It began with Amazing Grace. “It’s my favorite song. It connects with everybody,” said Ben Yanez. And connect it did. Yanez was singing and playing his acoustic guitar on campus. Amazing Grace was his first song. Before he knew it, nearly a dozen students were sitting alongside him and singing with him. “It was a great feeling to bring people together like that.”
Yanez played a few more songs, went to class, then returned to his spot between the Whitney Applied Technology Center and the Gordon Student Center in the afternoon and played some more. Most of what he played was hip hop which he had rearranged to give a unique sound on his acoustic guitar. “I get a lot of people who are surprised to hear the song they are hearing in a different way from what they know.” As Yanez played, many of the students moved to the beat as they passed by and nodded approvingly.
This is Yanez’s first semester at OCC. He moved here from Kansas sight unseen. “I wanted to get a college education in New York State and I knew Onondaga Community College was a very good school.” Right now he’s a part-time student with plans to pursue a Business degree. He’s making ends meet by working at a Verizon store and singing in public whenever he gets the chance.
If you see him singing on campus, stop and listen! You won’t be disappointed.