Remembering the time Eddie Van Halen donated 75 of his guitars to public schools

News 07/10/2020

Back in 2017, Eddie Van Halen has decided to share his passion for music by donating 75 guitars to public schools.

My whole life has been music.

"I could not imagine anything else. It really hit me when I graduated high school, you sign everybody's yearbook, and everybody asks you, 'So what college are you going to?'" he told CNN. By then, Van Halen had been in a band with his brother Alex since he was in primary school.

"Hey, Al," Eddie remembered saying, "I think we better stick to what we know."

Since funding for school music programs has become less common or non-existent, Van Halen said it is a must, "It has to be taught."

That commitment to education led Van Halen to donate 75 guitars from his personal collection to the nonprofit Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which is giving them away to low-income public schools.

"It's the gift that keeps on giving," foundation president Felice Mancini told CNN. "The kids share the guitars, they learn, they graduate and then the instruments stay in the school."

The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation delivers 1,800 instruments each year, serving more than 10,000 kids. 

"Music is such a necessity. It touches people's souls," Van Halen said. "Music is the universal language to me. It transcends everything."