The Las Vegas shooting earlier this month has many Americans feeling that the country has become a place shrouded in darkness and tragedy. But for every act of violence and devastation, there are rays of hope, however small, sprinkled throughout our world.
At the Oro Valley Music Festival, hope came in the form of a transaction between acclaimed country music singer Lee Brice and young attendee Nicolas Godoy.
Nicolas, age 6, was at the festival with his family to see Brice and some of his other favorite country music artists perform. The family and their group of friends scooted their way front and center, just a few rows back from the stage. Nicolas was sitting on the shoulders of a family friend when Brice came out for his encore.
“He signed his guitar and he just pointed his guitar out to the audience and pointed straight at Nicolas,” said Megan Godoy, Nicolas’ mother. “Everyone just kind of passed the guitar back to us, and he kept looking to make sure it got to Nicolas.”
Why was he selected, out of the huge crowd of fans, to receive the guitar?
“Because I was jamming out,” Nicolas speculated.
The young country music fan quickly became the man of the hour (“it was super cool,” he said), as concertgoers all flocked to him to take photos of the guitar’s new owner, who is approximately the same size as the guitar itself.
“Everyone was thinking Nicolas was a celebrity,” Megan said. “Everyone saw and appreciated the importance of the message it sent from him giving it to a little kid.”
Megan and her husband Greg, Nicolas’ dad, agreed that it was a message of inspiration and encouragement, a reminder that country music really is a family affair.
“Everyone has their own story and they can relate to each one of their stories that the artist sings,” Greg said.
Megan, a nurse at Option Care, and Greg, a firefighter with the Tucson Fire Department, have both lived in Oro Valley their whole lives. They’re proud to be both Americans and Oro Valley residents, and are huge country music fans. They passed that love onto Nicolas and his three-and-ahalf-year-old little brother, Andrew (he swiftly corrected his mother when she said he was only three).
“Just watching the kids be able to watch the performance, that was the best part,” Greg said.
Megan said Nicolas has loved playing with a microphone and singing along to songs on the radio since he was three years old. Every morning after breakfast, before he leaves for school, he gets in some playing time on his kid-sized guitar.
“When he gets home from school, he changes into his cowboy pants and cowboy boots, puts on his button-down shirt and cowboy hat, and just plays guitar,” she said.
In light of his recent acquisition and his love of music, Nicolas’ parents plan to enroll him in guitar lessons as soon as possible.
The family knew some friends–fellow country music lovers–who were in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Brice himself played in the Harvest Festival Friday and at the Oro Valley Music Festival Saturday. The Las Vegas tragedy took place on Sunday. For a firefighter and the nurse who are both country music fans, the tragedy hit close to home.
“Nicolas just stares in awe and just loves to listen, and it just makes him so happy,” Megan said. “And for that to happen the next day in Las Vegas was so horrible.”
But the family looks ahead: they have plans to see Toby Keith when he comes to town, and Luke Bryan later this month. And, of course, they have their own up-and-coming country music star to take care of.
“I thought this was something happy in lieu of what happened in Las Vegas,” Said Nicolas’ grandmother, Trisha Stanley, in an email. “We are a strong nation and music really does heal the heart.”