For the last three or four years, Indiana County has been treated to live, local music and entertainment in conjunction with the Jimmy Stewart Festival weekend. The hope was that this event could grow and eventually bring back outdoor festivals to downtown Indiana.
I’m sorry to say it, but it looks like there will not be a Jimmy Stewart street festival this year. This is a blow for Indiana County, its culture and its musicians.
This region is rich with talented professional and amateur artists, musicians and thespians.
These talents are present in our elementary, middle and high schools. You need only visit any one of the many churches or faith-based organizations on a Saturday or Sunday to find some of the most talented worship teams and leaders.
It’s about time this region rises up and works with us to help showcase the creative genius that lives in this region.
What good are our local facilities if you can’t showcase local talent in them?
During the summer, local communities such as Smicksburg, Creekside, Dayton, Cookport, Indiana and others showcase their crafts, vendors and talents with traditional festivals. Their stages are filled with kids, teens, adults and senior citizens sharing and singing traditional, contemporary, folk, jazz and country. Area bars, restaurants and other venues offer stages for artists to play.
Recent guests on my acoustic hour radio show (1160/WCCS) were the Homer-Center Nuclear Percussion Group & Outdoor Color Guard and the Marion Center junior/high school choir.
All demonstrated skills and talents beyond their years.
Cultural appreciation and development are not something taught in school. It must be experienced. Music, arts, theater, craft and dance offer young and old a one-on-one chance to share in its wonder and spirit.
Though music plays an important role in our lives, we sometimes get in the way, talk too loud when the songs are being played and act as if those stories need not be told.
“Music was his life, it was not his livelihood, but it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good, and he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul, but he didn’t know how well he sang, it just made him whole.”
— Lyrics from “Mr. Tanner” by Harry Chapin