I grew up in a rural area of Alabama about fifty miles outside of Mobile. There was rarely a chance for exposure to the classical arts in this small Southern community. My connection to arts came primarily through radio, television, and any movie that happened to play in the lone movie house on Main Street. However, my earliest arts experience that showed me how music and drama could work hand in hand came through the classic Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons. These short masterpieces blended music, comedy, and drama into tightly constructed scenes and situations. Bugs Bunny (who would sing bravely in the face of the most adverse situation) helped me learn the craft of comic timing and how to utilize music to enhance the comedy, pathos, and drama of a scene in order to better shape an audience’s emotional experience. Entering the arts through this unconventional method allowed me to sing bravely to my own song and vision. I gained the courage to avoid the trap of doing things a certain way just because that’s the way they’ve always been done before. I feel that Bugs, the eternal anarchist, would be proud.
John Hoomes is the CEO and artistic director of Nashville Opera.