel “On Mother’s Day, I watched a group of GOGO students perform an original song...
Harvey’s Heroes

Harvey’s Heroes

One year ago, the Steve Harvey Show welcomed a very special guest. Chad Bernstein, our Founder & CEO, took a seat between Steve Harvey and music legend L.A. Reid to share the Guitars Over Guns story. Steve presented Chad with a generous gift card courtesy of Sweetwater Music & Pro Audio, and at the end of the segment, Chad was honored as one of Harvey’s Heroes! This week, Chad headed back to the studio to give Steve an update on how our program has grown since his last time on the show. From last year’s 250 students to this year’s 618, we’re so excited to leave a lasting impact on deserving youth in Miami and Chicago! Major thanks to Steve Harvey for the support! Check out what Chad had to say in the video below, and stick around till the end to catch an epic live performance from our Haven Studio...
Golf for a Cause

Golf for a Cause

We had a great time raising money “fore” our music mentorship programs at our first-ever major Chicago fundraiser! The 1st Annual Jimmy Ranoha Memorial Golf Tournament took place on September 15th at Pine Meadow Golf Club. The event was the personal mission of longtime Guitars Over Guns friend Jimmy Ranoha, who was planning the tournament when he passed away suddenly last year. “He was a uniquely loving human being, with one of the biggest hearts on the planet,” said Guitars Over Guns Co-Founder Bob Bernstein. What better way to honor a dear friend than through a meaningful day of sunshine, smiles and community? Guests arrived to support the organization Jimmy loved with a day on the links followed by an evening of live music and dancing. Thanks to the generosity of our guests and sponsors, we were able to raise $65,000 in honor of Jimmy’s memory and to help grow our music mentorship programs for at-risk...