As a child, I was introduced to the arts by my parents, who as children of the Depression in rural Western Kentucky had only limited exposure during their childhood. So they made sure that I had piano lessons, school band opportunities, and attended performances of the Louisville Orchestra. It worked, by eighth grade I knew my calling was to be a high school band director. I worked in public education for 21 years, and it provided some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The arts are vital to our educational attainment, economic development, and the very soul of our communities.