I have had some time to look over what this group is doing for the arts. The Creative Coalition understands the value of the arts in society and in education.
Many of you know I had a private violin teacher whom I adored, but I was also trained in the public school orchestra program under a group of very talented and dedicated teachers. Funding was always an issue. It was the collective efforts of the teachers and the parents that brought in funds to allow us to delve into our art. The Friends of the Orchestra, as it came to be called, brought in the funds to allow us to form chamber groups, bring in additional professionals, purchase new scores, and to have us professionally recorded. We also got to travel, accepting an invitation to perform as the opening act for the televised Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
This was our group – a group of kids in grades 8th-12th. With the exception of a lucky few, these students were taught to play in the middle and high school orchestra program. We weren’t perfect, but we loved what we did.
Growing up with autism (but undiagnosed until age 27), school was a torture chamber I was forced to visit daily. It was the orchestra that provided solace, direction, and kept me breathing on till the next sunrise.
Music, quite literally, saved my life.
A great tragedy today is that we see little value in the arts, especially when it comes to public education. This group benefitted from a strong community, which overcame the shortcomings of the school system. Will we ever see this again?