Friday night, I donned a tux and emceed the Greenville Honors Its Own (GHIO Banquet) at the E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center. I ran into several friends I’ve known through the years and had a chance to meet many new ones. I heard great Delta stories and heard concerns about flooding and the Mississippi River. One person I was excited to meet was Julia Reed. I’ve loved her writing for years, so it was a nice surprise to see her in the audience. But the evening reminded me of how stinking talented we are in Mississippi. This was an event to honor people from the Greenville area — and we had people who had succeeded on the national stage and did well.
The winners were: (not in this order, but my brain is usually out of order.)
Greenville native Bruce Blackman, who wrote the mid-70s hit Moonlight Feels Right among others, won the Georgie Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award.
Camp Looking Glass, a very special place for special kids, received (fittingly) the Special Achievement Award.
Judy Long, who is a force of volunteering nature, won the Bert Miller Volunteer Award.
Singer Luctrician J.B. Hamilton won the Artist Award.
Mitchell Distributing took home the Business Award.
The JA of Greenville received the Chuck Jordan Lifetime Contribution to the Arts Award.
Renaissance Scholars won the Arts in Education Award.
As I was driving back home through the Delta (with a rising — nearly — full moon escort to cut through the inky darkness), I thought about all of the winners and how they have used their talents to make community better. I like to talk about how we are all artists who start the day with a blank canvas and can change lives for the better through our efforts (brushstrokes) and attitude (colors).
I experienced it first hand Friday night.