Long-time educator Jim Morrison has taught across south-central Indiana and shares his thoughts about the quality, value, and “joyous” experiences provided by the Lotus Blossoms Educational Outreach program for K-12 schools and students. Jim now leads a classroom of 5th and 6th graders at The Project School — his students continue to enjoy Lotus Blossoms including last year’s Blossoms residency with Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus.
“My first collaboration was in the fall of 2000 when I was a new assistant principal at Grandview Elementary School in Bloomington. A colleague at my former school called and asked if we might be interested in a performance by a French Canadian group. The band had been booked and the date fell through at the last minute. Would we be willing to host Matapat later that week?
I am so glad my principal agreed. The performance was a perfect mix of instruction and musicianship. The band explained their instruments, the history of their music and French Canadian culture. Their set was lively and accessible. Their teaching was engaging and polished. I remember at the end of the set the kids were clapping and singing and fully involved in the music. It was joyous.
In the years that followed I made sure to bring a Lotus Blossoms performance to my school each year. I was never disappointed. I have seen a fair share of school convocations and assemblies. None compare, in my mind, to the quality of the programming provided by Lotus. Additionally, the cost to the school was significantly lower than other school program alternatives. When combined with the performances that the MCCSC organized and the Blossoms festival at Binford we were able to create many high quality learning experiences for our students.
The last Blossoms program I was able to organize was about seven years ago. A trio from Rwanda performed. We had no stage, so the musicians set up in the cafeteria and the students sat on the floor in front of them. As the energy of the music rose, the students started to dance. The students, K-6, moved forward and danced together with the performers during the final song. It was was perhaps the most purely joyous moment of the school year.
I give my heartfelt thanks to Lotus for making these amazing moments possible for children.”
(Photos: Students listen and dance with Jean-Paul Samputu (Rwanda) at Nashville Elementary School, 2007)