'Music Is My Life,' Green Tells CBS2's Andrea GrymesBy Andrea Grymes

JAMESPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) –  A Long Island high school student could not stand by when his district’s afterschool music programs were canceled.

Instead, he found a way to give back.

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As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports, if you spend a few minutes with 17-year-old Will Green, you’ll learn one thing real quick.

“Music is my life,” Green said.

He loves music. Will is a percussionist at Riverhead High School, and that doesn’t mean he just plays drums.

“From drum set, to snare drum, to timpani, to mallets, which include xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel,” Will said.

(Credit: CBS2)

To name a few. He also plays guitar and sings.

His choir performed at Radio City Music Hall. He’s also graced the stage at Carnegie Hall.

But all of those concerts came to a stop when COVID hit, and when Riverhead budget cuts forced the cancelation of afterschool programs for fall and winter, including music ensembles.

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Will felt so bad for the younger students who wouldn’t have the opportunity to play in the afterschool ensembles he started his own free percussion academy in the family basement.

“Trying to spark the passion of music among other kids because that is also something I’m very passionate about,” Will said.

Although it is free, parents have insisted on paying for the lessons – but Will is not keeping the money. He just donated the $1,000 he’s made back to the district’s fine arts program.

“This is totally how Will is. It’s just the type of person he is. Top 1%, you know,” said Assistant Principal and Director of Fine Arts Jason Rottkamp.

They’re figuring out how to spend the money, and luckily have even more options since afterschool programs are coming back this spring.

“The arts is so important to all of us,” Will said. “I don’t know what we would be able to do without them.”

COVID and budget guts can try to kill the music, but they’re no match for Will Green.

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Will hasn’t decided yet where he’s going to college, but he hopes to teach or perform on Broadway.

Andrea Grymes