Enjoy this video footage from our Launch Party!
The BSOMA Team
|David Billingsley, BSOMA Executive Director sharing his passion for underserved youth & the arts.|
"The game needs to be changed."
|Standing room only electric, eclectic and joyful crowd of BSOMA supporters enjoying the evening.|
|Marie Chante, incredibly gifted spoken word artist. "Our babies will live and not die."|
|Improv Theater interpreting Marie Chante's arts access freestyle poem.|
|Arthur "L.A." Buckner sharing his personal arts access story. A teacher discouraged L.A from pursuing the arts at a very young age. Yet he stayed the course and is finishing his bachelor's degree at McNally Smith College of Music.|
|Nate Kay, Dancer, 15 year old who's life was changed at the launch. This was his very 1st professional performance opportunity. Not only did he do a set, he performed impromptu with Robert Robinson and a live band.|
|Robert Robinson doing what he does best, wowing and inspiring the audience with his amazing gift and vocal ability.|
|Kenneth Caldwell, Artist interpreting the night through visual art.|
|Kenneth Caldwell's finished original BSOMA work. This piece was auctioned off at the end of the night.|
|Pete Rhodes, Master of Ceremonies, BSOMA Board Member and CEO of BMA Network on Comcast kept us laughing and entertained all night.|
Thank you so much for being so faithful to our blog. To date we have had over 5,000 visits.
Stay tuned as we'll be releasing video footage from the launch and sharing some more new developments.
Even if you didn't make it to the launch party you can still make a financial contribution this holiday season.
The BSOMA Team
We can never do enough for our kids. They are our future.
I can truly say I've experienced a complete transformation since the journey of BSOMA started. In October of 2012 I finally decided to spread my wings and try to fly. I traded my promising teaching career in for a big, dark, empty room filled with question marks. It was scary. I knew what was in my heart, but I just wasn't sure how to make that a tangible reality.
I've dreamed of having this place where kids like me could come and receive a top-notch arts education. A place they could go that is safe and that silences the tough realities they face everyday.
Here are just a couple of those realities:
• Many children are growing up without fathers or positive male role models.
• Hearing gun shots ring out over the neighborhood is normal.
I saw way too many doors locked and closed in the faces of my peers. It was finally time to do something about what I had experienced since age 6 and still see today!
So here's my story...
All I had was a dream.
I quit my day job.
Created a business plan.
Pursued business advice and mentorship.
Read and studied daily.
Supported myself solely on my musical artistry.
Questioned and doubted myself a lot.
Lost 2 family members to illness.
I was told there was "no money out there" by the receptionist at my mentorship office.
I often felt like the dream was too big or too difficult to achieve.
Money and resources started to deplete.
Yet I persevered and kept moving forward.
Built the BSOMA infrastructure.
Came into it with a lot of thoughts and expectations.
Every expectation looked and felt completely different in the end.
I had to find a job and had 0% interest in re-entering the workforce.
All I wanted to do was BSOMA all day, everyday.
Received two job offers quickly.
One of them being MacPhail Center for Music (basically the Juilliard of music schools in the Twin Cities).
Worked over North all summer and learned a ton about the problems facing our youth.
Also trained and studied at MacPhail over the summer preparing to teach early childhood music, group piano, community partnerships, and potentially even some gospel piano!
Lost over 35 lbs.
Also receiving personal counseling to make sure I'm mentally and emotionally prepared for whats to come.
Website, posters, brochures, videos, partnerships, meetings, federal & state paperwork...
All of this in 10 months time.
My expectations have been exceeded and we're continuing on this path forever.
There's no other way I'd want it. Hard work, perseverance, and flexibility are truly paying off.