Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Theater’

“Bugsy Malone” Weekend

Well it’s finally here – the weekend we have all been waiting for.  The junior high theater production of “Bugsy Malone”.

I have been the music director for several years now and we have done “Bugsy” before – about 5 years ago or so – different cast and crew – but it seems a little different somehow this time.  Every time you have a different group of students – the dynamic changes.  It has been exciting and terrifying all at the same time, trying to pull this one together – and not a lot of time to do it.

The set is great and the costumes are wonderful – but most of all – the students in this are AWESOME.

Opening night is tonight.  I know that everything will come together just in time – it always does.  And I know that I will look back on this one – as being the best cast and group of people I’ve even had the privilege of working with.

With this production – I say farewell – my best wishes and hopes are in the future theater department – to Laura McGinnis, teachers, parents and students who will undoubtedly take it to the next level.  It has been a pleasure to work with music and to see how really great the students can be when someone believes in them – and how great they are when they believe.  I am lucky – I keep in touch with many of my students after they move on – go to high school, college and then go off and have their own grown-up lives.  They are all special and have a place in my heart – even when I don’t get to see or talk to them much.

And so – here we are – another group of students – some more pictures and unspoken memories which cannot be captured in a picture.  I keep those in my heart.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the dress rehearsal last night.

Beauty And The Beast

Another great production put away and remembered by pictures – snapshots of people – frozen moments in time.

This was my favorite.  I am overwhelmed with emotions and nostalgia – being a part of this great event.  Knowing this cast was one of a kind – that these eighth graders are moving on – and it will be different next year – special in its own way – but never the same.

If you had the priviledge to see this production – you will know what I’m talking about when I say the word ‘chemistry’ with the cast – the teachers and the wonderful parents and volunteers behind the scenes – all working together to make sure it all came together and that it was AMAZING.  It was.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and feel that everyone should have a ‘moment’ like this at least once in their lifetime.  I’ve had several.  My great love for these students is why they always come back into my life – even when they go their seperate ways for a season – and it is always like a reunion when they come back to see me.  Many of them are still in my life today – even after years of being with them.  Theater students, former choir students, and my private piano and voice students.  They are all special and each one unique.

What is the secret to happiness?  Find something that you are passionate about – and do it.  Invest in others.  Love them with all of your heart.  Embrace each moment.  And watch it come back to you.  It will.  I promise ♥

God Bless

On Auto Pilot

Ever have a time in your life where you are just functioning – as if on ‘auto pilot’?  Lately that is what I’m experiencing.  Events have built up over time – heading towards a specific goal – and the busy schedule and blood sweat, loss of sleep and tears – are finally a PAY OFF!!  As you see before you the results.

I am trying to ‘enjoy’ the journey.  Not anxious to have anything go too fast – things that have taken a while to accomplish – not wanting them over too quickly.

I am trying to ‘slow down time’.  To stop and linger.  To enjoy every moment.  To hold on to every ‘snapshot’ in time – every timeless moment – knowing that very soon – it will be gone.

This weekend I am in ‘auto pilot’ mode – with a busy production schedule and a sore directing arm – but my spirits are high – I am attempting to ‘hang on’ to ‘relish’ and ‘enjoy’ every moment – knowing that another ‘moment in time’ will never be quite like this one – again.  I am not going to think about next weekend and the busyness that waits for me after these performances are over tomorrow night.  No.  I am going to rest – and enjoy.  My mind is going to be still – I am going to hang on to this – enjoying my students – embracing old friends that I haven’t seen for years – and special moments I will always remember.

My prayer for you today is the same – that you would ‘rest’ and ‘remember’ – enjoy every moment in time – it won’t come again.

God Bless ♥

Beauty And The Beast

Dedicated to all my junior high students auditioning today for the singing parts in our spring musical: “Beauty and the Beast”.

Good Luck Everyone!!

Ella Enchanted

I have had the privilege of working with some AWESOME students and AMAZING teachers and parents this week – putting on “Ella Enchanted” at the Renton Civic Theater.

This has been the hardest one to put together because my best friend and co-director Laura – actually wrote the script from the movie and there were so many last minute (and not so last minute) changes to the script and music – because the thing was just TOO LONG!!  Not to mention costume, set and lighting changes.  Up until last night’s opening performance – we were not sure on things like lighting, sound and changes – so it was a bit scary.

The music is all pretty “retro” and fun for the kids to be learning stuff from the 70’s – my generation ☺  It was a blast bringing it all together to create just the right mood for each scene – and I have to say now that we have one performance “under our belt” – that the extra time and effort to pull this one off has certainly been WORTH IT!!!

To see students just “come alive” – as they believe that they can DO IT – has been worth it for each of us who love these students so much and want and believe the very best for them!!

A production like this takes an enormous amount of help from students and parents – and we couldn’t even begin to put something like this on – if it weren’t for a whole LEAGE of parent volunteers.  We are BLESSED!!

We are all pretty tired and have 3 more performances to go!  But what a blessing to be around these students again today and tomorrow – as we truly “give our best” for the people coming to see it!  There’s never a dull moment around the theater – and lots of fun moments for pictures!

Here are just a few!  Enjoy!!

Tradition! Coming Back To Reality…

IMG_0341The last several months have been in preparation for the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” in which I was privileged to be the Music Director.  Last night we completed the final performance of four over the weekend.  Never before has it been so personally rewarding – and I am tired today –  but also sad that it is over.  We have all lived in a “cocoon” like existence over at the Renton Civic Theater – not sure what was going on in the world around us at times – we were so immersed into the musical.  Coming back to the “real world” today is not easy.

Bill Huls – the artistic director/box office manager/janitor – (as he calls himself) was very instrumental in helping our students understand the Jewish culture.  Bill is married to a Jewish Lady – and he himself converted to Judaism.  The students were intrigued and fascinated with Bill’s knowledge of the Jewish heritage and customs.  It made our program much more authentic – especially in the scenes like “The Sabbath Prayer” in which the Jewish Mother always covered her eyes while saying a prayer – and the Father of the home went around and prayed a blessing over each child.  This was very beautiful – and added so much to our story.  Bill also was able to explain to our students that the Jewish people have always had to be ready to leave their homes throughout history – because of persecution.  And we know this to be true when we read about the Jewish people (the chosen people) in the Bible.  It made much for sense to them when trying to tell this story of one Jewish family living in Anatevka – forced to leave their home at the end of the story.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is also a story of tradition – and of resistance to that traditional way of doing things.  All three daughters of the lead character, Reb Tevye – go against tradition – or the normal Jewish way of thinking and of doing things.  There is a conflict between “old” and “new” ideas.  It is a universal conflict – it goes far beyond the Jewish culture – and spills into our own world today – as we ourselves have fought for “new” ways of doing things – against what was the “old” or acceptable way that our Parent’s held to be true.

I love stories like this – even though they are written for a certain era – or culture – the story is universal – the conflict – the love – the power of family and community are something we can all identify with today.  It is something our students will not quickly forget – and the songs will be forever imprinted on their brains.

And so we come back to reality.  We come back to our own “traditions” in our own culture and families.  We are back to sorting through the “old” ideas with the “new” ones of our children – and being okay with that.  Coming back to the love that we have for our own families – and a bond that forever holds us together no matter what the circumstances, hard times, or changes.   Love that is steady with the passing of time – love that holds on and lets go – all at once.

My prayer for you today is this:  May you discover your own family “traditions” even if you thought you didn’t have any.  May you treasure your loved ones today and be open to “new” ideas from your children – even as you try to hang on to the “old”.


God Bless




Let your emotions out…

This has the most beautiful soundtrack – and being a musician I am always looking for wonderful, stirring music that is not only lovely but that moves me.  Really good music should touch your soul – reach into a place that words can’t.  Bring out emotions you didn’t even sometimes know you were feeling.  This is one of few that do that for me.  Another is “Meet Joe Black” and “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  You can honestly feel the emotion from the artist who wrote this – tender at times – haunting at others – stirring and poignant feelings – then deep and painful.  Yeah – it’s all there.  Joy mixed with incredible gut wrenching pain and heartache.  I have felt all of these emotions at one time or another in my life – which is why I connect – really connect with a score like this.  I am playing it now even as I write this to my readers – and I am filled with many emotions that are deep and wide – the “seasons” of my life – the “window” into my soul.  The most wonderful things that can happen – and the most devastating – they are all wrapped up in who I am – how I love – how I trust and love again.  How I am challenged by an ever changing world and my place in it – as my children become adults – as I get older.  As I adjust – as I hurt and cry over things and people that I miss – friendships that I can’t “fix” – or how I make the decision to be who I am – no matter what – nothing holding me back – free to express just who that is – and discovering a deep and lasting love that is waiting there for me.


My prayer for you today on this Memorial Day evening – is that you too would listen to beautiful music and discover “hidden” emotions buried deep inside.  That you would be moved and stirred to remember the wonderful and meaningful times in your life that make you – you.  That you would not be afraid to really feel.  To embrace life – with all it’s wonder – joy and heartache – learn the valuable lessons from those experiences and recognize how truly unique and amazing you are.


God Bless

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