Hammond Artist VEL LEWIS is making good things happen in Houston Texas.
The veteran Jazzman has established an Instrument Fund Program for disadvantaged yet talented students in grades 9 through 12 whose families have not been able to purchase an instrument for them. In some cases, students may have lost their instruments or they were damaged because of Hurricane Harvey. The concept behind this program came about after Vel had been working with the Edison Arts Foundation’s “Afterschool Arts Academy” as their Lead Music Instructor, teaching youngsters in grades 2 through 5th at Jean Hinds Caldwell Elementary School. At the end of the program, a concert was held for the parents to see how their children were now able to perform. Within three weeks time, Vel’s friend (and renowned saxophonist) Dean James were able to teach these students how to make sounds with flutes, clarinets, a saxophone, piano, and drums. The parents were amazed to see their children perform as well as they did. But, it broke Vel’s heart when a set of triplets approached at the end of the program and said, “Mr. Lewis… do we have to give the instruments back now?” Vel decided immediately he would come up with a plan to help students have their own instrument.
Partnering with two non-profit corporations to help manage and administer this program – the Edison Arts Foundation and the Fort Bend Education Foundation , Vel has met with Houston City Council members to review and discuss this Instrument Fund Program.
The Recording Academy, Texas Chapter Vice President and Education Committee Chair reviewed the Instrument Fund Program website, and made the following comments: “Very Cool, lots of great points, good interview with Trish on the Hybrid Jazz From Trish Hennessey show, she will be sure to pass this info onto fellow members in the Houston area, and would like to stay updated.”
Vel’s goal is to have students who receive instruments through this program, perform with him onstage during the next season.
Vel will kick off the Instrument Fund Program with a Summer Jazz Concert & Dinner 3:30pm Sunday, August 12, 2018 at Safari Texas Ranch (http://www.safaritexasballroom.com) .
On August 2nd, Vel and his band will be taping an appearance on the “Great Day Houston” TV show, shown on CBS-affiliate station KHOU-TV Channel 11 here in Houston to help promote the Instrument Fund Program, the kickoff concert, and present a new song Vel composed and recorded with his band entitled “Can You Help” (Houston Strong theme) for the City of Houston. Vel recorded this song using his Hammond Sk2.