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Teen musician to perform at patriotic concert

Gareth Laffely (photo courtesy: GarethMusic.com)

Gareth Laffely, a 14-year-old musician and composer from Gallatin, Tenn. is set to perform at the 2013 Salute to America Concert Sunday in the Brentwood United Methodist Church Sanctuary at 7 p.m.

Military personnel, veterans and families will be recognized at the concert. The concert is free and open to the public. There will be an offering for Operation Stand Down, a nonprofit service center for veterans in Middle Tennessee.

The son of professional musicians Neil Laffely and Susan Olliver, Gareth is currently homeschooled in the ninth grade. His mother is a singer and songwriter who at one point had a song on Billboard charts. With Gareth, the fruit does not fall very far away from the tree.

“Gareth has been surrounded by music since he was born,” Olliver said.

Olliver said that when Gareth was about 12 years old, people were already starting to notice his potential.

Gareth actually began writing music when he was around five years old. He said that he plays the drums, piano, violin and the Native American flute.

“I’ve been playing music all my life,” he said.

He added that he started playing the drums around the age of two or three, the keyboard at age five, and started practicing the Native American flute about two years ago. It has since become his favorite instrument to play.

“[It’s] something you play from heart rather than something in a book,” he said.

Gareth mentioned that his favorite type of music to listen to is 1980s rock. He tries to integrate rock, pop and world music into his music on the flute. One of his biggest inspirations is Native American flute player and two-time Grammy winner Robert Mirabal.

When asked about his goals and aspirations, Gareth said that he is attempting to finish an album. In his eyes, the main goal of his work is to “touch lives.” Gareth claims that he enjoys playing music more so than composing music.

“I love writing too, it’s kind of a tossup,” he said.

Gareth regularly visits hospitals and nursing homes to play the flute.

“Something about the music, it really reaches toward your soul,” he said.

Echoing his mother, Gareth said family has been crucial to his success as a musician.

“My parents have played a huge role in my music career,” Gareth said.

Gareth said he’ll be performing the song “The Journey,” a song about the lives lost on the Trail of Tears, at the Salute to America concert.

This is the second year of the Salute to America concert, and organizers hope to exceed last year’s attendance of around 600 people.

In addition to Gareth, the Belmont University Brass Ensemble and a live organist and pianist will perform at the concert.

Brentwood United Methodist Church is located at 309 Franklin Road in Brentwood. For more information, call (615) 373-3663. For more information on Gareth Laffely’s music, click here.

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