Rockford Man Uses Music to Connect with Kids


Rockford musician Carl Cole says he was born with the gift of music.

“When I was three, I would just listen to the Flintstones on TV and just go to the piano and pick it out,” he says.

Along with his six siblings, Carl performed with the “Singing Cole Family” in the 1960’s and 70’s. By the time he was in middle school, he was playing the piano for the family group.

He started his career as a church musician when he was just 10 years old. “I learned so much stuff playing in church as a boy,” says Cole.

Carl’s father James passed away when Carl was 12 . Inspired by his mother Erma, Carl created a program to help local kids. The Young Eagles Success or YES Club uses music to reach kids and promote a positive lifestyle.

Cole says, “Music was such a good tool because it’s such a universal language and it brings all races and cultures and ages together.”

Along with his wife Dianna, the Coles have been running YES Club for more than a decade. She says, “I am so glad to be a part of working with him, and helping to teach kids character, and to help them to know there are choices out there, and there’s a better way. They can do and be whatever they want to be.”

Carl says music has allowed him to connect with kids. “I’m really blessed that God gave me something that I could use to make my community better. I learned that when you make your community better, you’re really doing something to make your world better.”

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