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'All about collaborating and working together': Free guitar lessons for kids at the Belle Center

“We feel it’s injustice for students to not be able to have the gift of music.”
Posted at 11:27 PM, Feb 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 11:08:01-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Hispanic Heritage Council is providing free guitar lessons to Buffalo’s youth at the Belle Center to shine a light on helping kids create music.

Some students say they’re enjoying the opportunity.

“I used to look up guitar lessons and they were very expensive,” says 11-year-old Romel Williams. “I've been wanting to learn as many instruments as I can. I'm learning guitar and piano right now.”

And it’s all free of charge.

“It's great when you can provide free things for the community. It’s all about collaborating and working together,” says Lucy Candelario, an executive director of the Belle Center. “Just to provide a better community for folks here down on the Lower West Side.”

The guitar instructors say it’s an honor to provide music to this community.

“Honestly one of the main reasons why we’re here is to provide music to those who are underserved,” says Francis Ferri, a guitar instructor. “And provide music to those who go to school that may not have music programs."

Guitar instructor Conn Sullivan shares with 7 News reporter Yoselin Person his thoughts on being able to give back to the community through music.

“Unfortunately, there’s not as much instrument instruction in school as there used to be, I feel like these days, and private lessons are expensive,” Sullivan says. “It’s tough for students that want to start, but don't have a good gateway into it.”

The young musicians are getting ready to perform at the International Guitar Festival at the University at Buffalo in March.

“I'm excited because it’s probably going to be cool, and it’s the first one ever so it’s going to be cool to perform in it,” Williams says.

The Hispanic Heritage Council also provides guitars, music stands, and footstools to help students bring their music to life.

“It feels relaxing. It doesn’t work on my nerves,” says 13-year-old Leonard Fields. “It allows me to focus, and it’s a nice thing to do.”

If you’re a parent thinking about registering your child for the Hispanic Heritage Council’s free guitar lessons it’s not too late to do so.

Below is the information that you need to register your student:

Dr. Saeb, Director

Conn Sullivan, Instructor

Frankie Ferri, Instructor

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