Joy of Music party benefits school offering free music lessons

A party tonight offers a fun evening out while you support free music lessons for young people.

Holiday Sparkles and Spirits benefits the Joy of Music School. One of the talented student hopes to take his music to the next level.

Caleb Lukkarila decided to play saxophone in middle school because it looked cool. Then he continued to play in the band at Fulton High School, where he's a senior.

"I had seen someone play saxophone professionally and it was just like when a magician does a magic trick and your just.. how does that happen? How are you doing that right now? And I wanted to get good like it," he said.

And he did.

His sophomore year, Caleb Lukkarila started one-on-one music lessons here at the Joy of Music School where Francis Graffeo is Executive Director.

"We provide free music lessons, and instruments, and supplies and everything to kids who can't afford them. So we have over 200 kids that get private music lessons here with a volunteer teacher every week," he said.

"Everything I can do is due to this school. It wouldn't have happened without this school. It wouldn't be possible," Caleb said.

He has learned his lessons well.

"We always call music here an art and a discipline and when you see them both happening at the same time it's truly amazing. And you see that in Caleb," Graffeo said.

Many instructors have donated their time to teach Caleb. But one stands out.

"Really it's just Jerry Coker. I'm studying with Jerry Coker. That's really awesome," he said.

Francis Graffeo explained, "If you're studying jazz in college you're probably using Jerry Coker's text book no matter where you are in college."

Caleb said, "Even though he's the best in the world he knows how to get on my level and explain to me how to do that because he's been there and he's been teaching forever do he's a master at it so it's great, it's really a privilege."

"He doesn't just teach Caleb how to play the saxophone. He teaches him about jazz. He teaches him the concepts, the history, the way jazz should be played," Graffeo said.

Caleb said, "I couldn't play like I can play if it wasn't for the Joy of Music."

He's experienced the joy of playing the saxophone and learning from the best.

"I want to go to UT to study jazz performance," he said.

And he hopes to one day donate his time to instruct students at the Joy of Music School.

"I would like to help somebody else like I've been helped," he said.

Holiday Sparkles and Spirits is tonight from 6:30 to 10:00 at Cherokee Mills. Tickets are $75 at the door. It benefits the Joy of Music School.


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