Talon News - Good Local News

By Thomas Hinds


Freedom in Music Project


March 10, 2017

What do you do when you love playing music and your health won't allow you to keep up the pace you once did? Well for Phil Oliveras, with Risen Music Ministries, you begin a project to bring hope and inspiration to a group of youth that have fallen between the cracks of society and rarely escape the cycle. This project is called The Freedom In Music Project, and is directed towards the youth in the juvenile corrections system. A growing number of youth are being swallowed up in what appears to be a hopeless and endless cycle of incarceration.

Six and a half years ago Phil took the steps towards reaching out to a group of young people who were hungry for a way to express themselves and work through the darkness that they were born into. Phil and other volunteers go into juvenile detention centers throughout New Mexico and introduce them to the guitar. They play a concert for the kids and introduce them to the "how to" of playing, then they present a number of instruments, songbooks, CDs, and find other volunteers to come in and help instruct any of the kids interested in playing. That instructor will then work with the facility in keeping the project going. They currently have 10 programs running in various facilities, with amazing results. "The way these kids respond after picking up a guitar and learning a few chords, is a beautiful thing," says Phil Oliveras. "It is like a light comes on and their entire demeanor changes for the better."

The Freedom in Music Project is 100% volunteer, and every penny goes to the foundation. Each facility is presented with a handful of guitars, strings, tuners, stands and gig bags at no cost to the facility. Then, when they get to the area where they are going to make presentations, l Phil's band High Desert Blues Band plays a concert locally and they raffle an autographed guitar. Tickets are $10 each with a chance to win a great name brand guitar. Thanks to George Rowe, on April 1st the band will be playing at Crash Music in from Aztec 8-11 pm. Be sure and pick your tickets up early as there is no doubt they will go quickly.

To become a volunteer for the Freedom in Music foundation you can look up freedominmusicproject.com and there are a multitude of ways to help support with time and donations. Later in the year the foundation's big fundraiser concert will be at Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership in Taos, New Mexico. The 12 hours of great music will be June 9th and 10th.

In a day and age where art and music programs are being cut, the rise in troubled youth and the lack of outlets for positive energy to be created out of negative situations, it is a breath of fresh air to find hearts and souls like the ones found in the Freedom in Music Project. They are making a difference one life at a time. Be sure and come see them at Crash Music, downtown Aztec on April 1.

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