The Florida Bar

Florida Bar News

Marching band kids take one step closer to London trip with the help of President Lesser

Senior Editor Top Stories

'Sending these kids to London is going to take the effort of many people coming together. Any donation is gladly accepted, and it will take many of them to get this done'

The nonprofit Sounds of Success Music Corporation was founded in 2018 by Antoine K. Miller to bring music performance to the community. From a background in playing instruments as a child to joining the iconic FAMU Marching 100s band in college, Miller has worked in music education for decades.

Among his many interests outside of the law, Florida Bar President Gary Lesser is a huge proponent of music education for children. When the Sound of Success Warriors marching band from nearby Rivera Beach was formally invited to perform in the United Kingdom next June for London Band Week, Lesser knew he needed to step up.

Gary Lesser

Gary Lesser

“I learned of the marching band’s needs recently, from people I have known for almost 20 years supporting other arts education efforts. My law firm has supported the arts to make arts education available to everyone,” Lesser said.

Sound of Success, the only marching band from the United States invited to attend London Band Week, advances music education for anyone in the local community 10 and older with a love and passion for music. Most of the band’s 100 members hail from underprivileged communities, and the price tag to send the kids and chaperones overseas stood at $500,000.

Recently, an anonymous donor gave $10,000 to help the band’s cause and said they would double their donation if anyone else did the same. That call gave Lesser a chance to bang the drum.

“This trip could change the trajectory of the lives of these kids in the marching band. It will expose them to other cultures and broaden their horizons. It’s an opportunity to help and I couldn’t say no,” Lesser said.

Culturally, Lesser’s assessment of music education hits the mark.

According to the National Association for Music Education, students who study music score higher on reading, math, and spelling tests, have more advanced vocabularies, and attend school at a higher rate than those who don’t. Despite that success, music education in schools has been on a steady decline in the U.S. since 1997 primarily due to budget cuts.

For Sound of Success, the trip to London will include four performances including one for King Charles III in the King’s Garden at Hampton Court Palace. Lesser says that kind of exposure can easily help to change the lives of these children.

“Many of these band members have never left the state of Florida, and now they’ll get the opportunity to play music in another country. That kind of exposure can change their lives and change the entire world.”

Lesser’s support for music education was inspired by the same anonymous donor who so generously gave to Sound of Success.

SOS logo“The anonymous donor was a friend of a friend who got me involved in sending a strings choir from a local underserved elementary school to a national concert in Atlanta back in 2004,” Lesser said. “I had the opportunity to help give these kids that type of experience in their lives and I had to help.”

Since that time, he’s been committed to the enrichment of arts education for children.

Lesser’s donation put the Sound of Success at $66,831 raised towards the goal of $500,000, a mere 13% of the money needed, and Lesser is encouraging those who can donate to do so.

“No one must write a big check to make this happen, although they’ll gladly take it. Sending these kids to London is going to take the effort of many people coming together. Any donation is gladly accepted, and it will take many of them to get this done,” Lesser said.

Lesser encouraged Florida’s legal community to ring the bell as well.

“For whatever reason, lawyers tend to step up and many are hard-wired to serve. If there are lawyers who can chip into this great cause, please do so,” Lesser said.

Donations can be made to Sound of Success by using the link here:


News in Photos