Armless guitar player shares message in Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - For Tony Melendez, playing at churches is a musical ministry. For four nights he performed at St. Vincent De Paul Church in Cape Girardeau.

On Thursday, March 8,  he had a special performance for 5th-8th graders at the school. He sang and played guitar for multiple songs that are his own and some by other artists.

The odd thing, Melendez was born without arms. So when he is playing the guitar he uses his feet.

"The right foot does the picking or the strumming," describes Melendez. "The left foot does the frets or the actual chords... Your toes do a lot more, except you shove them in a shoe and you don't use them."

When he performs he also shares a message. Today was a message of hope for the middle school crowd. He says if he can play guitar with no arms, then there is no reason these kids can say no to something.

"When the people started teasing me when I was a little kid did it hurt? Of course, it hurt!" he told the crowd. "But you know what, when I was born into this world, I didn't realize I was missing  any arms."

He also shared his story with adults over four nights. He shares stories of experiences from 44 countries, all 50 states, and even the time when he was kissed on the cheek after playing for Pope John Paul II in 1987.

But today the proud moment for him was having the crowd join him on stage to sing a song. He offered the opportunity to the crowd and almost the entire sanctuary came to the front.

"It says to my heart, they're listening and we've got some good kids here," said Melendez.

He headed back to his home near Springfield Missouri after the Thursday night performance. Friday he flies to Houston to perform and after that Philadelphia.

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