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Glendale student with autism rocks national anthem performance

Video of a Valley guitar hero is wowing people around the country.The guitarist is Ridge Brown, a senior at Ir...

Posted: Apr. 12, 2018 7:35 PM
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 7:35 PM

Video of a Valley guitar hero is wowing people around the country.

The guitarist is Ridge Brown, a senior at Ironwood High School in Glendale.

He played the national anthem for a school assembly and the video posted by his teacher has gone viral, with thousands of clicks and attention from national news outlets.

The reason, Ridge is a student with autism.

The performance in front of his classmates was the first time he played in public, and he nailed it.

"I was a little nervous, but I always felt excited," Ridge told ABC15. "Autism can't hold me back because I'm a real rock star."

That's the message his dad, Glen Brown, loves to hear.

"There's a very, very smart person inside there, trying to get out," Glen said.

Glen's mission in life is unlocking that potential. These days, Glen said Ridge loves talking and interacting with people, but that wasn't always the case.

Ridge was nonverbal until age three. Music was the thing that finally freed Ridge from his autistic silence when he started singing with the radio.

"It helps me express every emotion I have inside my entire brain," Ridge said.

Now, he has plans for an encore.

"If the Suns wanted me to play the National Anthem at the game I'll be doing that," Ridge said.

At the end of Ridge's first performance, a thunderous applause warmed dad's heart.

"I broke into tears," Glen said. "You always wonder are people going to accept your child?"

This proves they do.

"That feels great," Ridge said.

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