Please welcome back to the blog my son Baker Lawrimore. Below is a piece he wrote for a class at UNCG. I thought you might enjoy his thoughts on how music and culture merge to create lessons greater than either could teach alone.
Back in Asheville, I was at church every Sunday and Wednesday. At First Baptist
Church of Asheville, music is an integral part of education, worship, and missions.
Church music is hard to do well because most groups only meet once, maybe twice a
week. I learned that in order to make church music work, rehearsals have to be
incredibly focused. By being in that church so many years, I experienced how a
director has to be well prepared so that rehearsal runs smoothly.
A.C. Reynolds High School loves the arts. It pursues musical excellence in the
classroom, on the stage, and on the field. Marching band requires a strict attendance
policy. When marchers are missing, rehearsal becomes much less effective. You can’t
make the show happen without everyone attending rehearsals, learning the music,
and learning the drill. By being in marching band, I saw how dedication of learners
orients a group towards excellence.
In Asheville, music is everywhere. It is a fundamental part of that weird Ashevillian
culture. Everyday you’ll hear an array of musical styles from the plethora of
musicians roaming the streets. Experiencing this exciting musical atmosphere
makes music a part of life. It’s always there, but it’s not something we take for
granted. The energy and passion that the city puts into its music moves its people to
have that energy too. I see this energy in teachers in the community, and in all of
I learned a lot in these different cultures. Church taught me that directors must be
prepared. School taught me that music requires dedication from all students. And,
Asheville taught me that music is passion. That’s not to say that in church, learners
weren’t dedicated, or that in school, teachers weren’t passionate. To an extent, all
three of these cultures influenced those beliefs I have about teaching and learning.
There is a sense of tradition, or even eternity, felt in these cultures. I know that
music will always be a part of those communities. It will never leave. When music
instruction is at its best, there is a deep connection between the musicians and with
the music. Without the sense of tradition and relationship, there is little meaning to
what we do as musicians. The dedication, passion, and preparation that those
communities have all help create that sense of meaning and make teaching and
learning music a vital part of life.
Please welcome guest blogger, Baker Lawrimore. Recently, during First Baptist Church of Asheville’s annual youth Sunday, he spoke of his experience on choir tour with the youth group. A portion of his message follows.
This past summer, our youth group went on a choir tour to New England. Towards the end of the tour we drove through Connecticut and were planning to stop in Sandy Hook. We were driving to the elementary school and got stopped at the fire station right outside the school. They didn't want tons of people coming by and turning the school into a tourist attraction. We asked if we could get off the bus and just say a prayer at the fire station close to the school. We got out and we circled up and Jenny said a prayer for us. I don't remember the exact words, but the point of the prayer was that even though things so awful and terrible happen, God is still God.
I'm sure most of you heard about the signs they put up in Sandy Hook saying "We are Sandy Hook and we choose love." I think this shows that the people of Sandy Hook really embody today's Scripture.
To me, the scripture says a few things. It says that I don't have to be held back by grudges or anger anymore because God's telling me to be free from that. It makes me feel blessed because I know I am forgiven. But, most of all, I think this scripture is a call. A call to let the kingdom of God come alive on Earth through your compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.
Notice that the scripture doesn't simply say to "be kind" or "be patient." It says to "clothe yourselves” with these virtues. The scripture tells us to let the message of Christ dwell among us. My whole life I've been taught that the message of Christ is love. In this passage, it says that "over all these [virtues], put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” This makes me picture love as a big coat. A coat sort of contains all of the other clothes on your body. I take this to mean that when you have love, you also have all of the other virtues. Because when you focus on love, everything else will fall into place.
When we come together and, like the people of Sandy Hook, "choose love," then we also choose compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. And when we do this, we are living together as a community of Christ and glorifying God in everything we do.
Baker Lawrimore is a Senior planning to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the fall, majoring in music education. His primary instrument will be voice and his secondary organ. In addition to his other remarkable qualities, Baker wears size 15 shoes. Go ahead: be impressed.
by guest blogger, Baker Lawrimore
“Hey Cameron, need a ride?” We were moving pretty slowly (Cameron can't move as quickly as other kids his age) and we needed to pick up the pace.
“Yep,” he said, beaming as I hoisted him up and headed to the next session of the Fine Arts Camp. I was there as a teen helper; Cameron as a camper.
My friend Cameron Brown is extraordinary. I've thought about it, and I truly can't remember a time when Cameron was grouchy, moody, or even disagreeable. By contrast, he is absolutely delightful, even though his life hasn’t been easy. You see, Cameron has had a developmental disorder since birth. He’s had to take growth hormone shots, has been bullied, and has struggled to learn. Yet, Cameron emits contagious joy. Cameron has taught me a lot about life. Just by being the joyful, grateful person that he is, he blesses the people around him. As a college student, I hope to serve my community by living my life the way my friend Cameron lives his.