SAN ANTONIO – IDEA South Flores High School went from having no music program to having an after-school rock and roll music program thanks to a passionate mother and her son.
Bell Solloa is the founder and program manager of the High Voltage Music program. She created that musical outlet for students ages 12-18 in 2014, and it has grown ever since.
“Teens need an outlet and be off the streets and have something to look forward to,” Solloa said. “They want to feel a part of something, and not everybody fits on the soccer field.”
High Voltage Music offers training for beginners who might not know what instrument they want to play.
“We introduce the kids to the fundamentals of an instrument they might pick -- guitar, bass, drums -- and right away, we get them started on learning a song,” Solloa said.
Sentimentally, the program was inspired by her son when he started going to school at IDEA South Flores High.
“He was a little rocker when he was young,” Solloa said. “He was self-taught, and so that was the kind of music he grew up listening to and playing.”
As a single mother balancing jobs and taking care of her bedridden elderly mother, Solloa couldn’t afford music lessons for her son, who was always practicing alone. She realized her son wasn’t the only one in that situation.
“That is what made me start thinking, ‘What can I do to help find other kids that want to play music? Are there other kids like him out there?’ I know there are parents who can’t afford it timewise or financially,” Solloa said.
Before the pandemic, students practiced in classrooms. They have now taken their practices and songwriting sessions online.
“We have seen them grow, not only as students and kids and young adults but as musicians,” Solloa said.
The instruments have been donated to the program by local musicians and music establishments.
Students also perform at venues around San Antonio for fundraisers.
“There were some kids who didn’t even know they wanted to play music, and now, three or four years later, they are amazing,” Solloa said. “They are doing so good, and they are committed.”
She said having programs like this available for kids, especially during the pandemic, is crucial in molding our youth’s future.
“You can’t put a price on helping a kid who doesn’t have anything right now to look forward to or to do on their own,” Solloa said. “I hope the community will continue to support these types of programs.”
If you would like to support this program in any way, you can contact them through their Facebook page.