LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Guitars played by legendary musicians usually end up on display at museums or auctioned off to the highest bidder. Rocker Eddie Van Halen instead decided to donate 75 of his own electric guitars to public schools.
Garfield High School was one of seven Los Angeles public schools on the receiving end of Van Halen’s donation, through the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.
“I think his motivation was he just realizes how lucky he’s been in his career and that music pretty much saved his life,” Felice Mancini of the foundation said. “He wanted to give something back.”
Garfield High received 15 of the guitars, which are from Van Halen’s personal collection.
“I think its great,” student Michael Flores said of one of the donated guitars. “Compared to what I played in the beginning, this sounds amazing.”
Garfield High School, known for its award-winning marching band, started two beginning guitar classes. While students are able to play the guitars individually, they are unable to play as a group because they lack the cables and amps necessary and those items are not in the school’s budget.
But that hasn’t quelled students’ excitement, Music Director Eloy Adame said.
“It was like an injection of enthusiasm when you let them know where the guitars are coming from and what a legend Eddie Van Halen is,” he said.