Jazzing with Readers and Leaders

Posted 28 September 2015 12:00 AM by Toni Bee

The weather was mild, my ears jiggled with new jewelry, and I was ready to read at the 2015 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. But I was not by lonesome. Citi Spotlight Teens were there to flip the pages of Kadir Nelson’s illustrated book of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream and engage with the people. My zany self, started off with a chants- “Do you have a dream? – Yes, Indeed”.

Getting the Teen Leaders energized was cool too – for they responded with that famous Boston swag. As families with little ones streamed under the CPAC tent to make Flying Dream Doves, I began to ask about dreams. I started to keep a list as well. It was after lunch – and it seemed that people had food and folks on the mind:
Dreamer – What is Your dream?
I dream – I want to eat Ice cream
I want me something To Eat!!!!
Open a restaurant in Florida
To have a flat stomach
To be helpful to others – especially the elderly
One day publish a book for recovering alcoholics and addicts
To Live again
I’m tapped out - 7 days a week, 3 kids….Im Done
To hit the lottery…big
To Live again!
Dreamer, Dream On, Dream Dreamer
One of the best experiences at the fest is capturing someone’s eye and bonding. I remember so many souls, their uniqueness quite dear to me - the twinkle in Emily’s 83 year old’s cheeks, Eliot’s biker vest, Beaulah’s long skirt and church air. Connecting is a way to ensure the hope ignites so of course I told Ms. Emily she shined like a 38 year old after she mentioned:
I want Steve to fall in love with me…
Dreamer, what are you dreaming today?
Hope to live to see more health and strength as long as I can
To be free, loved, warm, comfortable
Have a residual income outside of working
To be fishers of men for Christ
To have a wonderful life and family
Hey Dreamer…hey
I’m still thinking of my dream
Equal Education
Advocate for others
Justice for all
To write a children’s book - have my son come out of diagnosis of autism - to have an exhibition of my paintings
That’s it Dreamer, on and on and
Retire tomorrow
Meet One Direction
For all the retired folks to get up off the couch and dance in the street
The people spoke movement and music in their dreams. The wind took aloud words and like a blessing the dreams unfolded – in the form of City Spotlights Teens. The leaders, plugged phone to speaker and the melody popped and performance ensued; first their Summer ‘15 flash mob; followed by the Whip & Nay Nay dance - three to twelve year olds joined us ; after that we all shook to the Cuban shuffle – and indeed several retired elders danced in the street on Columbus Ave. After this the teens collected dreams too and to me it seemed the dreams and ideas became more vast yet straightforward too.
Dream On, Dream Dreamer
To teleport
Complete my college degree
To go to a Historically Black College and University
Get a full four year scholarship
Stop Global Climate change
Just Being Here!
That my daughter stays in school, goes to college,
stays out of Trouble
Be Famous
Be Happy
Become a Therapist
I want to share music with as many as possible
Yes Dreamer, live the dream

Ears overrunning with jazz, reading to kids, inspired by teen leaders, art talk with visitors & neighbors – the day was a lovely way to barrel into the autumn season. It gave me hope that I needed. It felt amazing to collect thoughts. Most of all, it was sweet to see how we humans are in sync and I was a direct witness to it. Below I chose to italicize my dreams, that by surprise, flew from the mouths of jazz fest goers :
DREAM…I am living it
Become a professional cook
For my daughter to grow up and become a doctor
To Become an economics professor
A veterinarian
A singer
To Dream more
To be rich – not being a lonely woman
Change the World
To write for the news
To help people recognize their value
A better job
Make money
To make a difference in Youth Lives
SO happy the Dreamers came out to jazz and that the youth are powerful and mentor others. Here are a few people who chose to grant me their names. I appreciate them and that Citi Performing Arts Center made way for paper, platform, and the people to dream out loud.

Thank You Dreamers:
Ms. Beulah, Stanley of Newport, R.I., CITI Spotlights Youth Council, Shawna of South End, Leo of Tennessee, Kelly & Sheryl, Dimple of Sharon, MA, Ms. Emily, Florence of Worcester, Eleanor of Barbados

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