Show 205

The Joy of Music

“… we weren’t financially able to continue music lessons. That was something that was important to us. We were really going to try to figure out some way to get some of the children lessons one way or another.” – Joyce Thames, parent of a student

For some Knoxville area parents who didn’t have the means to provide music lessons or an instrument for their child, no money used to mean no music. But that changed when a special school was created to make music a possibility in the life of every child.

“The Joy of Music School exists to provide disadvantaged and at risk children free music lessons. These are kids that come from homes that can’t afford to make up for the losses in the public school system where they’re cutting the orchestra, the band, the choir.” – Francis Graffeo – Exec. Director, Joy of Music School

Student, Kristen Thames, now has the opportunity to play the violin that belongs to her mother. Breyon Ewing, a Joy of Music piano student, had his incredible singing voice ‘discovered’ by school staff and teachers. Some vocal training followed, and the result is that Breyon is now looking forward to college, thanks to a prestigious vocal scholarship. Playing a major role in such Joy of Music success stories are the volunteer teachers who devote their time and talent to the children.

I think one of the coolest things about the fact that teachers aren’t paid here is you know you’re going to get teachers who want to help students. They are not in it for themselves. They’re in it because they have a real desire to help these students.
Andrew Skoog, volunteer teacher

For more on the Joy of Music School, visit their website at

Urban Shakespeare

In the words of Shakespeare, “all the world is a stage. And all the men and women merely players.” For far too many inner city youth, their “world”, their “stage”, is a neighborhood filled with violence. It’s for this reason that Creative License host, and former Tennessee State University drama director, Barry Scott, brought a radical updating to Shakespeare’s classic, “Romeo and Juliet.”

So a family feud between the Capulets and Montaques transforms into a gang war between the Bloods and the Crips. Swords turn into guns. It was only when rehearsals began that Barry realized one of his student performers, Tamara McMoore, had a real life relationship to the fictional material.

“I was a thug for the Bloods back in the day. I was the go-to girl. If something needed to be handled moneywise, physical wise, you know… I was the hell-raiser.” – Tamara McMoore, TSU student

As production of the play progresses, Tamara finds herself reliving not only the emotions she felt as a gang member, but also the pain she felt when she lost a loved one to gang violence. Sharing that past with her director affected not only her performance, but her life.

“… and I told Mr. Scott what had happened, and let him know some of the things that had happened in my past, and he taught me how to focus that fear, and that nervous energy into my character… And it worked… I don't think I'm there fully yet. But I think I'm close to it.” – Tamara

Art changes lives… and can sometimes bring healing.

Metal in Motion

Inside every child is an artist. Inside every artist is a child. For Memphis metal sculptor, Yvonne Bobo, the child inside her still remembers the inspiration of maple seeds whirling downward from a tree.

“… oh I love these things. They’re so beautiful. I’d love to be in a helicopter and drop a thousand of these on a park sometime.” – Yvonne Bobo, metal sculptor

Now, as a adult, Yvonne is drawn to create public works that leave viewers with the sense of peace and magic that nature gives her when a gentle breeze puts objects into motion. To accomplish that, Yvonne uses the artistic medium of metal. Her sculptures not only have the strength to stand up under nature’s pushes and shoves, but these sculptures also ‘play’ with nature so the piece is always moving, always changing… in schoolyards, parks, public buildings, and hospitals around Memphis.

“Yvonne’s piece that is outside our large waiting area, was designed so that when children walk in there, they immediately are allowed to forget why they are there. They realize they are in a waiting room, but their eyes go to a place that is magical.” – Linda Hill, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital

Yvonne and metal as an artistic medium did not start out on friendly terms. The permanence of metal and its toughness is why everyone wants it, but those were the very things Yvonne found herself fighting with. She says that gradually she found herself accepting the nature of metal and working with it. The end results are colorful metal pieces that play with sunlight and wind to form eye-pleasing islands of art.

“ I want people to look at art again. And I want people to have a moment with it somehow. And to stop thinking about their daily lives and their stress, and just look at something and just be right there.” – Yvonne

Want to see more of Yvonne’s incredible art? Visit her website at