“A nonprofit organization, City Sound has enriched the lives of many through Music and Fine Arts. Since being formed in 1997, City Sound has had the opportunity to participate in many local and national music programs. City Sound has graduated members and sent them on to perform with some of the best college, Drum Corp International (DCI), Drum Corp Associates (DCA), and professional music groups across the country.”
—Nathaniel Lewis, Director of City Sound
My husband Michael was a former teacher and is involved with CitySound. During his teaching I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit a few times and watched and met some of the students. I saw what the program can do for the kids wanting a better future and being a part of an organization who truly believes they can and have made a difference. I completely understand and support the goals that City Sound holds highly. It is a very humbling organization led by an amazing Director who truly from my personal experience and being wonderful friend to our family is one of the most unselfish human being one can be fortunate enough to have as a friend. It’s an honor for us to have him as one of my daughter’s god-father.
Recently a tragedy veiled over the family of City Sound when a former student Robert Rodwell, who later on became a teacher himself for the program encountered a random act of gang activity ending his life the day his daughter celebrated her seventh birthday.
Nate as the director and founder of City Sound had taken Robert under his wings since he was in grade school to steer him away from gang activities and drugs. My husband only had good inspiring stories about Robert’s participation, progress, and dedication in the program. He remembers witnessing Robert live his dream when he took his training with City Sound and performed with the internationally known—Santa Clara Vanguard Drum line Corps. After graduating from High School, Robert returned the support and became a drumming teacher for City Sound.
I feel very compelled to share this story here because I strongly believe that although Robert Rodwell left this world with the very same reason he joined City Sound; to stay clear of violence, he left this world with a daughter who will carry on his good will for others and students who will carry the strong will to carry on and take what life has given and make it more of the good they all have inside them. Robert created a future that many in his situation may have thought impossible. He left this world knowing he made his dream a reality by becoming a part of the famous drum line, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps; and becoming a teacher who shared his amazing experience to help encourage his successors at City Sound to stay on the right path that would make their own dreams a reality as well. Robert left us as a beloved father, respected teacher and someone who even after his passing continue to inspire. He will forever be remembered by his students and his light will be carried on by his beautiful daughter.
It’s ironic that it takes a tragedy to create a movement that is for the goodwill of everyone. It is up to each of us to take any circumstances that life gives us and use it to fuel the good in each of us and to make ourselves better for having experience it. I believe when we make our individual selves better, it finds a way to trickle out from within us and those around nourish from it. When this happens we can diffuse violence locally and over time we can circulate this organic goodness globally. Our dreams and hope amidst a tragedy is how any of us can uphold to move forward and be a better person than we were yesterday; everyday.
Robert Rodwell’s tragic death does not put his experience in vein rather it highlights his good intentions and will to survive. I hope this article will nourish the good that is already living inside each of us.