Maui – Joe Turano and I in high school

I hope and pray that this is the start of a “new thing” tradition in Maui, Hawaii. We made up some of the missed moments here by not only having a real good concert night but by arriving early and joining their community outreach effort and spending sometime with a group of high school performing art students. Amazing, more than half of them were theater students.

They were delightful. No other words are better to describe them. They had bright eyes, smiling faces, and expectant attitudes. Somebody must have told them that I taught Justin Timberlake all he knows because that’s how they welcomed me.

“What’s your name,” I said pointing to a young man to my left in the first row. He grinned and said, “John.” I said, “John for President!” Then I said, “And your name?” “Ok Ellie for congressman!” And Pete for Senator, and so forth because I trust you to make good decisions for my family and me. WHY? Because you are studying all about feelings, emotions, human joys, and yearnings that are all portrayed in the arts that you love and do, especially the young kids in theater. You are in the workshop of human sensitivities and emotions. It’s right there in the script. Then you understandingly express all of that in the lines that you say. These same sensitivities are written into the lyric of a song. If you are painting in oils or watercolors, you’re painting emotions that are coming directly from your soul and heart. The long and broad continuum is from pain and sadness to joy and happiness. These are the things you study in the arts. To many of our people in congress have DEAD sensitivities. They don’t know anything about Romeo and Juliet and could not sing you one love song. I don’t want those kinds of people making decisions for me whether universal health care for everyone is a good or bad thing! I don’t want those kinds of people making decisions for me whether we should make air and water polluters clean up their mess. We must have clean air and clean water. I trust you to make those kinds of decisions but you have come to have a sensitive heart. Please take your sensitivities to City Hall and Washington.

They got it! If you’re reading this, I hope you get it. And hear are the beauties of studying music, art, dance, and theater for students. Department of studies will tell you that 90% of people who read music will go onto college. Those are statistics that you can read. The arts are the workshops of human sensitivities. It’s called sensitivity training. In fact, in the 1960s social workers throughout California went to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur for weekends in sensitivity training. This was a direct effort by private and governmental helping professions to further open the sensitivities of its professionals. Interactive workshops and role-playing etc! I won’t go on, I hope you get the point. These kids got it.

Joe and I talked about other specifics of studying and playing, and Joe, my music director, was brilliant.

Amazing, we, Joe and I, discovered a new relationship between the two of us. I broke into “Summer Time” and Joe immediately heard the key and accompanied me as though we had done this a hundred times. I had so much fun that I found myself thinking and saying that we should make this a tradition at Baldwin High School and do it every year. Somewhere along the line I mentioned how this was like a commencement program and address.

Linda, the drama teacher and cheerleader, had been a student and now had returned as a teacher to that very same classroom and it was touching and heart warming to see how these students loved and adored this teacher. Chocked me up.

They came to the concert that next night and sang loud and cheered when I mentioned their school. It was obvious to all that a really poignant connection had been made. Of course the performance that night was magical and excellent.

Ok that’s it you guys. See you tomorrow night in Honolulu!


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