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Band offers underprivileged youths hands-on exposure to music

Hours before their March 24 show inside Club Madrid at Sunset Station, members of the band Otherwise were strumming their guitars just like any other practice.

But this time it was more special, as they were joined by students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, who were taking guitar lessons from the band members.

“This is something that should be happening regularly,” said band member Ryan Patrick Boylan.

The idea of the event was to give students who might not have access to musical opportunities a chance to experience the arts in a new way.

Gabriel Suarez, marketing manager for the Boys & Girls Clubs, said the organization is always looking for ways to expose youths to different opportunities.

With the help of Sunset Station, 1301 W. Sunset Road, it was able to bring eight interested students from the Donald W. Reynolds Clubhouse, 2980 Robindale Road, to learn about music.

“Ne-Yo came out of the Boys & Girls Club,” Suarez said of the R&B singer and songwriter who grew up in Las Vegas. “You never know how students will be impacted.”

Though logistically it seemed like a perfect fit to ask Otherwise to help out since they were playing at Sunset Station that night, it’s part of the band’s passion to give back to the community.

Otherwise was started by locals Boylan and his brother Adrian Patrick. As graduates of Las Vegas Academy, they know firsthand how inspirational music programs can be for youths.

While performing around the country and having hit songs on the radio, the band members wanted to make sure they gave back to the community — to other students in particular.

They created a Life By Music Foundation to continue helping students to have access to the arts and decided to take on opportunities such as the one presented by the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“The idea is to provide underprivileged kids with an opportunity to be involved with the arts,” Ryan Patrick said.

The band started the March 24 program with musically themed arts and crafts. Students painted and sketched guitars as band members explained some of the chords they would be learning. Then each student was matched with a band member, who went over aspects of the guitar.

Nick Giordano, a friend of the band helping out at the event, stood in front of his students holding an Eko guitar. He strummed E minor, explaining how he made the sound. Handing the guitar to each youth, he guided their hands over the strings, adjusting the position until their fingers were just right.

And just like that, the student found his sound.

“You’re picking this up pretty quickly,” Giordano said.

By the time the lesson was over, students were lighting up every time they heard they got a note correct.

“You guys need to make sure you keep practicing,” Adrian Patrick said.

Though it was a successful day, Ryan Patrick said it doesn’t stop there.

“We plan to go back into the clubs to continue to teach them,” he said.

Before the kids parted ways, the band formed a circle and played one of their songs. As they began playing and singing, they encouraged the children to play the chords they had just learned and then taught them some of the lyrics.

“You guys are part of the band now,” Adrian Patrick said. “You guys are sounding great.”

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter:@mjlyle.

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