ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — Journey drummer Deen Castronovo presented a $10,000 donation to South Albany High School on Wednesday to help replace band equipment lost in a devastating fire.
Despite playing in front of millions of people over the course of his career, Castronovo said he was nervous talking with the students during a late morning assembly.
“I’m not good at speaking. I’m usually behind a huge drum set and it’s a lot easier and I’m not as nervous, so I’m very nervous right now.”
He said he was heartbroken to learn the band equipment was destroyed in the fire because he knows the importance of the music program.
“I wasn’t great in school but I was really good in my band class, and that was the reason I went to school, really.”
“Most of my grades were C’s and C-minuses, with the exception of band classes. I got A’s in those. I knew I what I was going to do,” the rock star told the students. “The devastation you guys have seen, it was heartbreaking.”
The April 1 four-alarm fire destroyed one building at South Albany High School, with damage estimated at well above $1 million.
He and his wife, Diedra, said they had to do something after hearing about the four-alarm blaze at South Albany High School.
“It’s sad,” he said. “I know you guys see that and you’re depressed. You’re like, ‘Why did this happen? What’s going to happen next?’ To see everybody rally around like the community has to build this back up is massive.”
During the assembly he presented the music department with a check for $10,000, in part to help replace instruments. He also met with band students in the theater.
“They haven’t lost all their faith in things, and that’s good, that’s a huge thing,” Castronovo told KOIN 6 News. He said it reminded him of “‘Don’t stop believing,’ the biggest song ever. It does (remind me of the song.) It really does. I mean, you don’t want to say it, but that really is. You see the kids and they haven’t lost it all, they know that good things are coming, and that’s good.”