The House of Blues Hollywood was packed with Pantera fans who had gathered to pay tribute to their recently gunned down guitar God, Darrell Abbott. High school student Areli Morales stood backstage preparing to sing before the largest crowd she had ever seen. MTV had cameras rolling and the audience was loud, as she tried to swallow the lump in her throat.
“As I stood there in front of the sea of metal music lovers, I feared that I might somehow forget my lines and dishonor Darrell and my band,” Areli said, remembering her experience on that transformative night. “But I took a deep breath, focused on the moment and a rush of energy filled me. I made the best of that moment.”
Areli discovered her love for performing and found her self-confidence in her high school Modern Band class. The class was led by Scott Burstein, a teacher who took Little Kids Rock’s free training and received a donation of instruments and curricular resources that would give Areli the tools she needed to share her soulful music with the world.
“I don’t believe I will encounter a moment more nerve-racking than taking the stage at the House of Blues,” she said. “[Little Kids Rock] improved my self-confidence and helped me overcome stage fright.”
With the support of her teachers and classmates, Areli brought the “House [of Blues]” down! The whole concert was featured on MTV, which was an extra bonus for the budding rock star and her music classmates.
“She had great stage presence and confidence,” Burstein said of her performance.
Areli is now a recent college graduate with a degree in Recreation and Tourism Management and a minor in French, and enjoys playing shows for huge audiences. She takes any opportunity to sing and perform.
“I love the energy of commanding a stage fueled by the power of music,” said Areli, who also pens her own songs. “I am moved to write while traveling because it gives me a second to reflect and disconnect. I find that every experience can be transformed into music.”
However, it was a musical experience at the House of Blues that transformed Areli.