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Students crowded around six guitars Wednesday, anxious to start lessons made possible by legendary guitarist James Burton

Burton presented the guitars to The LightHouse as part of his foundation’s mission to spread music education to children who might not have an opportunity to learn otherwise.

“It’s so wonderful to help kids keep music alive,” he said. “It’s such a great honor for me and my family.”

Volunteers from Church for the Highlands will lead the music lessons to be incorporated into the program.  Coordinator Dewanna Lovelace incorporates as much arts and culture into the LightHouse as possible, and she is thrilled for this opportunity.

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Students gather around as Bill Allen demonstrates on one of the donated guitars.

“Learning is exploratory and it’s about learning different things,” she said.

Since the foundation’s beginning, Burton has donated hundreds of guitars to schools, hospitals and community organizations.

“The kids learn to play and they tell me what an honor it is to go to school now,” he said.

He pledged to return and play with the kids after they have had a few months of lessons.

Kiara, a 10-year-old in the program, couldn’t wait to get started.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s calming.”

Burton is from Shreveport and began his career at the age of 14, recording the rock classic “Suzie Q” with Dale Hawkins at the KWKH studio in 1957. He has since been featured on hundreds of recordings, most noticeably with Elvis Presley.

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