September 27 was a day that God provided a beautiful one for a festival at the Tennessee School for the blind. Just cool enough, with a little chill in the air, for long sleeves, an exceptionally gorgeous fall day. Superintendent Dr. David Martin was enthusiastically thanking everyone for coming onto campus on this day sponsored by Dobie Gray, the artist who made “Drift Away” a pop rock classic. There were games, a huge portable stage with a succession of musicians contributing their talents gracing it, students loving the sounds and a hot dog truck with the longest line ever serving up franks to one student after another. T-shirts with the lyric “Oh give me the beat boys and free my soul. I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away,” flew off of the table where they were being sold, and it was obvious that a good time was had by all. Tammy and Jack got to see some old friends, Georgette Seay (running around organizing musical appearances) and Judy Dunning (manning the wheel of gifts table) and met some new ones that have been serving the students for a long time.
Music Director James Everette had recently reached out to Tammy Rugg-Klinefelter on behalf of a student named Cody who did not have the instrument he needed to participate in the jazz band. With no funds readily available, James explained that the school needed a vibraphone for this student and future students to play. While researching them he discovered that they were kinda expensive, therefore the “call out” to Matty’s Vision. Tammy, after searching from potential resource to resource found a friend in the Music and Arts location in Hendersonville Tennessee. After being moved by the mission of the foundation and checking with the proper authorities Katie at Music and Arts found a way to provide a vibraphone for Matty’s Vision to gift the school at an impressive discount. This retailer was obviously more concerned about supporting the needs of the students than profit because they saved Matty’s Vision (a 501C3) a lot of money while helping make the gift a reality. They actually delivered it directly to the school! Support like this from the local retail community is really appreciated.
Near the end of the day, as the sun was sinking, James, with Jack and Tammy in tow, went to the music room with Cody where he was presented his new instrument. The elation was reserved but evident. He was excited to have the vibraphone which will allow him to participate in his unique instrument of choice. As always, Jack and Tammy were left with a HUGE sense of gratitude for the opportunity to help this dream come true. Also, with the reinforced feeling of being impressed with the job that James, and educators like him, do to help these very special students reach their potential. A less compassionate and dedicated teacher would not have gone the extra mile as he did.
In summary, if you ever get invited to Rocktoberfest be sure to take the school up on the invitation! It is a wonderful experience, a very good place to be and beside that, once a year…It ROCKS!!!!!