Oakland Teen Serenades Neighborhood For Black Lives Matter

For the last several weeks, residents in the Shephard Canyon part of the Oakland Hills have enjoyed the sounds of soothing saxophone music drifting into their homes just before dusk on Thursdays.

The sound is bringing some much needed comfort to Danielle LaCoste after months of sheltering alone. 

"My father, who passed away when I was a teenager, used to play the sax. And I have these very fond memories of him serenading me when I was a child," she said. "I was like, is that a radio? Is someone playing? I couldn't figure out where it was coming from."

The mystery musician turned out to be 16-year-old Grace Gulli, a junior at Oakland Technical High School and member of the city's all star jazz band.

She said she was just trying to cheer up a shelter-weary neighborhood.

"I didn't want to be annoying. I just made sure like I've always played not at night time, because there’s a lot of little kids on my street so I don't want to keep anyone up or anything like that," she told KCBS Radio. "I thought it was gonna be pretty much just my street and maybe a few streets next to it. I had no idea that people miles away would be able to hear it," she said.

Gulli believes the acoustics of the canyon expanded her audience. 

16-year-old Grace Gulli serenades her neighborhood to bring comfort during the coronavirus pandemic
Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

Knowing that her music is reaching a much wider audience than she thought, she decided to amplify the good she was doing to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Any neighbors who want to request a song can submit their pick along with proof that they have either signed a petition, supported a local black-owned business or donated to a GoFundMe linked to Black Lives Matter.

"The impact I'm having on the people in my neighborhood can create more of an impact on the world and society, globally," Gulli said.