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11:48 PM Mon, Sept. 24th

Photo from Elton John inspires local youth<BR>

"I want to be a musician because when I first started playing the piano it was fun… it's just cool playing the piano," he said.

However, the boy's thoughts often turn to complicated issues like human chromosomes and AIDS, and ways to test his theory for a cure.

That's when Elton John entered the picture.

"I think he's so cool to be so good at the piano," Newell said.

He added also that he admires the artist's devotion to raising money for a cure against the disease.

It helps that Newell's uncle works as the touring manager for the famous singer.

One day, Newell wrote a simple, heartfelt letter to Elton John that expressed his sadness that so many people have died from AIDS.

According to an e-mail from Newell's uncle, Elton John "was very impressed," that Newell cared and knew so much about the disease at such a young age.

After the singer read the letter he sent an autographed publicity photo of himself, at the age of 53, to the young boy.

"I will never sell it," Newell said.

Newell said he understands that the singer superstar gives a lot of his money to the AIDS charity in the way of benefit concerts and personal contributions.

The photograph has spurred the young boy on to continue pursuing his musical talents and his scientific theory – something he's not quite ready to share with the public.

But Newell did say, "I have a complete theory. I'm just thinking that I could make AIDS be a part of your immune system."

While Newell's ideas seem grand for such a young boy, his grandmother says he has always "been different from most nine-year-olds."

Gerry Parmet said Newell, who will enter the third grade next year, already can play Beethoven by ear.

"I was so interested in microbiology," Newell said as he held up his microscope, "that the librarian at my school gave this to me."

Now Newell has his photograph of Elton John and that, he said, makes him feel happy.

In addition, Newell said he will continue studying the piano so he too can become famous one day.

Contact the reporter at blonas@prescottaz.com