My family was a hodgepodge of national backgrounds, but my generation (late baby boomer) and our previous two generations were all American-born. My parents grew up in the Depression and were young adults during WWII, so my “American Story” was shaped predictably – parents worked feverishly to give kids chances they never had; father served in the war (a state-side job building P-47’s); America was “the best and only place to live,” etc. Having now spent a lifetime growing up with the changing world these concepts have naturally reshaped for me. I feel very fortunate to be a lifelong citizen of this great nation, especially when fellow citizens give generously of time, talent and money to serve the common good of our world. When do I feel most like an American? When the flag flies at half-mast for the victims of a foreign earthquake, or a group of friends make blankets for hurricane victims, or a busy intersection slows to a complete stop because a family of geese is trying to cross the 1st South Bridge! There are so many good and kind people in this country. I really wish that’s the “American face” the world could see more often. Creation of American art—visual, music, dance, theater, all of it—is an important part of our representation in the world. Arts communities exists all around this country with mutual affection and support between those who create and those who appreciate. Fewer financial challenges for the arts in America would be nice! Featuring programs created and performed by American artists helps us take pride in our work and emphasizes the importance of the arts in our country. I’m looking forward to playing American Stories.