THOMASTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- For some families, music lessons or band instruments just aren't in the monthly budget. That's where The Gifts of Music comes in. The Bangor non-profit refurbishes used instruments and puts them into the hands of kids like Elijah Johnson.
"I was kind of excited when I got it because I've wanted to drum for a while so I started tapping," Elijah explains as his parents nod in agreement. He's just 12-years-old but he doesn't miss a beat.
"Elijah stood out right away. He always came into the room whistling and singing and tapping, but as I got to know him I got to know how musical he was. He has a great sense of rhythm incredible rhythm," explained his music teacher Angela Johnson.
Elijah's been playing the snare drum for just a month but he's already in the school band at Thomaston Grammar School and is up to speed with the four other drummers who started out months before him.
"It makes me smile and he's getting to do what he wants to do," said his father Frank Johnson, who cracked a smile as he watched his son pound away on his drum inside the school music room at Thomaston Grammar School Wednesday morning.
All this is made possible through a program called The Gifts of Music which gave Elijah a drum. Elijah brought with him a determination to excel and defy the naysayers who told him he couldn't whistle, or play the trumpet, or sing because he was born with a cleft pallet and cleft lip. He defied those odds, giving a demonstration of his whistling ability, and beautiful singing voice.
"It means a lot and it gives you goose bumps because they told us he's not going to be able to do this and that and he's proved them all wrong and just for him to get past everything they said he wouldn't be able to do he's pretty strong willed," said Elijah's mom, Jessie Johnson.
Both his parents and his music teacher love seeing him flourish. He may have been given a gift of music, but it's a gift he's willing to share for anyone willing to listen.