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The Power of Excellence

A jazz quartet played for an enthralled audience and one sleepy high school student, me. But when the saxophone player started spouting bizarre sounds, I perked up. In my half-dream state, the scatting (“Bu-de-le-bi-dop”) sounded like bubbles, and I decided to write a poem about underwater musicians. Little did I know, this performance would be the foundation of my later career.

On the strength of that poem, I won a creative writing scholarship. With that scholarship, I could afford college. Because of my B.A. in literature and languages, I was hired by a startup company developing language-learning software. I soon began negotiating IP contracts and now, a few years later, I am in law school learning how to draft those same contracts. Last week when preparing for a job interview, I saw the creative writing scholarship buried in my resume and wondered, “Would I be here now without that concert?”

Exposure to live, local art impacted the trajectory of my life more than I ever could have anticipated. Excellence in the Community continues to provide free, weekly concerts at the Gallivan Center. This is the city’s best investment because it regularly inspires its citizens—especially the young, dreamy ones.

Carson Bennett

Los Angeles California