Music is a way of life for me. It is my passion, my profession, my love, and my friend. I learned to play the piano when I was young and threw myself at the opportunity to express myself with the simple yet beautiful notes that seemed to FLO out of me. It is my love for music that has been the driving factor in my business FLO Brands and my career. It has been the foundation for my ability to travel around the globe and experience cultures of all types. FLO, or For the Love Of, represents the emotional connection one has with whatever makes them happy. FLO represents a lifestyle that brings joy to others, and thus is not a business model as much as it is a way of life. The things that my team and I do are not designed to promote a higher profit margin, but to promote happiness and love in those around us.
It is this essential mantra that drives me to team up with organizations that also provide opportunities to others for a better and happier life. This Saturday I will be performing at the Carlyle Club to help support The Virginia Music Adventures’ After School Programs and Summer Institutes which provide comprehensive music instruction coupled with community service, performance, and travel opportunities to school age musicians. VMA is an incredible organization that supports the development of youth music especially in the area of jazz. As more and more school systems cut budgets from music programs, students will have fewer opportunities to find their joy and passion in life as I did as a child.
A recent article from the U.S. Department of Education stated, “Most troubling is an “equity gap” between the availability of arts instruction as well as the richness of course offerings for students in low-poverty schools compared to those in high-poverty schools, leading students who are economically disadvantaged to not get the enrichment experiences of affluent students.” VMA offers opportunities to children who otherwise may not have the ability to express their musical passion.
Virginia Music Adventures, now in its 36th year, educates young musicians ranging in age from 11-18 to develop their skills as performers of jazz and swing-era classics. Students perform music and community service for youth programs, music festivals, non-profit organizations, and senior groups in the greater Washington, D.C. area and abroad. The Annandale Jazz Ambassadors is one of four programs sponsored by VMA, and has most recently performed as special guests at the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival, in addition to performances in Salvador, Johannesburg, Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Lima, and Sydney, among other global locations.