Chanel joined Rock to the Future in the fall of 2018, when MusiCore Kensington moved into Kensington High School. The 10th grader has been playing guitar ever since. As a member of the Student House Band, Chanel commits to extra practice time and performance opportunities. Chanel takes her responsibility as a House Band member seriously outside of practice as well. She sees herself as an ambassador of Rock to the Future: "With new people, if I see they’re sitting at a table alone I’ll just walk up to them and be like “hi,” and introduce myself, and tell them about Rock to the Future and let them know that they don’t have to be scared to talk to us, because we’re friendly people." When the new school year started in September, Chanel and her bandmate Will went around to the new students to make sure everyone felt welcomed.
"Literally the next day, they were sitting at tables together and everyone was talking to each other. That really opened up a place in my heart. It made me so happy, because I never thought I could bring people together. Sometimes I feel nervous to talk to new people, but because I’m comfortable here, I just saw that it was necessary for me to make sure other people were as comfortable as I am."
This spring, Chanel wrote and recorded the original track Coldstone with the Student House Band. The band played Coldstone, along with some of their favorite cover songs, live on stage in front of a crowd of over 250 people at the 2019 Music for All Ball.
Playing guitar on stage is huge for Chanel. She started playing guitar when she was seven years old, but had never taken guitar lessons until she joined Rock to the Future.
Chanel hopes to keep growing as a musician. She's learning eleven songs with the Student House Band this year, and she's trying to learn to play three songs from one of her favorite bands, Tame Impala. Fourteen songs is a lot to learn, but Chanel isn't giving up: "I look forward to learning new things every day. I want to learn new things at Rock to the Future, take it home and practice, and get it in my head. Then, I want to feed the things I learned about my instrument back into my band and pass it on. I want to learn everything that I can, and use that knowledge as a tool for my music. My goal for this year is to keep trying and never give up. I want to keep learning and getting better with my instrument."
Your support helped Chanel to achieve her dreams. Chanel set ambitious goals for herself, worked hard, and was able to reach her goals and rock on stage. At Rock to the Future, our students learn that the confidence needed to be a musician, bandmate, and performer is transferable to all stages of life. Will you give the gift of music to students like Chanel this year?
"I love playing my guitar, and Rock to the Future gave me the capability to play as well as I do now. I appreciate you all! Rock to the Future is a peaceful, friendly space that you can be in with no drama while you learn new things."
- Chanel, 10th Grade
Unfortunately, there is a music education gap in Philadelphia. It can be hard or impossible for students to find affordable music programs. Rock to the Future believes that high-quality music programs give students important tools to grow — not just musically, but academically, socially, and emotionally. With your generous support, Rock to the Future is able to provide free, innovative music programs for hundreds of Philadelphia students each year who would otherwise not have access to music education. Your donation helps youth in Philadelphia to find their voice.
Rock to the Future is committed to the growth of students like Chanel. Funding for the arts fluctuates, but Rock to the Future provides consistent music education because all youth need the skills and life lessons learned on stage. Will you support Rock to the Future to help us provide a safe, encouraging space for youth to grow at their own pace and in their own way? Thanks to a generous donor, your gift of any size will be matched if you donate to us by 12/31/19 – that means that your gift is doubled! Your tax-deductible gift means so much to Chanel and students like her, who are discovering their voices with us every day.