It started with Emily. Emily was just 13 years old at the time, and she comes from a family of seven children. She had been participating in the beginning instructional jam sessions with the mandolin (and she was already incredible on the mandolin) when another student overheard her say she would love to learn the banjo. Well, this particular student had a number of banjos that weren't being played at the time and came to me to see if he could give one to Emily. We said, "Of course"! Several years later, when Emily had proven herself to be diligent and deserving, she was gifted a Stelling banjo by the same person. Emily is 17 years old now and plays with her family band, Charlie & the Girls, and also with The Chris Talley Trio. She is truly amazing.
Here is a video of Emily on her first banjo after only ONE YEAR of play:
We have had a number of deserving students come through the door since that time. Some receive free lessons, and others receive instruments. We have given away at least 7 guitars, 4 banjos and I don't know how many fiddles at this point.
Most recently, Lucas was given a Stelling banjo by one of our customers. Lucas comes from a family of 10 children. His family has their own band called The Worthing10s Family Bluegrass Band. This is actually Lucas' 2nd banjo that was given to him as well. (Both by different people.) Lucas is 14 years old right now and is also very diligent in his practice. He teaches himself almost entirely at this point. Here is a video of Lucas playing his Stelling banjo the day he received it:
What an honor to be able to gift deserving students with nice instruments that will last a lifetime. We could not do it without the help of others, and we certainly appreciate your generosity, as do the receiving students. Thank you!