CHANDLER, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Meet the Jam Pak Blues and Grass Neighborhood Band.
Anni Beach, a retired school teacher, takes youngsters into her home and instructs them on acoustic instruments, songs, vocal technique and performance in a non-competitive "everyone is welcome" way.
Jam Pak has been a labor of love for Beach and her husband, Vincent, since 1994.
As a substitute teacher, she often took music into the classroom. One day two neighborhood children knocked on the Beach's door.
They asked if she could sing more songs and Jam Pak was launched shortly after.
When they join, kids begin learning on simple one-stringed instruments called canjos.
Jam Pak has been sponsored by numerous Arizona bluegrass organizations and individuals who have loaned or donated instruments, lessons and scholarships.
The band is now 25 members strong with guitars, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers and even a wash-tub bass.
Some of the kids now own their own instruments. Many also participate in school music programs, often on a different instrument.
Jam Pak recently performed at the Marana Bluegrass festival and perform all across the Southwest at clubs, elder-care facilities and festivals.
Jam Pak is a non-profit endeavor that has graduated many up-and-coming musicians. Find out more at www.JamPak.com