Children were able to meet their potential best friend, and maker of friends, learn a universal language and a new way to express themselves while at the Arts Council of Lincoln County Guitar Camp on Tuesday. The arts council came together with Guitar Wishes to host this unique camp. Thirty students signed up and, as part of the camp, they received a dreadnought acoustic guitar, guitar stand and case, tuner, one free music lesson at Guitar Wishes and an instructional CD.
In the beginning of the camp, there was a lot of excitement as the children examined their guitars, played them (as best they could) and talked amongst themselves. When the first instructor, musician Jeff Gates, stepped up to the microphone, the children paid him little attention at first.
“Everybody in this world wants the same thing,” Gates told the campers “They just want to be heard and to have a voice. The thing about playing a guitar is that it gives you a voice.”
Seeing that the children weren’t listening to him, Gates put down the microphone, picked up his guitar and started playing. Immediately there was silence and attention.
“I just rested my case,” Gates said, and continued with his lesson.
When Calhoun asked Gates to help him out, Gates didn’t even ask him what he’d be doing, he just said yes.
“The truth is, even as late as this morning at 6:00, I didn’t know what I was getting into,” he said. “When I saw a picture on the web this morning of a lot of guitars, I figured there was a lot of kids and it was going to be a lot of fun.”
One of the campers, Gabby Sellers, 12, said that she was so excited before coming to the class that she didn’t sleep much the night before. She’s been marking the days off on the calendar until the date of guitar camp.
“I’ve never learned guitar and I’ve wanted to for a while,” she said. “I’m going to practice and love it.”
Musician John Fitzgerald-McGill, from Clover, South Carolina, was another one of the many people who helped out with the class.
“The biggest thing for me in life is not the touring or where I’ve been, it’s the giving back,” he said. “Playing the guitar has helped me meet a lot of people, taken me places where I never dreamed I’d go and it’s also brought me joy when I was really sad. I play a lot of instruments but the guitar is my go-to.”
The camp raised approximately $2,000 for the Arts Council.