Minnesotans Making An Impression – dVRG

1mac1Would you know a real life superhero if you met one?

I used to ponder the question with variants: Would I know as soon as we met, would it be something I discovered on accident, would I not ever know, would it be like Superman where obviously Clark and Superman are the same person, but put on some glasses and I’m blind to the obvious?

You know, the typical, “are-there-really-superheros-and-if-so-what’sup-with-that” barely post-juvenile Marvel Comic fantasy questions. Or is it just me?

I haven’t pondered the question in a while, I know the answer, indeed there are real life superheros. One such real living hero is dVRG. As the keeper of the keys for Heiruspecs he’s the classically trained concerto pianist/composer turned hip hop with a flair for solid jazz arrangement. While as the Community Liaison for MacPhail Center for Music he spends workdays seeking, promoting, and cultivating musical talent amongst Minnesota’s youth.

His mission: Power the Archibald Bush Foundation’s,which has an epic legacy of helping Minnesota, quest to award diversity scholarships. Simply put,if not understated, deVon gives good kids a chance to turn dreams into reality.

Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better person for the job.

So …

I wanted to get a better feel for what exactly deVon does and hear some of the stories and struggles he encounters. As he showed me around the MacPhail Center I was impressed by the teens that were milling about and studying. “Are you taking me to the principal’s office?” I enquired and he replied, “Music students are good kids. We don’t really have a principal.”

What?! A school without a principal?

We moved on to various levels of the building while deVon enthusiastically explained to me how the kids are in charge of putting on shows to perform while detailing the level of dedication a typical student at Macphail has and the types of resources Macphail has to help students craft their skill; deVon believes that classical music study teaches as much about life as it does about an instrument. As we had lunch and talked about various students which he’s given scholarships the theme of self improvement through music came up many times. (Even though I was intentionally avoiding talking about the newly released Heiruspecs CD. ) In an interesting twist that reinforces the theory of self improvement through music it was noted that deVon does not typically offer 100 percent,full ride, scholarships. “They have to work for it.” Which means sometimes the kids have to get a part time job to make up the difference and deVon is convinced that students contributing something towards their schooling adds to the program’s success. “If you give something away for free it can be perceived as not having value.” An age old mantra and I was glad to hear it’s getting passed on to younger generations.

If you’re looking to support the arts with a donation to a quality organization the Macphail Center for the arts gets my vote. Or maybe you’re looking for a fun night out with some great music then you should check out their events. Certainly, if you know a child with a strong interest in music, you should take her or him to Macphail for a visit or fire up the 10,000 watt superhero signal and give Community Liaison deVon Gray a call.

The kid you know just might be a superhero waiting to discover the power of music.

(My Macphail Photo Set)

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