Thursday, September 15, 2011

TEDx Homer: Returning to TED Alaskan style

Years ago, a colleague sent me the link to Sir Ken Robinson's Ted Talk:  Schools Kill Creativity and I've been hooked on TED ever since.  Little did I know that a few years later, I would be directly involved with TED - helping them realize the wish of 2009 TED Prize Winner, Dr. Abreu.  This musician and economist wanted "to train fifty gifted young musicians, passionate for their art and social justice, and dedicated to develop El Sistema in the US and in other countries." The Abreu Fellowship was born.  I was honored to serve in this fellowship's first class and created this blog to document the fellowship and the work that followed here in Juneau.

When I heard TED was holding a conference in Homer, Alaska, I wanted to be able to come full circle and share how a TED wish helped create an early childhood instrumental program for 120 kindergarten and 1st grade students in Alaska, called JAMM! Kat Haber, the TEDx Homer Coordinator, gladly accepted my request and helped with travel and lodging to get me there. 

While in Homer, I had the delight and honor of staying in the home of Cherish McCallum, a private music teacher.   Both she and Kat are remarkable women who contribute above and beyond this Southeast community. 

Cherish donates JAMM's first cello
Here's just one example:

When Cherish gave me a tour of her studio, she pointed to a small quarter-size violin and cello that her teenage daughter and son played when they were young.  "I've been looking for a home for these two instruments, where they'd give the same joy they gave my children.  I'd like to donate these to your program, JAMM."

Thank you, Cherish.  

Being involved in the TEDx Homer event was an incredible experience.  I met passionate people who make things happen in their communities.   My TED talk neared the end of the evening and I was nervous.  But throughout, I kept reminding myself that this talk is my heartfelt "thank you" to the TED community and to all of the people who believe in the power of music and the right for all children to have access to it.

Thank you, Kat Haber, Aaron Suring, Bob Burns and Erin Hollowell, for helping me with my script and visuals.  Congratulations on a successful event!

Speakers stand together on stage for the end the TEDx Homer event

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