New Milford Man Gives the Gift of Music to Kids
It wasn't easy for Vinny Rodriguez to move with his family from the Bronx to Yonkers when he was 8-years-old. His only friend at the time was his guitar.
According to CT Insider, Vinny, who's now 58, has a job he enjoys and considers music as his life's passion. His boss, Mike Boyle, the president of Base Technologies, handed over $500 to each of his employees to donate to whoever they wished.
Vinny purchased three guitars with the sole purpose of giving them away to children. He posted about his 'guitar giveaway' on Facebook, not knowing that people would react by cheering him on by donating money to support his cause. Vinny was so moved by how the kids reacted when receiving their new guitars that he wrote lyrics to an old tune he used to play to get his son to sleep. It's called "Smiles I Can't See."
Since August 2020, people from all over Connecticut have been sending him checks, handing him cash and even sending him money through cash apps on the internet. Vinnie told CT Insider,
It just kind of snowballed. Not only are people donating, but they're donating two, three, sometimes even four times because they want me to keep this going.
Donations have been ongoing to the tune of $8,500 and have enabled Vinny to give away his 40th guitar recently. There is an underlying reason why Vinny chose to donate musical instruments, which, as most parents know, is the strong attraction of cell phones and video games.
He says, "At night, they're staring at their phones, there's no social interaction, there's no music. It's something you can do other than technology."
Way back in the days before the internet was even a consideration; I'm talking the year 1964, my dad bought me my first guitar. It was a 1964 Danelectro.
I immediately signed up for lessons at a music store in East Rochester, NY, with a Rock n' Roll dude named Chaz. He smelled like cigarettes and I remember him teaching me the beginning guitar lick to the Beatles, 'Daytripper.'
We need more dudes like Vinny Rodriguez in this world during this time. From all of us here at i95 Rock, Vinny, thanks for helping keep the music alive within our kids.