“I just don’t think I can do this.” Joe’s face was the picture of disappointment. I tried to think what to say.
Joe was a young violinist from Florida. He and his sister were self-taught fiddlers who’d seen us perform at their church and made the long, hot drive from the Everglades to Music City USA for our Summer Music Festival.
They’d arrived with bells on, but now Joe’s enthusiasm was crushed under a pile of orchestra music he couldn’t read. “I think the best thing may be for my sister and me to head home.”
“Give it another day,” I said. “I’ll talk to Kirsten about working with you personally so you can get the music in your ear. Let’s see what 48 hours brings.” Joe reluctantly agreed, and I called up Kirsten, one of our long-time violin faculty members. She took Joe under wing, and I hoped for the best.
Two days passed, and I got a good report: Joe was making progress. During the Festival we write and arrange five professional shows for the musicians who register, and the event can be a whirlwind. The night of our final Gala, we performed at the Grand Ole Opry House to a great crowd.
After the show Joe came up to me. “I had the time of my life,” he said. “I’m going to come back next year.” And he did - this time having studied with a new teacher and courses in theory and note-reading under his belt.
I know that summer changed the trajectory of Joe’s life. That’s our mission - to glorify God by forming extraordinary young artists.