LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Every now and again, something magnificent comes out of tragedy. THV 11's Dawn Scott has the story of a young drummer's loss and the group of musicians who stepped up to make sure his music is heard.
Anyone who knows 14-year-old Grant Leslie knows that when it comes to the drums, he has amazing talent. But when Mother Nature sounded her fury April 27, all fell silent for this young musician. We share the moment he gets the surprise of his life.
It was November when we first met Grant Leslie. He jammed big on the drums, while our cameras rolled. Drumming away, he shared then, is a form of therapy for him.
His mom Westy explained that Grant was diagnosed at birth with a rare condition.
"The doctor automatically knew he had a condition called arthrograposis multiplex congenital," Westy said.
You can see the effects while Grant plays out his other passion of baseball. His condition keeps him from bending his arms or his feet.
It's miraculous that he can even move his sticks enough to beat his drum set.
Now, fast forward to spring in Arkansas.
"It was just a complete disaster," Grant recalled. "Everything's just destroyed, very heartbreaking."
April 27, Grant and his family were in the direct path of a deadly tornado. In the video, you'll see a pink mattress, and that's where they took cover when it hit. Their Mayflower home was leveled, a total loss.
"It was loud and everything, and everything's falling down on us," Grant remembered, "and it just stops and we look around and we see that our house is gone."
"Lost everything," Grant said.
"Including your drums," THV's Dawn Scott affirmed.
"Including my drum set. That's what I was torn up most about. My drumset," Grant said.
Now, fast forward to Thursday to Guitar Center in west Little Rock.
Grant enters the store, thinking he's simply there to look and dream about a new set of drums. Little does he know that he's about to get the surprise of a lifetime.
Our photographer is in open view, pretending to do an interview on a fake drum-off. Our photographer asks Grant to play for the camera, so he'll have video for the story. Grant fully complies, on throne beating possibly the nicest drum kit he's ever played.
After a minute or two, a group of us walks in to share some very big news, but he won't stop playing!
When he finally quiets down, Guitar Center's Jeff Morgan steps up.
"Grant, on behalf of all of us as musicians, we got this kit for you. We heard your kit was damaged in the tornado, so this is your new drums, courtesy of DW, Sabian. This is your kit, your stool, it's your kit!"
(Grant pauses) "NU-UH."
Shock for this young man, and not a dry eye among those of us watching it unfold.
"Man! Thank y'all. All of y'all. Thank y'all. MAN!" Grant reacted.
"The stars really aligned in this whole thing," Morgan shared. "Really, it all just kinda fell into place, everything good happened."
"I thought it would take a very long time to replace," said Grant, "since our living conditions, we're in an apartment, just thought it's gonna take a long time to get a drum set back."
"It takes me away, can't really describe the feeling I get when I play the drums," Grant said as he beats his new drum kit.
He is a young drummer who, despite challenge after challenge, keeps making music.
"Love it," Grant said, "can't wait to play it, can't wait to move into a house and play this thing all the time"
Also, Conway Institute for Music donated Grant a year of free lessons.
Grant also plays baseball for the Miracle League, a group that gives disabled kids a chance to play ball. The group's biggest fundraiser is in the fall, and Grant will play drums in a band at the event.
Grant is also a member of a band called Loudmouth. They will perform August 7 at Kings Entertainment in Conway.