CCM: Through just the work of St. Jude and their music therapy programs specifically, anyone can see the healing power of music. Conversely, music and arts programs in schools are being cut or are taking a back seat. How would you advocate for the importance of music and arts for children—both those that need to participate educationally, and those who might benefit from its healing qualities?
RM: There’s not a single living soul in this world that cannot benefit from music. Music heals. Music entertains. It gives you joy. It gives you release. People who sit in the audience who are hurting and hear a song, go “Oh my gosh, you wrote that for me!” I think it’s a shame. I think it’s absolutely criminal for them to take music out of schools. The programs that I grew up with when I was going to school made me into what I am today.
We had a little Kiowa Cowboy high school band. It wasn’t marching band. We were too small of a school. Mama was the secretary to the superintendent and my Art and Oklahoma History teacher was a musician. So they got together and made a class, with the permission of the superintendent, that helped all of us learn music and being on stage. We performed concerts. The bass player is now the band leader and bass player for Alan Jackson. Pake, Susie, and I, we all had a career in the music business, and it was because those two people stood up and said, “We need music in our school.” We didn’t even have a choir, except when it came graduation time, and they hired a music teacher to come in and teach everybody how to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
It’s one of those things that you really learn from, and you have a great time doing it. I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for the school programs, 4-H club, FFA, FHA, in our school. Why they want to take those extra curricular activities away, I have no idea?
RM: Oh, I think it could be a really good tool for them to help because they’re fun songs. They’re inspirational songs. They’re songs that touch the soul. I think it’d not only help the kids, but it’d help the parents and the grandparents…the brothers and sisters who are there with the children. It helps the workers in the hospital there at St. Jude. It’s just an uplifting album that, to me, truly gives hope and faith.
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