“What are the enemies of greatness?”
The question hung for a moment over the room of students. Marshall White, CEO and founder of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation (UNITY) was addressing the members, ages 7 to 19, of Voices of Unity, the youth choral arm of the foundation, at rehearsal.
“Fear,” one member responded.
“Laziness,” said another.
The words began to pepper the air as the young people raised their voices one at a time and offered up their answers. According to White, this is just as important as them raising their voices in concert.
“We do a lot of performances, but what makes the performance and music so powerful is the chemistry and seriousness that is developed between the kids,” he said. “That comes from the teaching and principle application that we teach.”
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Members of Voices of Unity discuss and debate topics at their meetings. Photo by Ryan Schnurr.
Voices of Unity is one of a number of arts programs that are part of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation, which was initiated in 2000 after 3 years of development and 4 prior years of White honing his vision.
What is this vision? In a nutshell, White says it’s to expose kids to professionalism and success at an early age so that they can be equipped for success in life.
There are a lot of children in our communities who don’t even realize how great they are,” he said. “And simply because they live in communities where people don’t tell them on a daily basis.”