Dreams Do Come True: “I Want to Be a Rock Star”

Jan 24
Keith Jones, Program Services Coordinator
Dungarvin Wisconsin
Photo: Aaron and the Band

Aaron had dreams of being a rock star.

As a Program Services Coordinator for Dungarvin Wisconsin since February 2010, I am responsible for supporting individuals with involved behavior support needs that are geared towards safety. Community integration can be limited for some of the individuals we support in these programs. Aaron came to Dungarvin in early 2011 with a long history of very involved behaviors and several failed placements. As I was first getting to know Aaron, one thing I quickly learned was that he had a passion for music – all types of music, but especially heavy metal. He had dreams of being a rock star. When I asked him why he wanted to be a rock star he replied, “I want to do this for my mom. Anything I could do to help her, I would do.”

After nearly two years of very remarkable progress in his program, Aaron’s team of professionals began to look for creative opportunities for Aaron to integrate into the community. The team came across an opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities to be allowed access to a recording studio to record songs with a live band. This would be perfect for Aaron!

Photo:  Musicians collaborating


On July 18, 2013, Aaron and some members of his team made the journey to DNA Recording Studio in Madison, Wisconsin. Aaron’s dream was about to come true! When the group arrived at the studio, Aaron was excited at the opportunity but, at the same time, was completely relaxed and blended right in with everyone else. Aaron commented, “I always wanted to be in a band my entire life.” Aaron was able to hang out in the studio with the band and musical engineers. The band ran through the song they were going to record: Iron Man by Black Sabbath. Aaron was in Heaven! He really was going to be a rock star!

Mark Whitcomb, the recording studio owner, said this about Aaron: “He wasn’t shy or shocked about what was going on” and “he took direction well.” One of the professional musicians, Christian B., was very impressed with Aaron’s enthusiasm saying, “He was ready to go with whatever we said. Anything we suggested he was like ‘OK!’ It was awesome! Everybody should be like that. He has the kind of enthusiasm that is contagious.” Scott B., another of the professional musicians that was kind enough to work with Aaron, said Aaron had “a very positive attitude” and, “He was awesome! He owned it right away.”

Photo:  Jam Session

Jam Session!

The video of Aaron recording his song turned out great! He sounded like a true rock star and even had some rock star moves. Mark made several copies of the video for Aaron. Aaron’s mother was first on the list to receive one.

For the individuals we serve, dreams may not come true every day, but on July 18, 2013, Aaron’s dream did. On that day, if only for a moment, Aaron was a rock star. On that day, Aaron was not a person with a developmental disability; he was one of the guys hanging out in the studio with the band. On that day Aaron made us all proud of the work we do at Dungarvin. Rock on!

Photo:  Aaron's Guitar Solo

Aaron’s Guitar Solo!

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  1. Diana Alsum,

    Awesome story! We all need to be involved to make success stories like happen!


  2. Aaron J.,

    That’s neat! My mom & I aren’t heavy metal though. Her dad’s birthday was July 18, 1918! So, you got the right day! His name was Bill S. Good luck to that Aaron from another Aaron!