When 13-year-old LaVar isn’t practicing on the drums, he is most likely watching his favorite YouTuber, Casey Cooper. While LaVar faces struggles with intractable epilepsy, drumming is the one thing that keeps him happy and upbeat. Every time he sees one of Casey’s hit video lessons or song covers, LaVar is inspired to perfect his percussionist skills.
For LaVar, the only thing better than learning from Casey through his YouTube channel, COOP3RDRUMMER, would be to receive a personal drum lesson, face to face. Thanks to Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, LaVar’s wish became a reality.
LaVar and his family flew from their home in Farrell, PA, to Nashville TN, where LaVar was given the ultimate surprise. As Pearl Studios car pulled up to their hotel, a familiar face hopped out to greet LaVar and his family. LaVar’s smile was shining with excitement, finally meeting his favorite YouTube star.
“I feel like you’ve lived with us for years,” LaVar’s mom said to Casey, greeting him like a close friend.
Even though LaVar knew that he would get a lesson from Casey, he had no idea what else was in store. LaVar was taken to Pearl Studios where he was given an exclusive, VIP tour of the headquarters. There, he got to meet the entire Pearl team, see how the instruments are made and even help assemble a drum.
As they wrapped up the tour, Casey took LaVar to a studio room, where there were two drum sets ready to rumble. Side by side, Casey taught LaVar some tips and tricks for playing the drums. After LaVar caught on to the beat, the two were playing in sync, jamming away to the song “Uptown Funk,” which Casey later uploaded to his YouTube page.
(Click here to see LaVar's full wish experience.)
While LaVar’s dream, to get a drumming lesson from Casey, came true, there was still another surprise left.
“So Make-A-Wish®, Pearl and myself all have a question for you,” Casey said. “We were wanting to know… which one of these kits do you want?”
LaVar’s eyes lit up with excitement, and his mom gasped with surprise. LaVar thought for a moment, deciding on the shiny black Pearl Decade Maple kit. With it, he got a set of symbols and a bag of custom drum sticks with his name engraved.
“It’s so awesome to meet [LaVar] and to see that passion and love for it… and that talent!” Casey said. “I am so thankful I got to be here with all these amazing people and to meet you, man. You are phenomenal. I’m going to go home with a happy heart and an even greater passion because I got to meet you.”
LaVar’s mom thanked everyone at Pearl Studios and Casey with tears in her eyes. “I thank you for your time that you’ve taken out for him because he’s been on a long road. It really, truly means a lot,” she said. “I thank all of you for making this possible, especially Make-A-Wish because dreams really did come true today.”