Celebrating talent and hard work . . .

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.   -Aldous Huxley

This week we are in the south of France where we are sponsoring a classical music festival.  For the past four years we have organized classical concerts in Medieval village churches and brought talented young musicians from the UK to perform.  Our non-profit organization is Young Virtuosi (a registered UK charity) and each year the demand seems to grow for more venues and more concerts.  This year the kids are giving five concerts in five different villages in the Limoux region where we have our summer home.

What is most impressive to me is not only the musical talent of the kids, but the dedication and hard work they have for their music.  Just this morning I was woken up at 7:30am to the sound of a 14-year old practicing on the piano for her concert this evening!  How many 14 year olds do you know that get up early in the morning to practice?  I certainly didn’t when I was that age.

Talent, or lack of it, is often given as the reason some people do well in life and some not so well.  My observation is that we are all born with talent of some kind, but more important than our God-given talent is the determination and commitment to develop that seed of talent into a full blossoming and radiant capability.  It’s the difference between capacity and capability:  we all have a capacity for greatness but only a few will make the commitment and put in the long hours of practice to turn that capacity into a real capability.

And these kids, aged 12-21 are spectacular in their capability to inspire whole villages to turn out and revel on a summer’s evening in some great classical music.  This year the festival moves down the valley as we perform in five different Medieval churches in the villages of Saint Couat du Razes, Ajac, Castelreng, La Digne d’Mont and La Digne d’Val.  These are tiny villages outside of the much larger town of Limoux but each evening the churches are packed with an appreciative audience of everyone from young school children to the elderly in wheelchairs.  Then of course, in true south of France style, after the concert they open bottles of the local bubbly, Blanquette, and party.  It’s amazing how good music played with style and grace can open up people to enjoy each other’s company.

The Languedoc Region where Limoux and these small villages are located is rich in the history of the Crusades against the Cathar religion between 1209 and 1325, where it is estimated that close to a million people were put to death either during the sacking of villages or burnt at the stake by the Catholic Inquisitors.  If you are curious about this fascinating period in history I have written a historical novel, A Perfect Conspiracy, about the Inquisition and the Cathars.  It is available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle site.

This week’s concerts are being filmed and in a later blog posting I will let you know when the performances are available for viewing on You Tube.  Previous festival videos have been posted on the Young Virtuosi You Tube site.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E | john@johnrchildress.com      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is currently Visiting Professor in Strategy and Culture at IE Business School in Madrid and a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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One Response to Celebrating talent and hard work . . .

  1. Pingback: An example of “leadership perspective” . . . | John R Childress . . . rethinking leadership

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