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"Music is my passion. Teaching it to others helps my ultimate goal, and that is to be a good influence to incoming students."

Frankie Bones

Six years ago I heard Frankie Bones play for the first time. I had just finished the song service for the evening meeting at Camp Hope and was almost ready to leave the back room of the auditorium when I heard a beautiful piano piece being played for the offertory. It was played with so much enthusiasm and talent that I had to peek out the door to see who was playing. I was surprised to see a teenage boy and thought "Wow, can that boy ever play!"

Several weeks later, I was watching the evening news and saw him again. It turns out that Dr. Richter, a university professor at Walla Walla University, had also heard Frankie play that summer and invited him to come to WWU to study university-level music courses. But there was a hitch. Since Frankie was in the foster care system, he wasn't free to study at WWU without permission from the Ministry of Children and Families, and they weren't giving him permission to go. His foster mom decided to take his story to the media, and the media attention influenced the Ministry to take another look at the situation. Frankie was given permission to attend WWU. His mom said that as soon as they heard the news, they packed the car and crossed the border immediately so that Frankie could begin his music studies at WWU.

Frankie was born and raised in Surrey, BC. He is First Nations and has been raised by Esther Cordner, who is originally from the island of Grenada. This has given Frankie a very diverse cultural background. She sent Frankie to the Carillon Music School at the age of five, and though he says that he had no real love of music at that time, his mom recognized his talent and began to nurture it. And she keeps encouraging him. "I think the one thing I can truly say about my mom is that she always fought to give me the best education," Frankie said when asked about her influence.

Frankie will be graduating this year from WWU with a Bachelor's of Music, with an emphasis on performance. He plans to attend Washington State University the following year for graduate studies. "Music is my passion. Teaching it to others helps my ultimate goal, and that is to be a good influence to incoming students."

My daughter met Frankie during her first year at WWU as they both spent hours practicing in the music building. Also a pianist, she appreciated the tips Frankie gave her for improving her technique. And that is where the idea for a concert at the Abbotsford Church took shape.

We chose September 12 for the concert and did as much advertising as we could. It turned out that Sept. 12 was a very popular date and several of the surrounding churches had major events happening at the same time. I cautioned Frankie that we might not have a very large attendance because of these other programs. Then I did a lot of praying about the attendance. By 7 pm on the night of the concert, we had more people in attendance than any of us had dared to hope!

The concert was inspiring! Those who came early got the best seats, the ones right by Frankie, so they could watch him play. And he put his heart into the pieces. We listened to inspirational favorites, such as "We Shall Behold Him" along with several classical numbers. Guest musicians added their own special touch to the program. We left the concert inspired and grateful that Frankie has chosen to use his talents to bless others.

By Joan Septembre, Abbotsford Seventh-day Adventist Church