Forward Times

Touch of Keys: A MAJOR Asset to the Community

ABOVE: Grammy Award and NAACP Image Award nominated, platinum selling artist, MAJOR, with Eric Gordon Wright at Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Annual Scholarship Award Fundraiser Dinner 

Local organization that helped launch the career of Grammy-nominated and platinum selling artist, MAJOR, continues to expose underserved youth to music and fine arts.

Making a difference in the world is a meaningful thing. Doing it, while empowering young people in the process, is an even more transformational and significant undertaking.

Empowering the youth is what 21st century musician and philanthropist Eric Gordon Wright has been doing for more than 25 years in the Greater Houston area.

Drummer Dylan Lipkins, who will be attending Southern University, was awarded the 2023 Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Scholarship from E. Gordon Wright and the Board of Directors

Known as “Touch of Keys” for his electrifying touch on the keyboard and piano, E. Gordon Wright has displayed a combined 50 years’ worth of excellence, to his credit, in music education and performance across the world.

A native Houstonian, Wright began his music career at an early age, playing for the local church. He studied music privately at the Ruthie School of Music, and later participated as a band member at Hartman Middle School. Wright continued his growth as a leader and musician by becoming the drum major for the Jesse H. Jones High School Falcon Marching Band. After graduating from Jones, he matriculated to Texas Southern University (TSU), where he became a member of the TSU “Ocean of Soul” Marching Band.

After attending TSU, Wright launched Wright’s Music Studio, and subsequently founded Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts—a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 2008, to enhance the fundamental education experience with an exposure to music and fine arts. The nucleus of the program is music education, making it possible for children and youth to explore the art of learning music, piano, guitar, percussion, voice, dance, and more. The organization provides music arts for after-school music programs, as well as summer music fine arts camps, primarily to underserved children from low-to moderate-income families.

Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Student Performer

Wright has been able to organize and write curriculum to allow students to learn the art of music and theory through group lessons as well as private. Students under his tutelage have been able to enhance their skills with music lessons in piano, percussion, guitar, voice, and more.

Wright is a humble man, but his impact on the youth, particular in the area of music, cannot be understated or ignored. He has been able to share his talent of music with many participants in his afterschool and summer programs, several of which have gone on to do major things.

Wright points to one of his most successful proteges—Grammy Award and NAACP Image Award nominated, platinum selling artist, MAJOR, as well as music educator Dr. Anthony McBeth, local R&B artist Amin Moore, and many more, who were once a part of his organization and a part of his successful youth gospel group—Sounds of Creation.

“Through the programs I launched, I have had the opportunity to jumpstart many people’s music careers,” said Wright.

This past Sunday, April 16th, Wright held his Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Annual Scholarship Award Fundraiser Dinner at The Houston Club, located in downtown Houston. The event, emceed by Praise 92.1’s Anthony Valary, honored notable individuals for their great accomplishments and services to the music and fine arts community, and acknowledged them for sharing their gifts with youth through music programs across the country.

Honorees included Ben Tankard—legendary keyboardist, artist, music mogul, and who has 17 Stellar Awards, Dove, Grammy, Soul Train, and NAACP Image Award nominations; Dr. Kitra Williams—film producer, singer, actress, playwright, and life coach, who starred in Oprah Winfrey’s Broadway musical, “The Color Purple,” co-starring Fantasia, and also starred in Tyler Perry’s “Diary Of A Mad Black Woman” & T.D. Jakes “Woman Thou Art Loosed”; saxophonist Dean James; Lady Beatrice Ward; Stephanie Wright; and Willie “WC” Brown Jr.

In addition to several youth displaying the talent that they learned as part of the Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts organization, Wright was shocked to receive a surprise appearance from MAJOR, who rearranged his schedule and flew from Los Angeles to be at the scholarship event.

Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Student Performer

“It’s an honor to be here,” said MAJOR, who passionately shared his firsthand experiences of being positively impacted by Wright and his organization. “I’ve always dreamt of opportunities to pour back into the folks who saw something in me before everyone else caught on. If my life has impressed you by any means, let that be the evidence and the testimony of this work, that is Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts, and that is Wright’s Music Studio. Their legacy has made the difference in my life, and I never fail to mention them, from radio to interviews, whatever I do. I always say, Touch of Keys and Wright’s Music Studio was first. I want to salute the work of Eric Wright, and I’m honored to be a part of this legacy. This world is truly better because of Eric Wright. My name is MAJOR, and I approve this message.”

MAJOR also announced that he had donated to support the event and the organization.

Proceeds from the Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Annual Scholarship Award Fundraiser Dinner will benefit the Touch of Keys Music Fine Arts Summer and afterschool music program.

During the summer music enrichment program, youth ages 6 through 14 are provided an opportunity to explore music and musical instruments.  The summer music program has been held in Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Sunnyside, Pearland, and the surrounding communities. At the end of the summer program, participants are excited to participate in the Summer Music Showcase. These presentations continue to enhance the foundation of ambition, encouragement, and self-discovery developed through each youth participant.

Wright states that he is proud of what he has accomplished and will continue to advocate for and support youth in the area of music.

“After the death of my father in 2004, I was motivated to build a legacy by reaching out to children and youth that are less fortunate and underserved, because of how I was blessed to have parents that were able to sow into my life, the opportunity to learn music at an early age,” said Wright. “I realized that everyone did not have this opportunity and I saw that there was a need to offer opportunities to youth who are less fortunate and underserved in our Black communities.”

Wright states that the biggest challenge he has faced on this decades-long journey has been identifying resources to support the operation of the organization’s programs.

“It takes resources to grow and sustain your programs,” said Wright. “We have been able to operate for 15 years with contributions from our private donors and small business supporters. We appreciate those who have chosen to sow into the programs we administer.”

Wright states he is motivated to do more, sharing that parents should not stifle their children who are talented and interested in music.

“My advice to parents is to embrace the musical gifts in your child by supporting and being involved in their learning, such as with private lessons, school music programs, church, and music ministry that is available to them,” said Wright. “Every area of opportunity brings growth and development. I would encourage parents to invest in their children, in music, and in their talents, because what you sow into them will benefit their future.”

Currently as a national recording artist, Wright leads the Touch of Keys Jazz Band, and tours locally and nationally. He currently serves as Music Director (MD) for Dr. Kitra Williams, Preferred Leading Lady, and he also serves as Minister of Music at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. Wright is proficient in all dimensions of jazz, R&B, pop, rock, blues, country, gospel, classical, oldies, movie hits, or easy listening. He is a recording artist, writer, composer, producer, and can be heard weekly as the host of Music Power Hour Radio Show, AEGRADIO, and VTV NETWORK, which is broadcasted nationally. His music can be heard on radio and on television, nationally and internationally. His latest singles, Soul Reflection and He Loves Me, are available on all music platforms.

For more information on Touch Of Keys Music Fine Arts please visit www.TouchofKeys.com, and for more information about E. Gordon Wright and the Touch of Keys Jazz Band, please visit https://tokepk.com/.

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