Touch of Grey with Billy Strings, Don Was, Trombone Shorty & More

Article Contributed by Level Together | Published on Thursday, September 10, 2020

“We will get by. We will survive.” The lyrics to the Grateful Dead’s 1987 single, "Touch of Grey" ring true today for people around the world. The Rex Foundation teamed up with national nonprofit Little Kids Rock to produce a music video of the classic tune featuring public school students and a variety of notable musicians with the goal of raising funds to support music education programs in danger of being eliminated at an alarming rate as students and teachers head back to school amidst a global pandemic that has infected over 5.6 million Americans.

Music is a powerful healing force – a lesson taught to us over and over again by the Grateful Dead, particularly in Touch Of Grey,” says Cameron Sears, Executive Director of Rex Foundation. “We are proud to once again support Little Kids Rock, who continues to lead the charge in helping build inclusive music programs in schools across the country.”

The funds raised from online donations will be split between the two organizations to support music teachers by providing professional development and other resources to help teachers learn to teach music virtually while many schools remain physically closed. Little Kids Rock has pioneered innovative, popular music education techniques in public schools across the country, serving over a million students in underserved communities since 2002.

Rex Foundation was one of the first funders to support our work when I was a public school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area just trying to get this free music program started for my students,” said David Wish, founder and CEO of Little Kids Rock, which has served over a million students since 2002. “This has been such a wonderful opportunity to work with them and a host of artists and students to promote a positive message through music at a time when kids need music education as much as ever.”

Rex Foundation has chosen to focus the majority of it’s 2020 grant giving efforts on all areas of the music industry – from professional musicians and crew members to music programs for kids. Since 1984 the Rex Foundation has granted $9 million to over 1,300 recipients including Little Kids Rock.

Contributing Artists

David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) – guitar, vocals

Trombone Shorty – trombone, trumpet

Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) – sax

Louie Perez (Los Lobos) – guitar

Lindsay Ell – guitar, vocals

Billy Strings – guitar, vocals

Don Was – bass

Jay Lane – drums, vocals

Jeff Chimenti – keys

Mark Rivers (Tedeschi Trucks Band) – vocals

Shira Elias (Turkuaz) – vocals

Making Movies (Enrique Chi, Juan Carlos Chaurand, Diego Chi, & Duncan Burnett) – vocals

About Little Kids Rock

Little Kids Rock is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in our schools. Our network of thousands of K-12 teachers across 44 states lead a national movement that brings innovative and inclusive music education to students. Using genres including rock, pop, Latin, and rap, our program empowers teachers to build music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. Our students see themselves reflected in their classes, which strengthens their connection to their school, their peers, and their community. Little Kids Rock also donates necessary instruments, and curriculum, meeting a key need of many school music programs. The world of music expands through innovation, and we ensure that music education does as well. More than 550,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs nationwide. Since 2002, the organization has reached more than 1,000,000 students with highly inclusive and culturally relevant music education. To learn more about Little Kids Rock, please contact Michelle Shen at [email protected]. Visit Little Kids Rock at