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Music Saved My Life

Music Saved My Life

Jan 10, 2022

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Kelijah Dunton

To put it simply.. Music Saved My Life. 

Growing up in inner NYC, I was the kid who never had much. I lived with my father in a basement with no windows. Everything I wore was either "hand-me-downs" or counterfeit. I was the weird kid that loved anime and read comic books. I was a bit of a loner that always felt misunderstood and detached. The reason why I'm telling you all of this is because I was lucky enough to find a small light in my childhood chapters of darkness & loneliness... 

Fast forward to my first day of high school, .. my anxiety sky high, my social skills,.. non existent. So there I am in the cafeteria on my first day. I see this well dressed man coming up to me. I figured he must be a teacher so I made eye contact lol. It was the band director of the school I was now attending and he asked me to join his band program. In my head, I say... "bAnD?!" "You want me to be in a rock band?" ... I don't think I really look the part LOL. But I couldn't help but notice the other kids around me were signing up, so I said what the hell,.. not thinking anything of it. 

I finally get 4th period band on my schedule and I'm nervous because I don't know what to expect. My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. But I go anyway. I feel like my band experience from highschool changed my life in so many ways. Like I said, before this, I was a loner. A nerd, a weirdo,.. or at least that's what everyone told me.. including my own family. So it goes without saying,.. I was filled with resentment at an early age. What happens when you mix resentment with the raging hormones of puberty? Nothing good lol .. NOTHING. 

So I was smart enough to know that I needed a change of pace and band was my way out. I knew that it was one of my only ways to create friendships, find myself, and build my self esteem. 

I met all kinds of people there that I still cherish to this day and  I'm especially grateful to that man I met in the cafeteria that day. I know what I could've been... who I could've been, ...and where I could've been. 

My real passion and goal in life is show other young men & women like me that there are so many other ways out of that dark place we were raised into. Through music, I want to help us all rise out of the pain we had to endure as kids. I want to help save young peoples lives by setting an example of what's possible for an inner city kid like myself. If I could sum up my appreciation for this community in just a few words, it would be,.. YOU , yes, YOU ALL saved my life. Thank you.. 

- Kelijah

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