JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From the moment Paul Wane picked up a guitar at 8 years old, he was hooked. Saturday, he’s set to play the National Anthem during the opening ceremony for the Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans matchup.
It’ll be Wane’s biggest crowd to date. He’s even got the perfect guitar, custom-made for Saturday. It’s appropriately named “Freedom.”
“I’m just humbled by this entire situation,” Wane said. “Honestly, it’s just more than I could ever have hoped for.”
How this came to be is a great story in itself.
Wane’s band is called the Duval County Line, but he also operates a foundation called “Guitars 4 Kids.”
Through its “Rising Star” program, it has gifted between 200 and 300 instruments to children over the last couple of years. Wane said once a child has been gifted an instrument, they become part of the “Rising Star” family for life. It went from there.
“We gave an instrument to a young man, and it turns out his father works security here at the stadium,” Wane explained. “He got to talking to some of his co-workers about it, and they invited me to do this.”
Call it fate’s intervention. For Wane, this opportunity is truly a dream come true.
Knowing the impact music has had on his life, Wane said there’s nothing better than passing it on to future generations.
He choked up when he explained how it makes him feel seeing a child hold their first musical instrument.
“I remember what it felt like, you know, to know it was my guitar,” Wane said. “And no one’s going to have it, it’s mine. To see that look on their face and to know they can’t wait to get it home.”
Even though this Saturday’s performance will be the crowd of all crowds, Wane said the most important part is knowing who will be in the audience. That’s what makes him emotional.
“My mother will be standing there. Unfortunately, my father is not here to see. I wish he could, but he’s watching,” Wane said. “My uncle, he gave me my first guitar, he’s going to be standing there.”
The musical instruments gifted through “Guitars 4 Kids” are all donated items or purchased by generous people in the community. To learn more about the program, visit: Paul Wane Music.
Duval County Line and Paul Wane Music can both be found on Facebook.