As we were packing up, we had an invitation extended to us from Denise, a very involved community member who attended the performance, who invited us to spend the afternoon (and night) at her family's cabin. We were heading to Wolf Point for our Thursday performance and decided that we would have a much better time at the cabin than in the hotel. So we followed Denise to a remote cabin on her land and walked into a brand new, snack-stocked cabin right on the river! She and her husband built the cabin for guests - they both say they have been blessed with more than they need so they built this cabin to serve others. She told us to nap, explore, eat and make ourselves at home - her generosity and kindness was amazing. We spent 4-5 hours relaxing and enjoying the scenery before we went back to BHS to attend the pep rally and dinner to which we had been invited!
I had a wonderful conversation with one of the parents, Marilyn. She has four kids at the school and she is a bus driver and substitute teacher! She told me that we made quite the impression on all of her kids and she wished she had seen the show. She told me that the school cut the Music program at the beginning of the year and it was really hard on the kids. When she approached the school board about the cut, they told her that they viewed Music Lessons as something for which a Private Instructor could be hired. Hmmmm....but sports are apparently NOT something that one could do outside of school... She and I discussed the strong, and wonderful emphasis on sports in the community (in many rural communities) that unfortunately often comes at the expense of the arts in the schools. I told her about the feedback I had received from several teachers, all over our tour, letting me know that the kids that participate in our workshops are often the kids that are silent and not engaged in their everyday class. Marilyn and I discussed how sometimes the arts are the only thing that can grab a kid's interest, just like sometimes reading or math engage a student. They are truly no less important.
The community of Bainville is so close knit -the dinner was a pitch-in and the kids were in teh kitchen, serving the soup entree! The teachers wrote and performed a Wizard of Oz - style sketch dedicated to the Bainville teams. Then the parents participated in a game show where the kids tried to figure out the definition for little-known words. We all had an amazing time - Tyler even started a cheer by yelling out "Go Bulldogs!" after the Volleyball coach gave her speech. From there, we drove to Wolf Point that night for our performance the next day. Denise stopped us before we left and let us know that anytime we are in Bainville, we have a home at the cabin. I'll always have a home in Bainville, MT.