Monday, June 15, 2015
The Magic's in the Music
In my book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities, I wrote about Ironworks, home of the ORNG Ink, and other creative endeavors. Today I had the opportunity to attend the "Creative Musicianship Recital" led by teachers Doug and Jessie with their three "graduating" students, all Orange middle school students. I had no idea what creative musicianship might be, but it started with all of us clapping to the beat of our individual hearts and then shifting until we were all clapping together. It got better: the five of them joined together to play a "Drum Concerto." After it was over we in the audience clapped our hands off with the joy and surprise of it! Then Molly asked some questions: what did you like best? Shudnuk -- who stars in a video about factories in the Valley -- told a story about dividing into two groups and practicing in two different rooms and then having the experience of seeing how it worked when the groups were brought back together. It's hard to go wrong with kids and music, so I don't want to appear silly and sentimental. It's not that that got my heart. It is that the kids had been led into the structure of the music and were inventing it in concert with their teachers. That's like kids doing robotics or 3-D printing. In fact, Shudnuk is joining the Robotics Team at Orange Preparatory Academy, a team that went to China and won first place. The dad of the drummer was as overwhelmed as I was. He kept thanking Doug and Jessie for making something positive -- he was beaming with joy. In a city like Orange, there's not a lot of money -- our wealth is in Shudnuk and all of the kids.