“How old do you think I am?” asked Jared Leto on Wednesday while making small talk with a group of Austin youth in foster care or who have been adopted. “Fifty-three!” shouted one. Another guessed “Fifty-two!” The 46-year-old actor/musician grimaced then chuckled, changing the subject to music.
Leto’s team sought out Kids in a New Groove, a local nonprofit providing free music lessons, mentorship, and instruments to children and teens in foster care, group facilities, or adopted homes. The Academy Award-winning actor is on a short promotional tour for his band 30 Seconds to Mars that included an impromptu concert yesterday at the “I love you so much” wall on South Congress. Afterward, he headed over to Cherrywood Coffeehouse with a video crew for a private performance and lesson with Kids in a New Groove mentees.
“If I can sing this song, anybody can,” Leto told the kids as he began an acoustic, choir-outfitted version of the 30 Seconds to Mars single “Walk on Water.” He started by humming the melody for them, then taught the group the big chorus, which only contains a dozen words, including “whoa-whoa.”
Throughout the song, Leto gave evryone fist bumps and high fives, after which they shook with glee and grinned ear to ear. Later, he engaged them with questions.
“What instrument do you play?” he asked one boy.
“Oh, my brother plays drums in my band,” affirmed Leto. “So my whole life I’ve had to put up with that banging!”
Speaking of his band, the currently-bearded celebrity informed his audience that 30 Seconds to Mars are appearing at Circuit of the Americas on July 7.
“That’s my birthday!” shouted one youth holding a quarter-sized acoustic guitar.
“Okay, would you like to come up onstage and jump around with us, and then we’ll sing you ‘Happy Birthday’?”
He accepted and Leto followed up by inviting all the Kids in a New Groove participants to the show.
Kids in a New Groove is always looking for volunteers and donations for instruments. Consider getting involved.
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