I simply could not resist this title as my thoughts returned to a wonderful musical experience during the fall of 2011 in Jamestown, New York, the hometown of Lucille Ball and the legendary band, 10,000 Maniacs.


Although this was the busiest year touring in my entire career (9 countries in 6 months warrants that memory), the brief in-residency program I was invited to participate in for the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts School was a genuine standout for a great many reasons.

Instead of feeling like I was the one bringing everything on this musical trip because of the support of all my dedicated sponsors, this time I felt that I was joining a very talented crew. In this small community, there is a resourceful and clever group of people who truly care about reaching out into the community, particularly to the youth. Without the support of this group, these young folks would not be likely to experience anything remotely close to what is offered at expensive music and arts colleges without spending thousands and thousands of dollars.

Shane Hawkins and Stephanie Rogers appear at the helm of this great ship, The Infinity. Shane, in particular, with the unrivaled focus of the International Soccer Mom Winner of soccer moms, almost seems to forge forward with a drive that, to be perfectly honest, I rarely see in any field.  Her care for the program of arts in the community, the accessibility to the students and the obvious strength of personal bonds among the students, as well as the many instructors on site, is quite an inspiration to behold. 

I thought I cared about students I have had in the past and recall how important that experience and feeling was between my mentors and me. But Shane and Stephanie bring this vision to a new level.  The reason it is easy to be so glowing about this recent trip is that this dedication and commitment is something I rarely experienced so plainly. 

At Infinity, every chance for learning is in place for the youth of the community. They have access to sound reinforcement education, musical instruments and styles, and performance opportunities. But, more than any of these details relating to the arts in general, is the attitude.  I repeat – THE ATTITUDE.  If I had more than one wish (hey, let’s be honest), one of them might very well be that communities worldwide would take a very serious close look at exactly what these folks at Infinity doing for their community in such a selfless way and respond accordingly.  Remember Johnny Appleseed? Let’s grow these musicians and artists one seed at a time.


Richard Gilewitz’s Meet the Artist; Music in the Schools Programs help light the ignitions for budding musicians and artists in communities worldwide. Bring him to your town by contacting him at contact@richardgilewitz.com.

Originally posted 2011-12-06 01:28:25.