Chuck Brennan, a former Sioux Falls Boys Club kid who has since had success as an entrepreneur, has struck the first chord with a donation of $100,000 and has committed funding nearly $3,000,000 to provide the rock & roll program to the kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire for the next 20 years. The Brennan Rock & Roll Academy will be located in a prime location on the historic Sioux Falls’ loop. Mr. Brennan grew up near 8th and Covell, less than a mile from the Historic Loop Plaza that he built with his business partner, Keith Bergh. As a kid, he used to ride his bike up to the construction site when they were building the original Hardee's restaurant. As the years passed and the neighborhood started to decline he was thrilled to spearhead the development project that sparked an entire revitalization of the neighborhood.

To announce this new programming, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire is holding a "ground rocking” event on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 3:30pm at 900 W 11th Street, Sioux Falls, SD.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire (BGCSE) is thrilled with this multi-million dollar donation commitment from Chuck Brennan to open the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy which will provide music education for Boys & Girls Club kids that focuses on Rock & Roll instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, and vocals. Currently the club does not have a music program of any sort.  Brennan and his wife Mary donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to various children’s charities.  They got the idea from his son Jett who attends the “School of Rock” in Las Vegas and his friend Alice Cooper who has a similar incredible program in Phoenix called the Solid Rock Foundation.

Helping to ensure the success of the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, Mr. Brennan has brought on board the Academy’s very own Rock & Roll Ambassador, Kory Van Sickle. Kory is the founder/lead singer/songwriter of Kory and the Fireflies, and will join forces with Brennan Rock & Roll Academy by consulting and co-creating with the organization. Chuck envisions Kory’s involvement to be “a sort of a living example for the students at Brennan Rock & Roll Academy of what they can aspire to.”

Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire will receive weekly one-on-one lessons with professional musicians, along with weekly band rehearsals to prepare for upcoming concerts. As they continue to cultivate their skills, they will participate in a live performance in front of a real crowd. Van Sickle will also speak with Academy students and instructors, sharing his experiences with the intention of inspiring the future rock and rollers. “The fact that this type of facility and program will be offered for free to the members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire is simply amazing”, said Brennan, “This joint is going to change some lives and bring a level of cool to these children that they may have never had a chance to experience”.

By participating in the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, students will go through their own unique musical journey. In addition to learning to play instruments or sing, youth will learn how to work in groups and gain confidence that will serve them throughout their lives. In order to rock at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, a youth must be a member of the Boys & Girls Club. The Eastside Boys & Girls Club is a safe, drop-in afterschool and evening program for youth from 1st grade to age 18 located at 700 S. Sneve Avenue, Sioux Falls. Membership is $25 per year per child, which includes all programming, meals and activities. Knowing that transportation can be an issue for kids and families, Brennan will also provide the BGCSE with “super cool transportation” to allow kids to attend the Academy and/or the Eastside Boys & Girls Club.

The Eastside Club focuses on five core areas: Character & Leadership, Career & Education, Health & Life Skills, the Arts, and Sports, Fitness & Recreation. These core areas are woven into programming that is fun, engaging and positive. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls, shaping them into future leaders, employees and community members.

Thank you Chuck, for keeping rock and roll alive and well in our city!