A Story About William Flores

From Matt Hinsley:

I remember William Flores being a serious and eager young man when we met at McCallum High School back in 2004. We had been involved at McCallum since 2001. What had started as free lessons had grown into a full-scale guitar classroom program. Things were growing!

In fact, in 2004 we had six graduates from McCallum go on to college for music with scholarships. It was a real turning point for ACG Education because we realized that not only could we teach effectively, but also that young people were interested in learning guitar in large numbers, and that America—by and large—lacked materials and understanding for how to include guitar in schools. Our path was becoming clear.

I, personally, spent much of 2004 developing the Lamar Middle School program while raising the money to invest in ACG Teaching staff and beginning work on what would become the ACG curriculum that’s now used all around the world.

In a year William would connect with Travis Marcum (who, sixteen years later is still our Director of ACG Education). Travis transformed McCallum quickly into one of the nation’s leading high school classical guitar programs (they would go on to win a prominent US ensemble contest something like eight years in a row). But in the process, perhaps most importantly, Travis would begin creating the kinds of life-changing and inspiring bonds through music that he is so gifted at creating.

William distinguished himself quickly. He practiced hard. He got an ACG guitar, and started to make beautiful music both as a soloist and ensemble player. 

When he graduated in 2008 William decided to audition for the US Army Band as a guitar player. He got in! Since that time he became expert at a wide variety of styles, he traveled around the world, he played for service members, diplomats, and dignitaries. He played for celebrations and somber services. He taught and played for vets recovering in the hospital.

And last week he was sitting in my back yard, telling me stories. 

Over the years Will has stayed in touch. He would send updates from time to time, from different parts of the world. He would ask for advice, and sometime ask for music. And now, after twelve years in the service, he’s changing careers, looking possibly at medical school (he did a psychology degree while in service), and he’s intensely interested in Music and Healing. 

William is back in Austin wanting to get involved with ACG again. He wants to give back. He’s all grown up, he’s done and seen amazing things, and he wants to be part of extending our services to more young people just like himself.

Thanks so much for helping make everything we do possible,

Matt Hinsley, Executive Director