Meet Nancy Villegas Santos, one of our original students from even before Music Will became the nation-wide nonprofit it is today.
After moving to the US and struggling with English as a small child, Nancy connected deeply with her teacher Mr. David Wish through his ability to speak to her in Spanish as she was learning English. This connection meant the world to both Nancy and her family as they navigated life in a new country.
When Nancy was in elementary school, Mr. Wish brought music into the classroom through his after school guitar program, which would later become the Modern Band curriculum we know today. Nancy has fond memories of learning guitar, playing concerts for her family in the living room, and the strong lasting friendships music created between her classmates which have lasted to today, over 20 years later.
One of Nancy’s favorite memories of her time in Mr. Wish’s after school music program was when the Carlos Santana Foundation gifted each of the students their own electric guitar and amp. She still has the electric blue guitar today and loves to take it out to relive the memories of her excitement to receive it.
Years later, Nancy reconnected with her old music teacher when she stumbled upon an article in Time Magazine covering Mr. Wish’s music non-profit, Music Will. She was also able to join the program’s 20th anniversary celebration in New York in 2022, of which she says, “I could just see how happy the kids were and they’re getting to express themselves with all the music. And so that impact I got to see it firsthand 20 years later and it was just very motivating.”
While Nancy did not continue her music studies beyond Mr. Wish’s program in elementary school, she credits music as the spark for her life-long love of music. Whether it is listening to music on the radio or attending live concerts now as an adult, she says music shows her “others feel the same way I do emotionally” and has helped get her through challenging times in her life in both high school and college.
Help students like Nancy thrive by supporting Music Will’s efforts to bring music education to all. Learn more about our work and support here.