Musician Sara Hickman on The Best of Times
During 2010, in the wake of the Texas Legislature's budgetary cuts for arts funding, Sara Hickman, the Texas State Musician of the Year, decided to use her position to raise funds and awareness for the importance of arts education (and the funding of it) for children. More exactly, she spearheaded a collaborative effort--with a variety of Texas artists including Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Rhett Miller, Robert Earl Keen as well as many more--to record a collection of Hickman's own songs.
The project, The Best of Times, was recently released as a two-CD, 38-cut collection by Waterloo Records. All proceeds from the sale of the CD set go directly to the Theatre Action Project, a non-profit that supports unique arts programs for more than 16,000 young people. To fully grasp the drive behind her charitable efforts, I recently email interviewed Hickman.
How did you go about getting all of the many fellow talented people who contributed their musical talents to Best of Times?
I knew I had, at least, a year to start lining up musicians to record for The Best of Times because Willie Nelson, who also recorded for the album, was the State Musician before my position took place. So, I immediately made a "wish list" and began calling/emailing/asking in person. I kept a giant chart on the wall with the names of artists/bands I had contacted, the titles of songs I had sent, if they had responded, if they were in the studio, if they had finished recording, if I had the recording.
When did your involvement and interest start with the Theatre Action Project?
I believe the first time I knew about Theatre Action Project was an after school program I was invited to lead concerning songwriting and drumming. I would guess that was about six or seven years ago. Then, I was in a ninth month course entitled Leadership Austin in which Karen LaShelle was also enrolled. We spent time getting to know one another and discussing the importance of arts availability to children in Texas.
For folks like myself woefully ignorant about the Theatre Action Project, what does it do and why should folks want to donate money to its cause?Continued on the next page