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Strings for Dreams-Oct. 1

Volume 2, Issue 3

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First Fundraiser Concert a Huge Success

This year, Strings for

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Dreams wanted to give kids the chance to be able to experience Dreams held its first Feel the the live music atmosphere in an Music fundraiser and awareness up close and personal way. They concert in the Daddy’ O’s Music don’t get much of a chance to do parking lot. Local musicians such as the Bo Phillip’s band, the Russell that because the majority of music Wiley Edward’s Band and Exit 174 venues in the area are bars and dance halls. performed. As the first Feel the Music Strings for Dreams was event was a huge success, Strings hoping to raise $1,000 from the for Dreams plans on holding concert with ticket sales and the event annually in the middle donations, but that goal was of September. Stillwater native, shattered thanks to the wonderful Ryan Dawson, said he thoroughly community of Stillwater. enjoyed the show. All together, $1,200 was “I was glad to be able and raised from ticket sales alone, get out and catch some live music while $2,700 came from donations. with my two kids,” Dawson said. After the donations were added up, “Me and my boys haven’t ever got Strings for Dreams President Kyle Bottger was overwhelmed with the the chance to do something like this together until this, and I plan community’s generosity. on making it to the show each “I knew that Stillwater and the surrounding communities year.” During the show, there would come out to support our were also prizes given away that cause, but I wasn’t even in the consisted of iTunes gift cards, ballpark when I guessed we headphones and autographed could potentially raise $1,000.” guitars from the bands. Some of Bottger said. “I am so thankful the prize guitars included a Fender that we have such a supportive Stratacoustic, an Ibanez Sage community because if it wasn’t for the wonderful people of Stillwater, Series acoustic and a Martin LX1 our organization would struggle to acoustic. Tickets for the show were survive.” only $7 and will remain at that The purpose price for future shows. of the concert was to reveal to parents the opportunities children can have through music. Also, Strings for

Inside The Soundboard • • • • •

Director’s Note----------2 Student of the Month---2 Spreading Hope---------3 Getting Involved--------4 Upcoming Events-------4

Gina J. Noble, Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Media & Strategic Communications 315 Paul Miller Building Stillwater, OK 74078 405-744-8276


A Word from the Director

rom the beginning, I knew this organization would be a success, but I just wasn’t quite sure where it was heading. We started out with two students, which quickly increased to 10 and in a matter of months, we had more than 50 students. I want to take this time to thank the great community of Stillwater for all that you have done for this organization and these children. If it weren’t for you, none of this would have been possible. You have helped us change so many kids’ lives through music, and our organization is highly appreciative of that. All together, we have raised more than $12,000 for our organization through donations and events. Just this past September, we raised $3,900 from the first Feel the Music fundraiser concert, which shattered our expectations. That money is now being used to buy

new instruments for our students, and has also allowed us to take them to see a concert in the Chesapeake Arena. In the future, we plan on using all the donations for the same purpose. However, we hope to grow large enough to accomodate our prospective students’ interests musically by providing other instruments besides acoustic guitars. Our organization is thoroughly impressed with the effort and generosity of the Stillwater community. Again, without this effort, our organization would struggle to exist, and the children we are taking in would not be getting the opportunities that they are. Thank you so much, and be sure to stay tuned for upcoming events.

Kyle Bottger

Student of the Month Our student of the month

“The next two weeks, we are going to try and work with something a little tougher with him because he had not a problem with this song at all, and he has only been playhing for a year.” Shane hopes to pursue a career in the music industry as a rock star, but he said if he can’t be on the stage, he would like to help the ones who get that opportunity. “If I don’’t ever get the chance to play for a living, I want to attend Full Sail University and become a music producer to help others pursue their dreams,” Shane said.

for October is Shane Mills. Shane is 13 and was born in Wysox, Penn., where he lived most of his younger childhood. Shane is our student of the month for October because of his pure determination to better himself on the acoustic guitar. In merely two weeks, Shane learned how to play Glycerine by Bush with very little help from his instructor Tyler Ortega. “He is very impressive, but these past few weeks have really set a new tone for him,” Ortega said.


Spreading Hope; James Rasmussen’s Road to Success

His past is still with him, but merely hanging by a

string. Between the times that he is traveling the nation via tour bus and selling out music venues, James Rasmussen is sometimes reminded of his childhood that so many are unaware of. Born in Highland Park, a poverty stricken Detroit suburb, James was faced with several issues that no child should have to deal with. Not only is the area drug inhabited, but 43.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. When he was just 6 years old, James’s parents were evicted from their home and arrested for drug abuse one week later. James was placed in an orphanage and bounced around from house to house all throughout Detroit for a year. He would get to stay just long enough to make a new friend before he was sent to another house. Finally, things began to look better for James as his grandmother, Abilene Thomas, heard of the news. At this time she was the only family member deemed appropriate to raise him. Abilene drove to Detroit to get James and bring him to her home in Stillwater, Okla. His life took an immediate turn for the better that day. Two weeks later, he began attending school in Stillwater and became involved with the music program there, but singing wasn’t enough for James. “I guess you could say I had the typical rock star dream as a child,” James said. “I had asked for a guitar that Christmas, but the problem was we were so broke at the time it was just impossible.” One day walking back to class from lunch, James spotted a poster in the elementary hallway advertising the Strings for Dreams program in Stillwater. The program offered free musical instruments and training for underprivileged children. He immediately told his grandma, and after qualifying for the program, received his guitar and started his training. Tyler Ortega, an instructor for the program,, was James’s first instructor.

“This kid didn’t just have potential, but the desire, the patience and everything in between.”


“This kid didn’t just have potential, but the desire, the patience and everything in between,” Ortega said. “I knew this kid would go far, and it’s the stories like this that really make me love being a part of this organization.” James spent almost 8 years with Strings for Dreams as a student and now contributes regularly to the program. He even opened his own branch in Detroit. James is also the lead guitarist and singer for A Moment of Clarity, the multi-platinum band that released its first album in 2003. “It feels great to be able to help not only in Stillwater, but in my hometown too,” James said. “I know what it’s like to live in poverty stricken areas in Detroit, and for me to know that I can help children through music, it makes me appreciate life that much more.” James hopes to open more branches across the nation to spread his love for music and to help the children who are going through what he experienced as a child. For more information about Strings for Dreams, or to make a donation, please visit

Getting Involved

Becoming involved

the best decisions he has ever made. “To get to make a difference in a child’s life makes a huge difference in my life,” Ortega said. “I will be a part of this organization until I die.” If your organization or company would like to become involved with us by donating, simply visit our website at Help us help the children.

with Strings for Dreams is easy and fun. If you are interested in becoming an instructor for us, just swing by our office at 223 N. Main St. Stillwater, Okla., 74075 and pick up an application. The next step is just to wait on us to call you as we must do a background check to see if you qualify to be an instructor for our program. We are always looking for more instructors who are willing to put in a little bit of time to help change a child’s life. We do lessons on Saturdays and they typically last for four or five hours at the most. It is truly surprising what just this amount of time can do for a child. Since we started our organization, we have only had one instructor leave us due to family problems. Other than that, we have had a solid core of instructors that the kids enjoy spending time with while learning how to play the guitar. Our first instructor that joined us was Tyler Ortega, and he said it was one of

“To get to make a difference in a child’s life makes a huge difference in my life.”








Parents’ Day


Halloween Party


The Soundboard  
The Soundboard  

October newsletter for Strings for Dreams