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Born on December 31, 1991, in Phoenix, Az., Jonathan came into this world with a lot of obstacles to overcome. His family lived in Yuma Az., at the time, where Jonathan grew up. He was born 16 weeks early and spent the first 4 months of his life at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. He had a trach tube at two months old, surgery on his eyes trying to prevent the possibilities of blindness. He had failure to thrive, and received a feeding tube at the age of 2, which was removed at the age of 5. He was unable to speak and used sign language to communicate up until about the age of 6 when he learned to vocalize. At about that time he also learned to eat. He was in and out of hospitals the first 2 years for pneumonia and issues with gain weight. Jonathan suffered from ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) a disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels causing his retinas to detach, causing blindness.
Jonathan was always intrigued by music and the world of audio. We had wind chimes at the house and Jonathan loved them. We would get him wind chimes for his birthday and Christmas. We knew his uniqueness with music when he could tell you the key the wind chine made. Grandma and Grandpa would usually find for him the noisiest musical toys they could for him. When Jonathan was around 5 he started taking an interest in his dadís acoustic guitar. He would lay it on the floor and he would play it that way. He was 5 years old when his sister began piano lessons. He would listen for a short time and then he started picking up the songs she was playing. The piano teachers would let him play at their piano show for the parents. He was playing piano before he could even talk. When he was 6, he started his own piano lesson which he excelled in. During this time he also taught himself how to play the harmonica. He played the harmonica with our churchís worship team with his Dad playing guitar. One day his grandma shipped him an accordion and he figured that out in no time. A friend of his had an old broken down saxophone and he was able to play that as well. Jonathan was also able to teach himself how to play drums. He graduated from playing the harmonica with the worship team to being the drummer at church. A friend at church, Hap Young, was playing his pedal steel guitar and that is when his life changed. Jonathan made several trips to Hapís house to listen to the steel and to even play a little. Jonathan loved the instrument. Hap checked on the Steel Guitar Forum to inquire of any blind steel guitar players. He received a reply from a couple of kind-hearted gentlemen that were willing to donate, refinish and ship Jonathan his first pedal steel guitar. It was a Sho Bud Maverick student model E9 with 10 strings, one knee lever and three pedals. Jonathan was 11 years old when he first put a set of finger picks on. Hap proceeded to show Jonathan some triads and teach him a few songs after that he really took off on it. We took him to the steel guitar show in Mesa, Az. and some of the local jam sessions in Phoenix, AZ. At a particular jam session where David Wright and Hal Rugg were present and he had his Sho Bud set up and played his little heart out. David seen him play and he immediately came over to Dad and said that Jonathan was going to be playing a brand new MSA guitar soon. That same day he had the opportunity to play on a showcase with both David and Hal, what a treat! Since Jonathan began playing the steel he has been to the St. Louis shows, Dallas TX shows, and he played in the Ottawa Blues Fest, in Ottawa Canada. Heís been to Nashville, which is his favorite place. He is a member of the SWSGA (Southwest Steel Guitar Association) and plays their annual shows in Phoenix Az. Jonathan moved from Yuma AZ with his family when he was 20 and now lives in Phoenix AZ. He is currently attending high school at ASDB (Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind) and graduating in 2013. Jonathan also has an older sister and a younger brother. Jonathanís goals after graduating are to be able to do something with producing music, broadcasting or computer technology.