The $100 in his pocket was supposed to be a gift from his grandma to buy Christmas presents for his family and friends.
But Michael Morton just couldn’t get the flute out of his head.
The Nashville teen had wanted to play the instrument since he was small. But the chorus always came in reply: “Little boys don’t play the flute.”
It was time he did.
Michael Morton has made it his mission to play music in places that don’t have a lot of money but are serving people who need a bit of happiness. Lacy Atkins, The Tennessean
So the 14-year-old took his grandma’s money, detoured to a pawn shop on Broadway, and spent $68 on the instrument, slender and sleek, he had always wanted.
“I felt like I had gold in my hands,” the now 55-year-old Morton says.
He would spend the next four decades sharing that gift with others, playing for those living in homeless shelters and bringing peace to sick patients on their way to see the doctor.
But first, Morton taught himself to play. At home, he harmonized with Earth Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder records. He learned scales. He perfected a classical piece and went to audition at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.
Morton left Nashville in his late teens, ending up in Los Angeles where he received his masters in music at the University of Southern California.
When he returned to his hometown of Nashville a few years ago, he wanted to give back. Through his church, he learned that Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks welcomed volunteer acoustic musicians.