Growing up in a household where musical instruments were always within his reach, it seems natural that music quickly became Ricky Powell’s passion. Now the McClain High School junior-to-be has been nominated to visit Europe as part of the Ohio Ambassadors of Music, and his mother is asking for the community’s help in funding the trip.
“I nominated Ricky along with 11 other talented students for this honor,” McClain Band Director Blayne Weddington said in an email. “Ricky is an incredibly talented percussionist and overall musician in not just concert band, but in many genres of music. He puts his heart and soul into his music, as well as the hard work it takes anyone to become a master at their craft. I felt as though this trip to Europe would not only challenge Ricky musically, but provide him the chance to take his talents beyond Greenfield. I hope that people will strongly consider helping his family raise money by making a donation to this wonderful student.”
The other nominated McClain students, Weddington said, are Mikayla Detty, Carman Reichman, Logan Roll, Hayden Roll, Isaiah Eleyet, Timothy Eleyet, Abigail Boldman, Peyton Voss, Ryan Borsini and Griffin Foltz.
The 16-day trip will take place in June of 2019 and will cost $6,250 for each participant, including $700 that needs to be deposited by June 15 of this year. Then there’s the additional cost of a three-day band camp, uniform, one meal per day during the trip, passport, spending money, etc., according to Powell’s mother, Angela Girton.
The trip would be expensive for anyone, but Powell’s case is different than some.
He had open heart surgery at 6 months old, takes light medication to regulate his heartbeat, and at some point will have to have further heart surgery, but is doing well. He also just finished a 22-week study on exercise for teens with congenital heart disease, his mother said.
The 16-year-old Powell also has four siblings ranging from age 3 to 18.
“It came out of the blue and was very unexpected,” Girton said of the nomination. “But for him to be able to tour Europe and be part of the Ohio Ambassadors, as a mother, I want this for him so much. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But I have other children to care for, and it’s really hard for me to come up with that amount on short notice.”
Girton said her son became interested in music at a young age and starting playing the drums when he was 6. Before long he taught himself to play piano, bass and electric guitar, and currently writes the lyrics and music for his own songs.
“His dad (the father of the three oldest children) played music and we always had music in our home” Girton said. “Drums, piano, tambourine, harmonica and other things, our kids have always been able to make noise, I never told them not to, and they just got better and better at being loud.”
The guitar is Powell’s passion, but his mother said he also plays drums for the McClain Marching Band and is in the school jazz band.
By being part of the Ohio Ambassadors, Girton said her son would “feel like it means he’s accomplished one of his major goals in life and that’s being able to tour outside the United States and be able to play music.”
Girton said Powell played drums at the 2011 Greene Countrie Towne Festival with his father’s band, Cheap Wine and Bread, has participated in telethons to raise money for New Directions – the Greenfield community’s youth ministry, participated in talent shows at McClain and in 2016 played for a New Directions concert event with a group called Wild Heart. She said she’s not sure if her son will follow the path to college, but that he fully intends to pursue a music career.
“Definitely, that’s what he wants,” Girton said. “His dream would be to play in a group and find some other band members to play the genre of music he likes, which is rock, but it has been very hard to find people his age who can play as well as he does.”
So, Girton is asking that others consider donating to help her son realize his dream.
“Please, can we get your help,” she said in a Facebook post she shared with The Times-Gazette. “Please donate what you can for a wonderful opportunity to send Ricky to Europe. Please share this event page to your friends, family, in groups..etc. Ask your friends and family to share and keep sharing!!! It would mean the world to us!!”
A savings account is set up at Fifth Third Bank in Greenfield for donations to Powell’s trip. Girton said you can go to www.53.com and click on “Send Money With Zelle.” She said that from there those interested in donating would need her name and the associated email address – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or email@example.com.