"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
Why do I believe in Scrollworks? Why is Scrollworks important to me? These are questions I can't answer in one sentence. It's pretty hard to explain how I became obsessed with Scrollworks, why I constantly want to get on Facebook just to check if Mrs. Goforth posted pircutres of that Friday or Saturday. I really can't explain why I sleep so late and wake up so early just to finish music theory worksheets for Scrollworks or why I spend hours drawing fliers to be put up on Saturdays. I honestly don't know where to start.
I joined Scrollworks about a year ago. I was at the mall with my younger brother, Steve, looking for a toy he saw on television. I swear, there isn't a toy on TV that he doesn't want! He was inside KB Toys when I decided to sit outside the store on an armchair. I looked to my right and saw a newspaper article that read, "Free Music Lessons." I wasn't taking any violin lessons from anyone at that time, so I picked up the article. After reading it, I jotted down the number and called Mrs. Goforth. A week after calling her, I decided to walk to Cave9 and when I got there, I was too shy to walk in, so I ended up walking back home. A couple of weeks later, I finally got the nerve to just walk inside, when I did I was greeted with a lot of smiles and I met my then violin instructor, Mr. Lacanski.
After that day, I began going to scrollworks every Friday and Saturday. I enjoyed walking in and getting a brownie or two and then waiting for Nick to be ready. And then after my lesson, I would just walk back home. A month or two later, when the all the violin teachers were busy, I was told to teach a kid beginners violin. I was really elated when I got the news because I have never taught anyone before and it was a new experience for me. I still remember how it went and it always gets me smiling. Well first of all, I was very confused, but I enjoyed it so much!
I honestly believe that it wasn't until December of last year that I really began to, I guess you can say, "fall" for scrollworks. Scrollworks moved to GreenCup Books, even though I was sad that we were leaving 5 points South, I was also really excited because I felt like I was part of the Scrollworks Family. That was half a year ago and my commitment and love for Scrollworks has centupled! I have never cared so much for anything, ever! I think about Scrollworks 24/7. I have to admit that every night before I fall asleep, I think of ways I can help. I think of fundraiser ideas and what I can bake and then sell. I'm always finding excuses to do anything related to Scrollworks.
My life has seriously turned around because of Scrollworks. I began taking lessons on the violin when I was eight and I enjoyed them, but I have always liked drawing best. When I was in 5th grade, I already had my entire future planned out. I was going to start to my portfolio before my junior year of high school, I was going to go to CalArts and then graduate from there and my career would be as an animator. And then I would adopt and die years later. But lately, I'm having second thoughts of what I want to do now. I am 100% positive that I want to stay with Scrollworks for as long as I can, even if that means having to stay here in Birmingham and having to change plans I've had for years. I don't want to leave Scrollworks, I enjoy it so much, it's so weird!
I swear Scrollworks is so important to me, I get this rush every Saturday morning because I know I'll be spending the next four hours doing something I love. I'll be around awesome people and I'll learn a lot new things. It would be really devasting if something happen that would prevent Mrs. Goforth and Jimmy from doing the amazing things they do everyday. I won't have anything to look foward to on Friday nights and most importantly, I won't have anything I can dedicate my time and love to.
So in conclusion, Scrollworks is really important to me because I have learned so many things just by going on Fridays and Saturdays. I learned that it's always best to think of others before yourself. I have also learned that music is just amazing! Learning and playing is just wonderful. But the most important thing that I learned from scrollworks is that if there is anything you can do to help anyone, you should always do it! Because in the end, you will always have a huge feeling of satisfaction that neither nothing nor no one can take away from you.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
This Saturday, June 13, we are having a community meeting about Scrollworks.
It will be at 4 pm at Highlands United Methodist Church, 1045 20th St S (behind the fountain at Five Points S).
If you believe in Scrollworks and what it can do for our community, it is very important that you attend.
Many of you remember that our board chair bet real money that no one would come to the last community meeting--and we had a great crowd.
We have even more to prove this time.
The meeting will be about recent teaching and policy changes, volunteer opportunities, fundraising ideas.
But we also want to listen to you, your concerns, and your ideas.
If you have a specific item you'd like discussed, please let us know and we'll put you on the agenda.
Claudia will be providing refreshments for free and a special treat as a fundraiser.
She will bring homemade banana bread, some plain and some with nuts. The bread has buttercream frosting and is decorated with strawberries.
Claudia wanted me to tell you that this will be free to all and is 230 calories per serving.
She will also be taking orders for individual servings of brownie cobbler served warm with vanilla ice cream, nuts, whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
These she will sell for $5 with all proceeds going to Scrollworks.
Please let us know if you'd like to order one or more of these decadent treats to be delivered on Saturday at Highlands.
If you've tasted Claudia's baking, that should be a major motivation to come to the meeting!
Paul Neville of NorthStar Youth Ministries sampling the sample.
Thank you all for your support. Your donations over the last week have definitely helped with not just our cash flow but our outlook.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 10:17 AM
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thanks to all who came out for the rehearsal at NorthStar yesterday. What a wonderful crowd--especially since many of the regulars were out of town for the holiday weekend.
The musicians did not even hesitate about rehearsing again today. One mom asked me if we really would rehearse on Memorial Day. I told the assembled parents that Dwight would keep their students working continuously until Friday if he could arrange it. Everyone nodded and said they'd be here.
Some of the duets and trios will begin rehearsing at 5:30 today. (And if your small ensemble wants to, come on!) Dwight asked MYO to be here at NorthStar (700 8th Ave W) at 6 pm. MCYO was asked to come at 6:30.
If you have a folding stand, please bring it.
We are still accepting applications for the free summer ensembles. (Application here.) Dwight is planning to use the orientation meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 pm, NorthStar) to set up three different nights at different locations to accomodate as many youth musicians as possible.
Reuben Cox will be working with a vocal ensemble. If you are interested, please email.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 10:46 AM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This weekend will be the last rehearsals for the MYOCA ensembles before the concert.
Because the Alabama School of Fine Arts will be closed, we will be rehearsing at NorthStar Youth Ministries, 700 8th Ave W. (Directions)
Mr. Houston has requested that both orchestras rehearse on both days:
Sunday, May 24, 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, May 25, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Mr. Houston is closing out an orchestra season he did not begin with higher expectations for all orchestra members.
He has been recruiting across the city and found several young musicians passionate enough to join us for this final concert and already committed to the orchestras for next season. We expect you to welcome them at rehearsal and your help in creating a seamless performance next Friday.
We very much appreciate that you have stuck with us through the growing pains and promise to make the coming year an enriching musical experience for all.
Across our organization, a commitment to excellence, to doing our very best, is taking a firmer hold as we begin our third year.
Much of our calendar for next season is already in place, including rehearsals and major performances.
Mr. Houston will implement his own standards as we move forward:
We will be auditioning for the higher level ensembles and for seats. There will be minimum attendance requirements for both rehearsals and performances.
We are getting a stream of performance requests for next season from a wide variety of venues including TV, festivals, libraries, etc. This is a testament to your hard work this year. Thank you! (Please work on your solos over the summer!)
Are you looking for MORE opportunities to play and perform this summer? We still are forming our free summer ensembles, which will begin rehearsing the first week in June. Download more info and the registration form here.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 5:29 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thanks to Reuben Cox, pictured here at Scrollworks with his brother, Malik, Craig Hultgren and Mrs. Cox, for filling in for Mr. Houston at the last minute. He did a great job.
Reuben is organizing an a capella ensemble for our free summer ensemble program. If you are interested, please email for a registration form.
I spoke with Dwight just after 10. He was just leaving the clinic after a third visit. He still did not sound good and had been instructed to get a good night's sleep. Please keep him in your thoughts.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 4:00 AM
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I spoke with Dwight Houston last night about the MYOCA performance on the Centre Stage at the Magic City Art Connection yesterday. He was on his way to gig and almost unable to get enough breath to speak, a few days into a bad asthma attack. I don't know how he played the saxophone, but he says he will NOT let it slow him down. Please send healing thoughts his way.
Dwight was very pleased with how the orchestras and the soloists performed on such short notice. He appreciated the Leittens participation and that Malik and his brother Robert were able to do well on a cello duet with literally a few hours notice. Everyone learned how playing outside can change the acoustics. Dwight thinks he recruited a percussionist for MYO from the audience.
(If anyone has photos of this event, please send them along.)
Next on the calendar: Mrs. Tripp's show on Thursday, May 7 and Art Feast in Avondale Park at 11 am on May 9.
Scrollworks@Hill Elementary taught 50 students yesterday! We had special help. Craig Hultgren, Serghei Tanas and Anne Donaldson of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra taught strings. Elana, a graduate of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Russia, taught piano. Thank you! Special thanks to Mr. Greene and the staff of Hill Elementary for allowing us to use the facility.
Claudia arrived at the school first. She reclined on the park bench outside the front door hugging her violin to her stomach. A kind soul passing by gave her a flier about a church in the neighborhood offering free food.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 7:34 AM
Friday, April 24, 2009
As our season finale, we will have a concert on May 29 at 6:30 pm in the recital hall at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
This performance will feature the MYOCA ensembles and select students from our Scrollworks program.
Kevin Leon teaches drums at Hill Elementary. He is preparing his students for this performance. Most of the drummers will participate in a drum line. But 2nd grader Qiara will get to perform on the drum set because her musical instincts are so good they're scary. Her biggest challenge is that she wants to play perfectly. Kevin sat at the set briefly yesterday to demonstrate pedal technique. He didn't see her jaw drop as he laid down a more elaborate beat. Qiara's hunger to be able to do that was palpable.
When we told Qiara she would play at the concert with guitar accompaniment, she groaned, "Oh, no! Not with my brother!" (Her brother, John, takes guitar from Jimmy.)
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 10:48 AM
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Cleopatria Bullock is a grandmother with a strong passion for music. She has many mobility issues and is certainly not well off. She told me yesterday that once she taught at Hill School. She has a part time job now, although I don't know what it is. Mrs. Bullock brings her granddaughters for piano lessons, but she really comes to Scrollworks because she loves music and wants to make it herself. She takes piano lessons, but she dreams of playing the guitar.
We have teasingly called Jimmy our 'Enforcer'. He has willingly taken on some difficult jobs and dealt with some difficult people. He doesn't enjoy this, but it has to be done, so he'll do it. Jimmy, like Dwight, demands a lot from his students--in truth, what it requires to be successful with an instrument. When a student avoids taking lessons from Jimmy because he is 'too hard', I know they aren't really serious about music. I so admire this young man, with wisdom and a depth of character rare at any age.
Guitar requires a certain dexterity and strength in the hands--and a stubbornness to persist while these physical skills develop. Most people give up before the muscles adapt. Jimmy tried to persuade Mrs. Bullock to take the easy path: use the piano to help her fingers get beyond the stiffness caused by a lifetime of hard work. For a few weeks, he refused to teach her guitar, sending her to practice finger exercises on the piano. She would comply, but then sit and stare morosely at Jimmy while he taught.
During this clash of the Titans, Mrs. Bullock asked me for as many Scrollworks brochures as I could supply. Then she began handing me a container filled with $1 bills and coins every time she walked in the door. This grandmother was standing outside Family Dollar in her spare time, promoting our free lessons and collecting donations. As of yesterday, she'd raised over $700 in barely a month's time.
When Mrs. Bullock brought in the first box of money, Jimmy put his head in his hands. He felt bad about denying this lady her dream, but he stuck to the piano plan. Mrs. Bullock was touched by a thank you hug from Armani. She brushed off special attention from our piano teachers. After working through a minimal piano lesson, she would retire to a chair close to the guitar lessons. She confided to me with tears in her eyes that she had used the money saved for a guitar for some other need. Jimmy endured her poignant stares for a couple of weeks, but finally sat down next to Cleo in a quiet moment for a heart-to-heart talk. She spoke of her dream and determination. He explained his expectations and standards. They came to an agreement. He would teach her. She would work hard.
Yesterday Mrs. Bullock handed me a plastic cup filled with $200 in donations as she came in the Hill auditorium. When our fundraiser extraordinaire sat down for her guitar lesson, Jimmy cut her no slack. But that's OK with Cleo. She's a Taurus and a Bullock and she wants to be a real guitar hero. Jimmy sent her out the door with one of our guitars and the admonition to practice until her fingers bled. Cleo Bullock gave a curt nod of assent, hugging the guitar close to her heart.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 5:32 AM
Friday, April 17, 2009
As many of you know, we have recently had problems at GreenCup Books with scheduling conflicts which required us to cancel or move our lessons unexpectedly.
This was especially disconcerting because notice was so late that we were already set up and had students arriving.
In an effort to forestall such issues for this coming weekend, we attempted to explore this with GreenCup's management.
This did not go well, leading Scrollworks to receive a request for its 'immediate removal' from GreenCup.
Scrollworks will NOT let you down. We have arranged another location for this weekend:
Hill Elementary School, 507 3rd St N
Friday, April 17 3:00 to 5:30
Saturday, April 18 12:00 to 5:30
We believe that it is critical to our mission that we provide quality music instruction consistently.
We have devoted time and resources to building this program to serve the community.
We have already made plans to be open every weekend through the fall except for July 3rd & 4th.
We are pursuing several options for a central, stable, family-friendly location for the weekend lessons.
We need your support. Come out for lessons this weekend. Bring your family and friends. Let us know Scrollworks matters to you.
Please help us get the word out about this location change! If you know anyone who comes to Scrollworks, please make sure they know.
Please call 908-8843 or check the website or this blog for next weekend's location.
Posted by Jeane Goforth at 10:59 AM