When I began this musical journey in 1975, my goals for the organization were to develop new talent and serve as a bridge between educational institutions and performing arts organizations by producing innovative programs that showcase musicians, vocalists, dancers and creative talent.

Having completed thirty years of work, I look back with a sense of accomplishment, and the knowledge that there were a number of young people who took the journey with me. Today, they are adults, many with children of their own.

To them, and to you, I say this musical journey must continue. The goals remain the same. But the challenges are greater than ever. As you know, academic standards have declined drastically over the years. While Miami enjoys an ever-expanding cultural base, funding to small and new organizations dwindles. Help us to help young and aspiring singers and musicians reach for their dreams.

The purpose of The American Ideal is to encourage the young 'virtuosi' inspire their peers, leading by example, you might say. Some, you will find, are striving to overcome physical, mental, or emotion issues. Others struggle with the balance of a full-time job and the difficult life-style or an entertainer. But, they share a common dream - to use their God-given talent to the best of their abilty.

When a student demonstrates discipline and dedication, whether it be in music or athletics, they project a positive example of self-respect, a characteristic, as evidenced by crime, drugs and more, that appears to be in short supply. I recall the experience of two wars in occupied territory in the Orient, where Opium dens were common, and yet, not one child used narcotics.

This year, we will showcase orchestral and vocal performances that include opera, operetta and musicals, as well as ballet, dance, drama, video and film production.

We encourage talented young individuals - the Virtuosi - in our schools and provide an opportunity for them to develop poise and gain self-confidence as they acquire valuable stage experience. The result is sometimes employment with performing arts organizations and educational institutions. But it always yields a gain in self-esteem.

Students learn a basic formula for life in America:

Imagination + Dedication + Enthusiasm + Action + Leadership =


Would you like to play a role in the preservation of the classical performing arts? Over the years, classical radio has diminished, to a minor aspect of AM. While there are opportunities to listen online, there need to be more exposure. In order to expand the listener base, we need sponsors.

Join with the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor; Miami-Dade County Commissioners; and, the City of Coral Gables.

They believe in our work and support our efforts. However, we need some corporate support. And, the support of individuals who believe in the importance of developing young people's classical music skills. Therefore, we are forming a 'membership.' For $50 per year, we'll list you on our website as a support of the organization. You will be able to attend upcoming post-concert receptions. We'll invite you to special events. For $100 per year, we'll include two CDs of our music. If you have an interest in being more of sponsor, please contact Ken English, our marketing consultant.

Become a sponsor and we'll put a banner on our website and include you, or your company, in the program for each performance.

Ken would like to produce a promotional CD. In it, we'll include recognition of your support in the inserted booklet.

The American Ideal showcases many exceptional members of our community, from pre-teen to adult. It is, in essence, an opportunity for talented young people to develop their skills, as well as a showcase for talented adults who would like to channel their desire to perform on a larger stage.

We'd like to do a lot of things, but we can't do it without your help.

Perhaps we can work together to raise funds through benefit concerts. We have the talent, if you have the cause.

Bella Smith
Founder and Artistic Director
Special Events Chairman, Association of U.S. Army

Personal Observations