Grammy-award-winning Christian rock band Switchfoot has announced it is opening a pay-as-you-can music school in California for less-fortunate children to provide them with "tool that will give them a lifetime of joy."
The new school, called Bro-Am Studios, is located in Encinitas, California--the band's hometown. "Encinitas has a really wide socioeconomic makeup," Switchfoot drummer Chad Butler told the Encinitas Advocate."Kids here in our own backyard don't necessarily have all the opportunities that we did growing up."
Currently, the band is picking the instructors for the school and will provide both group and individual lessons in guitar and piano for children ages 8-18.
"We just wanted to throw a party for these kids that don't get celebrated," Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman told the San Diego Tribune."We wanted to cheer them on, and say: 'Your story matters. You're important.' And we wanted to give them more than just money; we wanted to give them the idea that their community cares about them."
According to the Tribune, the group views Bro-Am Studios as an extension of its annual Bro-Am surf event and multi-band concert, which concludes each year with a performance by Switchfoot.The multiplatinum band launched the popular event in 2005, aiming to benefit homeless and at-risk youth, and over the years it has raised more than $1 million for San Diego-based children's charities
"The Switchfoot Bro-Am is a surf contest and a concert on the beach, in our hometown, that has raised money primarily for homeless and at-risk youth," Foreman explained.
"We figured surfing and rock 'n' roll were the two things that kind of kept us out of trouble when we were kids, (so) let's try and pass that forward," the "Meant to Live" singer continued. "This school is, I guess, a logical extension of that. We got to thinking: 'The Bro-Am happens one day a year. What if we had a physical location we could bring people to, and have that (Bro-Am concept) lived out, 365 days of the year?'"
In addition to music lessons, Bro-Am Studios will have small concerts and singer-songwriter showcases. Young musicians can sign up for Bro-Am Studios lessons at www.broam.org.
Switchfoot, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, found success in the Christian rock scene the late 90's for their thoughtful lyrics and catchy beats. The group's major debut album, The Beautiful Letdown, was released in 2003 and featured several chart-topping hits, including "Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move". It went on to sell over 2.6 million copies. Their seventh studio album, Hello Hurricane, received a Grammy award in 2011 for Best Rock Gospel Album.
The group recently announced their 2006 album Oh! Gravity is making its vinyl debut and is now available for preorder through ShopRadioCast.com. The vinyl release is scheduled for August 4th, and can be purchased here.