On Sept. 27, more than 450 students in grades 3-6 filled Homer High School’s Mariner Theatre for a rollicking one-hour assembly with the great cowboy musicians, Riders in the Sky. With their gentle, wacky humor, extraordinary musical talent and stage presence, the Riders delivered an amazing show, and the students ate it up. They sang, clapped their hands, yodeled and asked questions (“Why do you have sparkles on your shirt?” … “How old are you?”) And from what I’m hearing from people around town, our kids are still talking about the Riders. One friend told me today that her grandson has been “playing his face” like Too Slim.
Homer’s children were a big hit with the Riders, too. During the public performance on Thursday evening, one of the band members commented on how well behaved, engaged and respectful the school children were during the assembly. In private, other Riders made numerous, similar comments clearly having had a different experience in other communities. Having performed more than 6,000 times in 35 years, they know.
Thank you to the principals and teachers of Chapman, McNeil Canyon and West Homer Elementary schools, Fireweed Academy, and to several homeschooling families, for making the effort to transport all these children and manage this field trip. Your participation is a strong statement about the value of art in our children’s lives. You are a tremendous encouragement for the work of Homer Council on the Arts.
To many others, we are also grateful. Riders in the Sky was produced by Homer Council on the Art, but we could do this only because we had the support of a community of individuals, families, and businesses who make membership contributions, who volunteer time and services, and who sponsor programming. Jay Brant-Contractors, LLC, sponsored the school assembly. Ocean Shores Motel provided three nights of lodging for the Riders. Era Alaska provided round-trip transportation for the Riders from Anchorage. Cosmic Kitchen made a delicious dinner for the band, and Homer Physical Therapy gave massages to the travel-weary Riders. Roberta Highland and Richard Archibald not only sponsored the event, but also provided taxi service for the band. Kachemak Bay Equestrian Association decorated the stage. Thank you to the HCOA board, house volunteers, taxi drivers Jewels and Cindy, and Mariner Theatre Staff. Thank you Pat McNary and Sierra Smith for your technical support. The list goes on and on. In Homer, the arts are everybody’s business, and you surely showed your support for it this time!
Gail Edgerly, executive director
Homer Council on the Arts