May 4, 2010 A letter from Gord Osland, OK International Children’s Festival
I want to help build a case for the fact that Arts makes life worth living. Its not fluff, its essential.
I have a story; it was music that saved me. I was dead in the water at school. Hated it. Kicked around by bullies and humiliated by teachers, I nearly fell thru the cracks. Started playing drums at 11 years old and never stopped. It was all I had to give me any sense of self-worth. Went on to a 40 year career in the music industry and I’m still playing. Music saved my life.
People ask me why I keep doing this work after 30 years working with kidsfests. I see similar stories to mine unfold every year at our festival. This is the big pay-off for me.
Children’s festivals with an international scope provide kids with possibly their first eyeball-to-eyeball connection with performing, literary and visual arts from around the world. They get to interact with artists and then go and do their own thing in the hands-on workshops on the festival site. Many kids go on to careers in the arts, both as artists and technicians. I have many letters from kids over the years that did just that and credit our Children’s Festivals for exposing them to life-changing attitudes and decisions.
Thank you and cheers all!
Rotary Okanagan International Children’s Festival