Here on the cusp of a new year – I’m standing in awe and thankfulness to God for where we’ve been,
what we’ve done, and who we’ve walked with along the way.
We’ve had 64 rehearsals leading up to 10 performances – including: the Peace Officers Memorial at Courthouse Park, the Made For Them Fundraiser to defeat human trafficking, honoring the Legion of Valor recipients, and the privilege of being guest performers for the Soli Deo Gloria Concert. Our 8 field trips included 3 visits to the Fresno Philharmonic Dress Rehearsals arranged by the Fresno Cultural Arts Rotary and the Fresno Philharmonic, and 2 fishing trips provided by Veterans with Make a Difference Outdoors.
15 days of Biola Enrichment Program provided arts education and performance opportunities during the month of July. Biola is a small farming community just a few miles west of Fresno off of Shaw Ave., and this is an outreach to the community that is truly being used to build bridges. Volunteers for this event included 4 photographers that taught the kids to take Fresno Fair award winning pictures.
After an inspiring Fall Concert (why wouldn’t I use that word?!) on December 1st with over 800 in attendance and over 1000 views online, we continue to look for ways to build bridges between different cultural and socioeconomic communities. As the home-school choirs and strings combined with the Biola strings, the mission of Inspire One was accomplished. It’s much more than the music… Each time we perform together, attend events together and celebrate together – our bond of friendship and commitment to care for each other increases.
Here’s just one story to back that up:
Nine years ago I started the tradition of having a Christmas Party in Biola for the orchestra. This annual party has been a great motivator for the strings students when practice becomes difficult. This year, with funds low, I was not sure we would be able to provide gifts and I tried to prepare the kiddos for this but…. when God wants something done – He calls in the troops.
Jennifer and Jonas Anderson lost their 9 year old daughter to brain cancer last year and they have been collecting donations for children in oncology departments this Christmas, and delivered hundreds of gifts to 3 hospitals. When she received a surprise donation from ToysRUs and ended up with extra gifts in their garage, God put Biola on her heart and she called to ask if I could use the extras. Two weeks ago Sandy Mozier (whose daughter, Marika, sings in the Girls Ensemble) asked if she could throw a gift wrapping party for the girls and they would wrap the Biola gifts. Then I got a message from the owner of Chosen Yogurt – asking if there was any opportunity to bring the kids frozen yogurt this month. Yes – she brought enough for everyone. Since Inspire One Strings include more than one campus, a last minute invitation went out to other participants and the Myracle family (yes, that’s really their name) came with all 4 of their string players and Santa hats for everyone. To top it off, not only did the Anderson family donate gifts but they came dressed as Wonder Woman and Spiderman to entertain the whole group! Each participant in this celebration was unaware that the others had contacted me to help. It was as if God tapped them on the shoulder with a suggestion, and they responded, “Good idea!” and moved on it. I stand in wonder at the works of His hands!
With Love and Appreciation – Licia K. Clark