The schools in Florin have an amazing art/music program. We are very blessed that in these days of school funding cuts that our programs haven't been hit too hard. But, we are also blessed in the fact that our community fully backs each program.
Sure, they love a good ball game. The same people that that are screaming in a stadium to destroy the opposing team, are the same people who put on nice clothes and will sit quietly in an auditorium to hear the school choirs sing or listen to the various bands and orchestras. Arts/photographs/poetry are frequently published in the local newspaper.
I also have to mention the instruction each program has. Our orchestra teacher may be a bit grumpy (some would say) but the music he coaxes out of each student as they play violins, violas, cellos and basses is on a professional level. And the high school choir program cannot be beat. They compete in state competitions and win. They auditioned to have the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall and was one of five choirs chosen out of the country to perform there. It is NOT a burden to go to an orchestra or choir concert. For a community as small as ours, it certainly qualifies as a cultural event.
Enter my neighbor and friend, Jillwanna. She is AMAZING!! She has the volunteer spirit and is an educator. She is currently serving as the President of our Education Foundation. She is kind and generous and won't let anyone tell her how great she is, even though we all know it and love her for it! She knew that our wonderful music programs needed a wonderful new piano for our new high school, so with her determination, she decided to get it done.
She spearheaded a gazillion fund raising concerts, barbecues, hot dog and soda sales as well as stood at doors with a tin can begging for money. All in the name of education. All for the betterment of our community.
Her determination (with the help of her board and foundation) paid off. In one year's time, our community raised $65,000 to purchase a brand new (and beautiful) recording studio quality grand piano and electronic marquee. Yes, this happened in this economy. Yes, times are tough -- even here. And yes, people pinched and saved and made these purchases possible!
Jillwanna and the foundation were very touched by our community's outpouring of support and they wanted to say thank you. What better way than to call her brother, who is a prominent musician from Utah, and asked him to come perform a concert for us? She called some community sponsors, who paid his fees, and offered to give the town of Florin a free concert. Yes, I said FREE!!! This is a very busy time of year for him... Christmas is his busiest season... and he graciously accepted the offer.
Last night was the concert. It was fabulous. We got there a bit early and scored some front row seats. Inigo, whom you know is a budding pianist, was excited to see a professional play. (I was anxious for some incentive to keep him practicing.) Buttercup loves the arts. She was lucky enough participate in both the orchestra program (middle school and Jr. High) and choir programs.
We weren't disappointed! Brother is a wonderful, engaging performer and has a musical gift that is obvious. (Yes, I'm totally jealous!) He showed great joy in every song he played! We could have sat there all night listening to him.
Thanks Jillwanna and Brother!! Thanks for a wonderful evening!!
(This is bumpy because Inigo was getting comfortable in his seat and kept bumping me. Sorry.)