Updated: Jun 10
Earlier this year, when the weight of the pandemic was everywhere, Louise Price invited us to partner with Piedmont Folk Legacies on the Piedmont Instrument Classes for Kids (P.I.C.K.) She started the program the year before with a bang at Leaksville-Spray Elementary, but when COVID-19 shut down our world, with fire-in-her-belly fortitude, Louise resolved to take the program to Zoom.
It meant finding teachers who would commit to 2 long nights of teaching a week for months; countless communications with parents and caregivers to arrange schedules; making sure students had internet access; and raising the money to pay for the program.
When the going got tough, Louise would tell me: "Just keep swimming. One day, when you see these students on stage, it will all be worth it."
Louise refused to give in to the plain fact that the odds were against these students.
I now know that she had witnessed the sheer resilience of our local children. She had experienced the joy of seeing a kid cross that invisible line from "one-who-is-totally-lost" on an instrument to one for whom music would always be a part of their life. It is what keeps her reaching out to community members, asking for support, and steadfastly refusing to give up.
I have come to love her for it.
On this beautiful and sunny spring evening at Gov. Morehead Park, there's a celebration of students happening during P.I.C.K.fest This photo of Louise with a P.I.C.K. student, captured by Joe Dexter, says everything you need to know about Louise's heart for this music, for our kids.
Keep swimming Louise. Keep swimming.