Local student Cooper Hawes recieves the 2018 Performing Arts Wish — a vintage Ernie Ball guitar

Cooper Hawes and Kiko pose with Cooper’s new Ernie Ball electric guitar.
Cooper Hawes and Kiko pose with Cooper’s new Ernie Ball electric guitar.

San Luis Obispo

The Foundation for the Performing Arts Center announced aspiring musician and local Teach Elementary School student, Cooper Hawes, as the recipient of the 2018 Performing Arts Wish.

Last year’s recipient, Francisco “Kiko” Chicas Aleman, made the official announcement on behalf of the Foundation at the Sidecar Loading Dock Party in September, gifting young Cooper a vintage Ernie Ball electric guitar and complimentary lessons for one year. Adam Montiel, Coast 104.5, and Leann Standish, Executive Director of the Foundation, were onstage to help award Cooper his wish.

In June, Cooper’s father, Guy Hawes, tragically passed away. Throughout his life, Guy was passionate about music and played the harmonica for many years. At his memorial service, several of Guy’s best friends played guitar in memory of their friend. This inspired Cooper to want to take lessons to reconnect with his father and share in something that he had once loved.

“Our committee was deeply touched when Cooper’s mom shared how music had become an important part of his healing and so helpful in communicating his loss,” said Leann Standish. “Certainly, all of us at the Foundation believe that arts have a transformative and therapeutic power. We were thrilled to be able to grant his wish.”

Cooper has been taking guitar lessons since shortly after his father passed away. His mother, Lisa Hawes, has already begun to see positive changes in Cooper: “At his father’s memorial, Cooper was especially moved by the musical tributes. Guy’s friends played guitar in honor of his father and Cooper became determined to carry on this part of his Dad.”

Lisa Hawes is a registered nurse at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. She is now raising three children on her own and wants to continue to provide them with opportunities to experience performing arts as a means of healing.

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