CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Want to hear a little secret about Dedrick Russell?
Did you know he plays the violin? He played from 4th grade through high school. He said his parents told him he should "do something". His father voted for something musical, as he played the trumpet, himself.
Dedrick joined the DC Youth Orchestra Program. It was a program that provided inner city kids with free music lessons. His first choice was actually the piano. Unfortunately, the program didn't offer piano lessons. His next choice was "the case everyone else had". That ended up being a violin. (I suppose peer pressure isn't always bad…)
He said it was a challenge at first, with all the screeching. Yes, a challenge for him AND his parents AND his brother. There was a LOT of screeching!
He eventually got better and before long it was opening doors and providing opportunities he wouldn't have had otherwise. He played at the Kennedy Center, in Constitution Hall, at RFK Stadium and in front of several dignitaries.
He was even a paid musician! Mayor Barry developed a summer leadership program which allowed him to actually get paid to practice. Not a bad deal! And it made for less screeching, so everybody won.
He also got to travel, not to the next county but to different continents. They went to Greece and the former Yugoslavia. They played in Puerto Rico. He even won the Feder Competition and won $75.
Does he still play?
That's what his dad asks from time to time. He doesn't much anymore but he does believe that everyone should know how to read music. His daughter plays the Clarinet.
Even though he ended up as a journalist, which we're pretty glad about here, instead of a musician, the experience did shape his life in a lot of ways. He got to do and see things he wouldn't have otherwise. He interacted with people who didn't look like him. He visited foreign countries as early as the 9th grade. He says you realize the world is a whole lot bigger and there are a lot more opportunities when you get to see more of it at a young age.
So in a way, "his music" sort of paved the way to his career in TV news.
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