Cassopolis couple working to get musical nonprofit off the ground

CASSOPOLIS — Cassopolis resident Barry Clark knows the power music can have on someone’s life.

After learning to play the guitar in his teens, music — from the classics to the blues — has followed Clark throughout the years. Eventually, he made a career out of his love for music.

“There is just something fulfilling about playing something and playing it well,” he said. “There is just a joy there.”

Now, at 60 years old, Clark wants to help young people in the Cass County area find that same joy.

Clark, with the help of his wife, Heather, owns Play Something Loud, 102 S. Broadway St., Cassopolis, where he offers guitar lessons — though he soon hopes to provide more than lessons.

Clark and his wife are currently working toward opening an educational nonprofit in the space to reach out to children with learning disabilities or who cannot afford lessons and offer lessons in local schools. The couple is currently working towards funding and is accepting donations of old, unwanted, used — even broken — guitars, amplifiers or other musical instruments. Clark will fix them and give them to students to play and keep. The devices that cannot be repaired will be re-purposed and sold to put the money back into the organization.

“We are still looking into funding options, but that is something we really would like to do,” Clark said. “This is sort of the dream.”

Clark, who still performs at area venues, has been teaching guitar lessons for more than 30 years. He called teaching his passion and said he is glad to be bringing that passion to the Cassopolis area.

“Teaching has always been the most rewarding thing for me,” he said. “To find that right niche for [a student] and to see that spark go off in somebody and take off and run with it, that is just a really rewarding thing.”

By making Play Something Loud a nonprofit, Clark hopes to use his teaching talents to better use for the community and fill in the gaps left in children’s musical education.

“I think as schools get tighter and tighter budgets, things like the arts get put on the back burner a little more,” he said. “We just want to make sure kids are able to tap into that for learning because music helps kids learn other subjects. It just helps the thought processes work better.”

Currently, Clark said he has filled out paperwork to form a nonprofit and is considering different models of funding.

“We are taking things slow, but where there is a will, there is a way,” Clark said.

Community members looking to learn more about Play Something loud can visit playsomethingloud.com or contact Clark at (574) 344-3276.

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