On the cusp of my 20 year high school reunion, I was tickled to see Eagle spirit trickle into elementary and middle school rivalries. I fondly remembered my own experiences and reveled at the ties that bind us. Contemplating how my oldest son is quickly developing his own elementary affinities, I was introduced to someone who I was embarrassed not to know. Jason Moran – because it was his allegiance to his elementary, middle and high schools that brought this icon in the making into contact with my fourth grader at our music and science magnet.
I sat mesmerized as I watched Mr. Moran dazzle my son and several other students in our jazz band as they oohed and aahhed at his miraculous talent. He played the piano with such precision you would’ve sworn he was a practitioner instead of a musician! And why wouldn’t they be amazed? Not only is he a celebrated and phenomenal jazz artist, pianist, and composer, he wrote the score for the widely praised Selma, thrusting him further into the spotlight for his exceptional gifts. As it so happens, he attended our school as an elementary student, along with the Gregory Lincoln Education Center, and the Houston School of Performing and Visual Arts.
Now, he is compelled to give back to the places that gave him his roots. As a part of a special project, sponsored by Da Camera, he is using the Jason Moran Homecoming Residency to celebrate his childhood milestones and link them to the best and brightest innovative minds, young and old, while infusing them with his insights on visual and performing arts. Ensuring that it isn’t just a one-time show and tell, he’s embarking upon a multi-year residency, deeply saturating participants with a wealth of knowledge and incomparable experiences that will impact them for a lifetime.
I’ve always thought of myself as having allegiance to my alma maters, but wow – I never imagined giving back on this scale! My question is, what makes him able to do that? What drives him, fuels him, pushes him to take his craft and catalyze such fervor in others? It’s his passion. Early on, Jason – the elementary student – had the fortune and pleasure of having someone stir up his gift and thirst for all things music. Nurturing his intense desire to explore the infinite possibilities, he was able to devour opportunities from start to finish until they culminated into a threshold of unconquered territories.
Today, he’s pursuing his passion at the next level. Choosing not to limit himself to rubbing elbows with industry greats, he’s coming back to the community that he calls home; sharing his gift with future legends and tiny hopefuls, investing in the next generation of icons the way his teachers at his elementary, middle, and high schools invested in him. Does the passion that fuels you compel you to share your gift with the world? It should. Remember to enrich others with every opportunity you can. Your talents could very well be amazing… #pursueyourpassion,