Skip Navigation LinksCherry Creek School District > District News > High Plains fifth-grade guitars make more than music
Print this page

High Plains fifth-grade guitars make more than music

​Fifth-graders at High Plains Elementary are using an art project to make music and raise money – money that will bring music into the lives of children living with disabilities or fighting diseases like cancer.

The students are working with Blue Star Connection, a non-profit organization that provides real musical instruments and music lessons to kids who can benefit from music therapy.

“One of my students was helped by Blue Star in the past,” said High Plains art teacher Brooks Mullen. “Her mom contacted me asking if we could help this organization through a cigar-box guitar project. I thought it would be a great chance for my fifth-graders to help other kids through artwork.”

So for the past month, High Plains’ students worked in teams of three to turn a plain wooden cigar box into a unique work of art and a working electric guitar.

“We followed the theme "The Colors of Music," said Mullen. “Each team of students gave their guitar a three word name which included a color and a music term or composer, such as Mozart's Marvelous Magenta.”

See more photos of the guitar project on the Cherry Creek Schools Facebook page.

On Feb. 7, John Catt, a musician and the founder of Blue Star, came to High Plains to help students add strings, amp plug-ins and pick-ups to make the guitars functional. Catt brought with him a world-traveling band, the Royal Southern Brotherhood, to work with the kids and talk to them about music. The band includes Devon Allman, son of Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, and Yonrico Scott, a Grammy winner. Students then tuned and tested their guitars on a real amp with bassist Mike Zito. All 30 wooden guitars were officially electric guitars by lunch!

The 30 guitars are currently on display at High Plains Elementary and are for sale for $150 each. All proceeds go to Blue Star Connection to put real musical instruments into the hands of kids who need music to help them deal with the challenges they face.

On Feb. 22, any remaining guitars will be on display and available for sale during the Blue Star Denver concert starring Ana Popovic, Danielle Nicole and Shinetop. The performance is at 6:30 pm at the El Jebel Shrine, 4625 W. 50th Avenue, Denver.

However, one Bronco-themed guitar named “Broncos Blues Bass” is not for sale. Instead it will go to a children’s hospital in Indiana that is connected to Peyton Manning. The hospital has an art program which will soon start to create its own Blue Star guitars.

Mullen said the guitar project had a powerful impact on her and her students.

“We had an incredible time making and finishing the guitars,” said Mullen. “I think it will stick with all of us for a long time.”

For more information about the High Plains guitars, call 720-554-3603. For more information about Blue Star Connection, visit

Posted February 17, 2014.

Posted 2/18/2014 2:20 PM
Copyright © Cherry Creek School District #5, 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 | 303-773-1184
Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

You are now leaving the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) portal. Please note that CCSD does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, completeness, or appropriateness of any content contained on web sites and/or pages outside of the official CCSD portal. The information or opinions contained on these web sites and/or pages do not necessarily represent the views of the CCSD.

With access to the internet comes the availability of material that may not be of educational value or appropriate for students. While at school, CCSD has taken precautions to restrict access to inappropriate or harmful web sites. However, on the internet it is impossible to control all materials and limit all access to information that has no educational value. CCSD firmly believes that the valuable information and the interaction available on the internet far outweigh the possibility that users may procure material that is not consistent with the educational goals of CCSD.