I recently visited a friend in Waco, and she had a great surprise for me when I arrived. We went to the Silo District, made famous by the Fixer Upper duo, Chip and Joanna Gaines, for the bi-annual Silobration...a fun and wonderful evening. I could barely believe how the area had been transformed! When I was there in the 90's, the Silo District was (in my opinion) an eyesore. It was not attractive at all...but in the hands of the masters of design and renovation, it has become totally beautiful! I was amazed. The silos were aglow, and people roamed the streets, enjoying a wonderful fall evening...shopping, eating, laughing, listening to music, and just being together. The area had come alive with joy!!
There was a gallery/store of sorts where things were sold just like the things Joanna used to decorate all the "fixer uppers" on the show. It was no surprise that they were beautiful things, and all of the rooms were tastefully decorated to show off the beautiful merchandise.
My friend Melanie and I were talking and laughing, and she began speaking to a guy...then introduced him as Clint Harp, the wordworking genius of the show. How cool was that? And...you've gotta know...he was just as nice in person as he seems to be on the show. And...in addition...all of the Fixer Upper gang was there at the Silobration...Shorty and all the others from the show. There were people in attendance from all over the world. We waited on Chip and Joanna as if they were royalty...and indeed...they are Waco royalty.
The band played and sang, and Clint, Shorty, and the gang spoke to the crowd. One of the things I loved about the evening was to hear how Fixer Upper had changed lives. It was also great to hear the guys' thanks for the fan support they had been given during the years the show aired. Shorty talked about how the show had changed all of their lives for the better. I'm supposing that they lived rather modest lives at one time, but when the fame of Fixer Upper came into their lives...Wham-o! Life changed. It is so heartening to know that life can change in the most positive of ways, leaving them really busy even now. The effects of the show remain...and they are grateful.
During all of this, Chip was watching from the rooftop of the gallery/store. Not only were the main characters of the show around, but there was a special area for all of their employees from the store to be a part of the evening. I thought it was really cool that Chip and Joanna had taken care of those who make their lives wonderful. Chip listened for a while, and then he left the rooftop. What? Well...wouldn't you know it? When he appeared again, he was on stage in the shortest green and gold Baylor running shorts you could imagine (he is as funny as the show implies), and Joanna was in jeans and a ballcap. There ya go....royalty at its finest. They are who they are, and they seem to be real people, enjoying their contribution to the fun-loving lifestyle that is the Magnolia Silobration.
So...what do I make of all of this? I guess I think about music, music education, and students in classrooms and choirs. Chip and Joanna became who they are through their daily routine of work and creativity. Every day, they brought their own expertise, personalities, humor, quirks, family, and love for each other to the set. They somehow learned how to incorporate it into an unexpected opportunity called "Fixer Upper." They stayed with the show until they felt it was time to go out on top, and when they did move on, they continued to contribute to the lives of a community (Waco) that had given much to them, making their corner of the world a better place. Of course, they now have the resources to do anything they want to do in the world, but they also have made others' lives better as well. They "pay it forward" in whatever way they feel appropriate.
Choral directors do this every day of life...we just do it with sounds...choral programs...and the "scenery" is different (rehearsal rooms). Through hard work and our own preparation and expertise, we create something beautiful, if we work really hard to exhaust every artistic resource within us. And when we do....if we are fortunate....some students may eventually look back at their lives, and express gratitude. We know we are fed every day by the opportunity to work with students to create something beautiful, but we long for the day when they themselves can look back and say, "We sang beautifully. I loved it. I always want music in my life. I want music in the lives of my children."
At that point, we have entered into their value systems of adulthood in a new, wonderful way. That is definitely a "celebration" for music educators!!