What an exciting morning it has been! My friends over at Metro United Way asked Jack Griffin, principal violist with the Louisville Orchestra, and me, to stop by for their annual Fund for the Arts employee campaign and away we went. Yes, of course, the MUW employees support the Fund for the Arts. And, the FFTA employees support MUW. We are all in this 2gether!

The folks were captivated by Jack’s story of how just $5 can change a child’s life. Jack grew up in Shively. His dad, a WWII veteran, brought Jack’s mom home from Germany after the war. They struggled to make ends meet. One day during fourth grade, Jack came home from school, announced to his mother he was going to join the music program, and asked for $5 to cover the annual rental fee for the violin. She said, “No, we can’t afford it. I have to put food on the table.” End of discussion? Not so fast!

Jack knocked on doors all the way down the street with the family lawnmower, which he had never started, until he convinced the frightening old man at the end of the block to let him give the lawnmower a whirl. Jack says after 17 hours of cutting grass, he knocked on the old man’s door, held out his hand for payment and only received one quarter. At which point Jack began to cry. The man asked what was wrong and Jack told him he needed $5 to rent a violin. The man reached into his pocket, pulled out a $5 bill and handed it to Jack. The rest is history!

Jack played in the Louisville Youth Orchestra until he auditioned for the Louisville Orchestra at age seventeen, which earned him a four year scholarship to the University of Louisville. He spent his whole life thinking he would join the military and become a pilot. Not so fast! First in his family to graduate from college, he did become a pilot. That’s right! You may remember: Jack Griffin, male model, on the front cover of the Audience magazine! Of course he was photographed playing his viola whilst hanging out of the cockpit of the Red Baron, flying over Louisville! He traded his lawnmower for a violin that became a viola, and now you can find Jack going door to door on the campaign trail, sharing his story of how $5 makes all the difference. “Jack of Arts” is everywhere!

Meet me at the Louisville Palace on April 30th and hear the Louisville Orchestra perform The Music of Queen: A Rock Symphony. Click here for ticket information. “Jack of Arts!” Music of Queen! Louisville Palace! I guess that makes you King (or Queen)! When you make a gift to the Fund for the Arts you really are the one who makes it all happen! If you can’t wait until next week, meet me tonight at Walden Theatre on Payne Street for the In Celebration of Shakespeare event! THANK YOU!

See photos of my friends at MUW and Jack on the Campaign Trail on our Flickr page!

2gether, through the Arts, we create a GREAT AMERICAN CITY!

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