Music For Everyone Presents Fifth Annual ‘MFE Award’ To Harvey Owen, Director, Millersville University’s Ware and Winter Centers
in particular has had some extraordinary musicians and songwriters who have, over the decades, brought about great social evolution with story-songs and political messages that have moved hearts and changed minds. When Woody Guthrie sang “Roll On Columbia” about the enormous Columbia River, he was expressing his love for the natural landscape of the American West. When Pete Seeger wrote “My Dirty Stream,” it was his alarm call to the industrial pollution that was destroying the Hudson River, a song that sparked the modern day clean up of the Hudson River Valley. When Billie Holiday sang about “Strange Fruit” hanging from the trees, she was decrying the lynchings and abominations that were going on in the American South. People started to listen, and when the Civil Rights Movement started in the 1960s, Aretha Franklin brought her gospel music out into the streets with marching protestors as they demanded “Respect”, and ultimately won it. Curtiss Mayfield united everyone with his epic song of hope, “People Get Ready”, and Stevie Wonder continued that tradition with song after song that uplifted the American spirit. Bob Dylan wrote one of the greatest anti-war songs of all time, “Blowing In The Wind”, and the Canadian Native American singer, Buffy St. Marie, offered a simialr message with her hit, “Universal Soldier.” Even the Jazz musicians used song titles and instrumental melodies to get their social and political messages across. When Charles Mingus composed “Better Get It In Yo’ Soul”, man, he meant it. And when John Coltrane composed the mournful melodies of “Alabama”, it was in honor of the four girls killed in the Birmingham church bombings. Even with just a song title and a melody, instrumental Jazz allowed the listener to create their own storyline in their mind. One of the greatest songwriters of all time, Bruce Springsteen, continues to tell powerful stories about the everyman/woman who struggles for identity in an increasingly corporatized and homogenized world. I often wonder, who will be the next Springsteen, Wonder, Dylan, Franklin, or Holiday?
The MFE Award honors individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts to cultivate the power of music as an educational and community building tool in Lancaster County. Harvey is being recognized for his work on behalf of Millersville University as Director of the Ware and Winter Centers. “Harvey has done an amazing job in transforming both the Ware and Winter Centers into true, vibrant community arts centers”, said John Gerdy, founder and Executive Director of Music For Everyone. “His ability to instill a spirit where everyone, regardless of background, feels welcome in exploring and experiencing music and the arts is truly extraordinary. It’s a great example of using the power of music to build community. Lancaster o Wes Har vey a big debt of gratitude for his tireless work on behalf of music and the arts in Lancaster.” “The MFE Award is a fitting tribute to Harvey, who has assisted and advanced music programs to the citizens of Lancaster, especially young people,” said Roger Bruszewski, VP for Finance and Administration at Millersville University. “It has been a pleasure to work with him and witness the lives he has touched. Harvey understands the importance of music and the arts and how it makes our community a better place.” “I am thrilled and surprised to receive this award. I have long known the power of music as I grew up in a musical family. It’s what kept us together and gave us strength,” said Owen. “Supporting music in Lancaster through my work at the Ware and Winter Centers is something that comes naturally. I love Lancaster and I strive every day to make our community a better place for everyone, particularly through music.” Music for Everyone is a Lancaster-based non-profit charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness and resources to strengthen the role that music plays in schools and the community in Lancaster County. To learn more about Music For Everyone visit https://www.facebook.com/MFELancaster/info .