"What high school did you go to???" This question has taken on a mythical status here in the Gateway City. It's a question that is asked daily in literally every socio-economic circle within 50 miles of the Arch, and not one inch beyond that. It's become common place during interviews, sports outings, dinner with friends, birthday parties, happy hours, and Sunday confession. I'm guessing on the confession front, as my Sunday's are usually at the soccer fields, talking to other soccer parents, about where we... well, you get the picture.
The insanity regarding this usually innocuous question, everywhere else in the world mind you, is the type of real entitlement the proper answer can achieve in social circles, job searches, and general access. The diploma achieved from the walls in which you barely exited puberty and learned to drive a car can actually hold more sway than a graduate degree from a major university. The uphill battle is especially true if you happened to have attended, ummm, uhhh, aaaa, PUBLIC SCHOOL!!! The horror. The horror.
One area of culture in our town that seems to avoid the pitfalls of this ridiculous litmus test is Music. Music seems to stand on it's own two legs without any artificial value from your Friday Night Lights mascot. The artists, creators, and performers in town seem to have not received, or have chosen to not abide by "The Memo" regarding the need to reference their 12th grade lineage in regular conversations. It does make me wonder though why there is a ridiculous lack of love songs referencing young "Cadets" or "Griffins" in love! (Sorry... shallow public school counter punch.)
Our music scene is ridiculously deep and is continually filling with bright, creative, young talent. What is not missing is the baggage associated with the "High School" lineage. Our local music scene is such a force that it draws East-Siders to The Pageant, West County-ites to The Grove, Jeff-Co constituents to Fubar/Firebird (a lot), and St. Chuck kids to S. Broadway on a Wednesday night for punk rock. Why is that important? Because nobody ever asks ticketmaster or the facebook event page what high school did the band attend? Weird huh???
If our city could learn a single lesson from the music scene, it's this... focus on real talent and support it unequivocally. Learn to support this talent based upon skill, diversity, work ethic, ability, and character. Try not to evaluate your neighbors, employees, work peers, dinner guests, or your fellow soccer parents through such shallow lenses. And while you're at it... support local music. STL is dying for a unifying message. Let it start with our music.