Saturday, July 26, 2008

Birmingham and the Crayola Box Youth Orchestra

That's my dream.
What image comes into the mind of the world when they think of "Birmingham, Alabama"?

Just this week I have talked to Anwar Marquette. In 1963, he told me, he had his protest sign taken out of his hands by Bull Connor only blocks from where we teach free music lessons at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

I talked to Leslie Belser yesterday about the college students of all races that canvassed Birmingham in the 1960's to raise money for the civil rights movement. In the Smithfield neighborhood where she lives and where we teach at Hill Elementary and the NorthStar Youth Minisitries, many phones were tapped.

That's what people the world over remember when they think of our city.

I want to change that. I want the world to bring to mind a youth orchestra with a Crayola box of faces performing beautiful music with passion and joy.

That can't happen now. Only some of the crayons have access to the music lessons they need to be able to play in harmony, with skill and passion. So we have to 'grow' our own orchestra, fill the box with all the colors. That's what Scrollworks is about.

And it's working. All of our ensembles for the coming year will be more diverse. The younger ensembles will include many of the wonderful young musicians from within the city limits of Birmingham that we have met over the last 6 months.

It's hard work. But my dream will come true because I am going to MAKE it happen.
I could make it happen better and faster with your help. Email me.

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