From left: Mardra and Marcus Sikora with Tracy Leenman of Musical Innovations and Tracy's daughter, Joy Pollock, a special education teacher in Georgia.


Musical Innovations Hosts Book Signing
Musical Innovations held a book signing at its store on Oct. 3 featuring the book Black Day: The Monster Rock Band written by Marcus Sikora, a 25-year-old with Down Syndrome.

The book is a 40-page illustrated children's book that tells the story of Brad, a paperboy who dreams of becoming a rock star. When Brad discovers the band "Black Day" — comprised entirely of monsters — rehearsing in an old garage, he approaches them and asks if he can become their new bass player. The monsters' response is a swift, "No humans!" So Brad sets out to change their minds.

"[Marcus] is an incredible storyteller with an imagination to be envied," said Marcus' mom Mardra Sikora, who worked on the book with Marcus.

"Mardra's name may be familiar to many members of the music industry," said Tracy Leenman, owner of Musical Innovations. "Until 2011, she was president of Progress Publications and Wright Printing. Her grandfather, Bud Wright, founded Progress Publications and Mardra was the third-generation president of the company, until she retired to further pursue her own writing career and, as it turns out, become an active advocate for and with Marcus. I originally met Marcus at an NASMD Convention several years ago — he's amazing and we had a wonderful time with Marcus and Mardra at our store. The children loved the book, and loved Marcus — and he loved them."

The event occurred in conjunction with October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

"Marcus is an example of how different ability does not equal less ability," Mardra said. "Yes, there are skills that come easier to others, but Marcus teaches those around him to celebrate every day, give compliments freely and follow your passion. Which in his case, is creating stories."