Friday, November 28, 2008


(This is a blurry photo of our appearance on Ms. Tripp's show 'The Almighty Eyes', Brighthouse Channel 4 on November 15.)

We've been in a huge transition over the last month. It's proving to be a very good thing. There's an undercurrent of excitement and the new watchword, 'Excellence', is already producing results.

I'm getting good at explaining what I don't want to do, while realizing that what I am trying to do is impossible for one person. So many have come to my rescue and I greatly appreciate it. The board, the staff, the parents and the students: Craig, Rick, John, Edwin, Dwight, Harry, Jimmy, Janet, Jenny, Cindy, Leslie, Carrie, Claudia, Brian, and many more. Thank you!

In the process, I've discovered that so many didn't know the big picture. So I wrote out my vision:
Cave9 was an accident. I think all real innovation is. Our original intent was to duplicate El Sistema, with Hill as a model school. Cave9 was just going to be another node or 'nucleo' as they are called in El Sistema. But Cave9 has turned out to be something so important that I can't find words for what happens there. I wish I could convey it. The teachers see it. The students and their parents see it. The ensembles have to be a product of this. We need 9000 ensembles--ensembles for adults, ensembles for  piano and guitar, whatever will bring people to sit side by side, make music and communicate. But it all begins with that chaos at Cave9, the core tenet of which is free music lessons for anyone who walks in the door. It is unique and Birmingham needs to exploit that in all sorts of ways.

I want to take Cave9, figure out how to make it possible for anyone to duplicate with their own resources, distill it into a 5 page brochure and distribute it to everyone. I want someone in Hale County to do it at their church, someone in Mississippi to take it up at their school. Molly's already doing it every Thursday at a Unitarian church in Louisville. Maybe they can do it under our umbrella, maybe they have to do it independently.The Julia set is my mental picture of how that would look. I want the students to feed into ensembles that start local and become regional. (That IS like El Sistema.) I want those ensembles to represent a true cross-section of the underlying community.

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