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Recap – JBS Fine Arts Leadership Revival

Saturday night’s Fine Arts Leadership Revival was certainly an extraordinary special event for the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. For those of you who could not attend, you missed a spectacular combination of music, performing arts, oration and more – all with the central theme of leadership throughout every part of the show. Local, state, and national fine arts leaders discussed and affirmed the strong connections between fine arts training and SAT/ACT scores for high school students, saying that fine arts students generally score nearly 20% higher on these standardized tests as compared to all students. J-ROC greeted the audience, participated in the leadership panel with other fine arts professionals, and held a post-show gathering backstage for all interested attendees, speaking to them one-on-one about his feelings concerning fine arts leadership and education. His comments were similar to those he gave during his acceptance speech for the two Grammys that he won as a music producer last January.

The impact to the Institute was and will continue to be tremendous. JBS wished to 1) Highlight the demonstrated leadership attributes and behaviors of a celebrity with West Texas roots who is giving back to our community, 2) Focus on and illuminate how leadership manifests in the fine arts, 3) Attract a different demographic to JBS; try something of this nature to be more inclusive and expansive in our outreach to young Texans and, 4) Establish new connections for our Shepperd Edge program.

We were able to fully accomplish all four objectives. J-ROC is a leader with great humility and his comments revealed that leader’s attribute clearly. When asked by CBS 7 Emcee and leadership panel moderator Jay Hendricks, “What is it like working with all those stars, such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, etc. he rightfully reminded us that “many of those stars came from small towns just like I did” and through their perseverance became accomplished and then well-known.

“Paying it forward”, “taking it home”, and “because I said I would” were among the leadership themes that were heavily emphasized throughout the evening. Daisy Jeffery used a “backstory” approach to explain how a certain Mr. Tarpley from Crane had “paid it forward” by presenting J-ROC a check for $500 in the 1980s when J-ROC was headed off to college to study music but had very limited means. That act of kindness and leadership made a great impact on J-ROC who never forgot it. Today there is a collaboration with the Tarpleys for the scholarships that J-ROC has initiated for West Texas students. The Institute’s namesake, former Attorney General John Ben Shepperd often used the phrase “taking it home” to mean applying the full measure of one’s leadership potential in community; leadership by demonstrated action. J-ROC “took it home” through his action in establishing scholarships for young music students – that’s something to hold up and celebrate as an exemplar of impactful leadership. Finally, the entire Jeffery Family from Crane (J-ROC’s extended family), paid it forward by donating their time and energy to be a part of this JBS special events. There was an enormous effort in preparation and much time spent in rehearsal to weave together the music, the messages, the panel, and the other facets of this event.

Two professional bands, well established recording artists donated their time to the event by a sense of total dedication and commitment. They were “Tim Curry and the Will Dunlap Project” and “Music 7.5″. In summary, nobody associated with the performances was paid for what they did – they all did it “because they said they would”, taking a leadership line from Mr. Alex Sheen of “because I said I would” fame.

With respect to attracting new followers of JBS, most of the young people who we worked with on the show and who came to see it were newly familiarized with our Institute. They now understand that John Ben Shepperd stands for all Texans in every part of Texas. We stand at the leading edge of the social trends and makeup of our great State and we must always be present there. Our times are so different than General Shepperd’s but as he reached out to the youth of his times, so we are reaching out to ours in like measure. The young people involved in Saturday night’s event are not only impacted for one night – they will begin to talk about it on social media and spread the word that the Institute is a friend and this will increase our outreach and footprint throughout Texas.

JBS also partnered with VSA Texas (Very Special Arts) and obtained two “video selfies” from members and students with disabilities who were studying, playing, and writing music – these were shown on the Wagner Noel big screen and extremely well-received by all. We will follow up with VSA to see if there’s any possibly of offering a suitable leadership program for them.

In conclusion, if you did not attend Saturday night’s event, you missed a high-energy show that was a first for the Shepperd Institute. Senator Kel Seliger’s video selfie was also a hit and we thank him for his consistent support of our activities. There were many standing ovations from the entire audience. The show buoyed the hopes of hundreds of youths in our area and demonstrated once again that hard work, discipline, perseverance, and education can enable you to achieve your dreams and that leadership manifests in the fine arts in many strong and powerful ways. Here’s a great NPR podcast about the phenomenal Jeffery Family and J-ROC: http://kxwt.org/j-roc-and-the-musical-legacy-of-crane-texas/

“J-ROC AND THE MUSICAL LEGACY OF CRANE, TEXAS”

You can click the PLAY button to hear the podcast.

Bob