A Tribute to a Great Lady!
The Virginia Symphony and Young Audiences of Virginia paid tribute to B. Minette Cooper on Saturday, November 2, for her over 50 years of working with both organizations and her dedication to the arts in Hampton Roads. The Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads is one of the organizations she supports (she is a charter member of the Alliance). A list of her accomplishments and her devotion to the arts is too long to write here but we can focus on her strong desire to make sure that children have an opportunity to experience the arts firsthand! While she worked with the Norfolk public schools over the years to assure that those students had an opportunity to work and learn their music and instrument alongside a Symphony musician, her dream of having those same students dress up and attend a “real” opera in Chrysler Hall became a reality because she was willing to “put her money where her mouth is” to make this happen. This real life symphony experience was, as we all can imagine, a life changer for many of the children in the Norfolk public schools. One of the letters read from a student expressed the fact that he lived across the street from Chrysler Hall and had never attended any event in that venue. His letter expressed his surprise and amazement at being there and his total enjoyment of seeing and hearing the Symphony! How many other kids have been touched by such an experience! The arts open many doors for our youth along with opening their eyes to the possibilities of life and what they can do with their lives! We need more Minette Coopers who insist that we reach out to the next generation and expose them and make a way for them to experience the arts. Her motto is “just ask a person to do something-most won’t say no!” Let us all work to ask more arts and culture organizations and individual artists to work to find ways to help this emerging generation become involved in the arts and let’s ask businesses and organizations to support these efforts with their time and money.