A lovely ending to a lovely four days. Gathered one more time this morning to prepare our 5-minute closing performance, our rousing version of Peter Piper with speech canon and body percussion(yes, I get paid for this), a group photo, a short “name that quote Jeopardy game (see below), my choral arrangement of an Emily Dickinson poem and a closing circle with people naming their “takeaways” and appreciations. Amongst many moving testimonies was a teacher who said that she had gone to many workshops and come away with good ideas, but they never changed her teaching that much. She felt like this workshop will not only radically changed her as a teacher, but has changed her as a person. As a teacher, there are not more welcome words than that to hear!
And so I write from the Denver Airport, wondering if the plane will indeed go to San Francisco, but a good time to take one more look back at this marvelous gathering in Oklahoma. And so I thought it appropriate to share here the quotes from my little game, each one from a notable Oklahoman (and don’t forget to listen to the Charlie Christian story and hear his music).
Thanks to the Oklahoma Arts Institute for their stellar work and to these marvelous human beings below.
• Will Rogers:“Schools ain’t like they used to be and never was.”
• Woody Guthrie: “I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.
I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built. I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
Ralph Ellison: “Education is all a matter of building bridges.”
“I am an invisible man. No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids, and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me.”
• Charlie Christian:1916-1942 (25 years old)
Seven Come Eleven: https://youtu.be/syfDk5W5PrM
• Short Youtube bio: https://youtu.be/zcC18U5HoY8