Friday, April 8, 2011
79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 17 - New Orleans' own Hot 8 Brass Band
Tonight was my last Encore show of the season and it ended with a bang. For those of you who don't know what I do for a living, I work at a state university and am the Director of Campus Activities. In the most simplest terms, I lead a department who's focus is foster learning outside of the classroom. We do that in a variety of ways - through involvement in student organizations, leadership development experiences and by providing events/activities for them to attend. One of the areas, I directly coordinate is our performing arts series. In the past three years, it was really become one of my most proud accomplishments. Three years ago we are talking about ending the series because it was a financial drain on the institution. This year, as even worse financial obstacles stand in the way of my school's operations, we won't think about cutting it because it's become a signature series on our campus and in our community. I've worked tirelessly to improve the operations of this program and we are starting to final see the pay off. Last year, the series, for the first time in recent history, ended with a positive balance (of $0 but at least we weren't in the hole). These year, I'm projected to balance out again! Huge accomplishment that just 3-4 year ago was ending with a $30,000+ deficit. For the past three year's there has always been that one show, where I stand in the back of the audience, scan the crowd and shed a tear or two of joy for my accomplishment. Tonight's show was that show for me. During the second act, the band finally got the audience up on their feet and people were singing and dancing. As I watched some of the "seasoned" ticket holders and our students dance along and enjoy this experience together, I was just overcome. We've come a long, long way in three years! I'm also grateful to the series because it allows me to offer the gift of the arts to Samantha. At just two and 1/2, she's seen some pretty amazing shows and performances and LOVES LOVES LOVES every minute of it. "Mommy go see the dancers." "Mommy go see the band." Performance arts is something Sean and I really enjoy and to see Samantha's face light up when she watches the shows is just awesome. In fact, her first show was when she was just 11 days old and she saw Adam Pascal (an original cast member of RENT) perform. Knowing that she will grow up loving music and dance and performance arts makes me excited. She's going to have a better appreciation for some many different talents and different cultures. She'll be exposed to experiences that not everyone is afforded. What a great gift for her!