Our Midwest Haven and the Potential of Music - The Echo

Despite her busy schedule, from being Lizzo’s lead guitarist to going on tour with major acts like Bruno Mars and Fifth Harmony, or kicking it with her celebrity friends like Camila Cabello, Juno still makes time to give back to her community. Through a collaboration with the River Music Experience (RME), Juno led a three-event education series with the students from Project Renewal, which focused on music education and self-expression through music. Accompanied by her divine mother and her guitar, Juno delivered a life-changing experience to all who attended. 

“How many of you like living in the Quad Cities,” Juno asked a group of nearly 20 students from Davenport’s Project Renewal program. Sadly, only a few students raised their hands. In response, Juno stated, “If you don’t like it, be the person who changes it. Be the person to get this place poppin’!” She stated that if all QC natives embrace this energy, we can make our home into a more incredible place, and I agree. This message of empowerment spoken at the beginning of her first event set the stage for what was to come.

Juno visited Project Renewal’s site during her first event, and her electric energy instantly captured the students’ attention. After breaking the ice via a “red-rover” style game, where she and the students bonded through expressing different things they liked, she began to share her story. You will have to catch her at a live performance or listen to her streamable content (available on all platforms) to get the full experience of her story. Yet, it resonated deeply within many of the children and me. After performing, she explained to the kids that they all have a unique story and life too, and during the following events, she would help the kids explore these ideas.

During her second event, the students traveled to RME’s location and met with Juno to write and perform their own stories. The students received music lessons so they could understand the basic elements of scales and notes. Once the students wrote out their stories, Juno brought everyone together to rap/sing their own stories over her playing acoustic guitar. While many kids were nervous about sharing their stories, Juno and her stellar mother had an uncanny knack for bringing out the best in others. The students who did tell their stories stated it felt amazing to have the opportunity to perform their stories in front of their classmates. I even had a chance to freestyle in front of the students, and it was a blast!

During her last event, Juno recapped everything she had gone over with the students, and she began to teach the students rhythm and cadence. Thanks to RME’s plentiful supply of instruments, the students could play music alongside Juno while she played and sang songs. There were smiles on every child’s face as Juno orchestrated her youth band, and they finished off the day with a game of musical chairs and pictures. She left all who attended feeling empowered and hopeful for the future.

What I loved the most about this experience is that while Juno has traveled worldwide, accessed mainstream markets, and found success in big cities, she came back to the QC to enrich the place she came from. In addition, instead of coming back home to profit in wealth and notoriety, she came back to speak to the children of the QC. There is no price tag you can put on the work she is doing. Juno is a beacon of inspiration to every person from the QC because she shows it is possible to make it big, even from this Midwest haven. When I asked her mother what the key to life is to her, she stated “service to others.” Juno truly embodies this characteristic, and I know – whole-heartedly – that she is making her mother and this QC native proud.

To check out Juno’s content, search @Juno_theArtist on Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook, and you will be led to her page. In addition, you can stream Juno’s album “Help Is Not On The Way” on any streaming platform. To Juno, her remarkable Mother, and her team, thank you so much for the inspiring work you do. The Echo QC and the QC community appreciate and acknowledge your bold work, and we wish you the best of luck in the future!

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