So yesterday we are rehearsing at the Renton Civic Theater for our upcoming musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” – and there are many moments of laughter and goofing off too – come on – these are Junior High Students, after all – so there is plenty of both – I assure you. We actually do work too – sometimes 😉 All in all – an awesome cast – great talent – and we’re proud of these students – we really are.
Yesterday Greg (my husband) brought his laptop with him, knowing it would be a long day. He is cast as the “Rabbi” and has one line – although he does appear in several scenes to look “scholarly” or to sing with the company. At one point in the afternoon I stole a look at him in the front of the auditorium – with his script – or shall I say clutching his script and rehearsing his one line. It just struck me so funny – so I walked over and teased him about it 🙂 The ironic thing was – we never actually got to that part of the play the whole day yesterday – I’m hoping to begin with that scene today – as he has never yet had an opportunity to say the much “rehearsed” one line!
It reminded me of something that happened years ago. When we pastored a small church in California – Greg was asked to sub for the “Toddler” class on a Sunday morning. Now we’re talking 2 year olds. He got the cirricullum and studied and studied and STUDIED!!!! I remember saying to him, “Greg – they’re 2 years old! – Just give them the craft to do and they’ll be happy!” But not Greg! He wanted to make sure the “lesson” was just so – and he really worked on it – just as if he were preparing a sermon for a large congregation. It was really cute.
Just a little glimpse into this Man of mine.
How well do you prepare?
Just a thought for today.
May your life truly impact and make a difference in those around you as you touch your world today.
So I’m in theater class yesterday – our first time on the stage at the Renton Civic Theater practicing “Fiddler on the Roof” with our Junior High. It was a rehearsal much as you would expect – not much accomplished followed by not much else accomplished – only to be followed by much more of the same. Then we were joined by the 6th graders and younger kids that round out our company. It was hectic and noisy – nothing new there. We rehearsed scenes and music on a CD player (as the sound system is not available to us yet) set on the stage. Yes – it’s lovely. I sit in the center of the front row with a music stand in front of me – and my best friend and THE drama teacher, Laura beside me. We make a lovely team – and have many other teachers and assistants who help make what we do so great – at least we think so!
Toward the end of the long practice yesterday – we were rehearsing a scene with a young couple – two of our Junior High students – who are playing a couple that are “in love” in “Fiddler”. She is the eldest daughter – he is the poor Taylor who wants to marry her. The match has not been “arranged” and so they find themselves having to “ask” and “beg” for permission from the father to be allowed to marry. These two students have had much trouble getting their on stage “chemistry” to look genuine and real. Laura has tried everything to get them to have that special look that they need to possess – in order for it to appear as if they really are “in love”. Yesterday during a scene she demonstrated something for them and I saw for myself something change for the young man first – then the young gal. It was subtle – but it was there. Something crossed over from just saying the lines – to “acting” and being a part of the character. When we rehearsed the wedding scene right after that – including the famous “Sunrise, Sunset” song – I saw an incredible look of “chemistry” pass from that young man to that young woman. It was magic. They became actors.
Chemistry happens on and off the stage. What was it that Shakespeare said, “All life is a stage – and we are the players” How true. You either have that special something with someone or you don’t. This is what great friendships are made of. Chemistry. When you have a good friend – usually it’s there and you don’t have to work at it – you already have it. Hopefully you have it in a life partner – that’s usually why you marry that person – most marry their best friend. The happiest marriages usually can boast not only “chemistry” but friendship. This takes you through the rough patches – okay many bad and painful times too – every marriage has them – if people are being really honest. But if you have a strong foundation – mutual respect – strong friendship and chemistry – you will probably be okay. And if you’re lucky like me – you’ll have a guy that’s willing to change and grow – even in the seasons of life that require it. He is willing to do whatever it takes to grow with me and to further developed our friendship and chemistry.
I have been lucky too – I have many wonderful friends that I share this kind of chemistry with. God has been good to me. Some I meet face to face with and can physically be in their presence with and give them hugs – some I can only talk to and “see” online. It doesn’t decrease their value or what they have brought to my life – and I am thankful for vehicles like the Internet for bringing these people into my life. You all know who you are. Meeting new friends with “like” minds – catching up with “old” friends from my past – so powerful. I am lucky and grateful. And so blessed to call each of you my friend.
My prayer for you today is this: That you would have special people in your life that you too would have this special “chemistry” with. Like minds and spirits – sharing together, building relationships and memories – doing life together.
So I’m teaching theater class yesterday – a theater class that I team teach with my best friend Laura. These are junior high students as I have said before – the very best in the world – in my opinion. Gotta love junior high! This is the best and the worst of times – and boy do I remember!!
So we’re doing music testing yesterday for our upcoming musical “Fiddler on the Roof” and all is going well – as well as one can expect from junior high – especially junior high boys – if you catch my drift. Most junior high boys would rather have their eyes stabbed out then do music testing in theater class – but such is life and test we must! All is going well – I test in groups of four – two boys and two girls, so I can really hear them – and so it doesn’t become really awkward for too many of them to perform at the same time – or to distract one another. I don’t even think we had anything go wrong – which was unusual – no giggling – no fuss – no muss – we just sang the songs – tested everyone on the song content and WAHLAH!!! We were done! Until….
We started working a scene right near the end of the musical – a love scene. Need I say more???? Junior High students – and a love scene. Hmmmm. So Laura gave it her best gallant effort to “show” the two students in question just how she wanted the scene – the “embrace” the whole essence (if you will) to look. I mean – come on. She really tried. These two junior high students had about as much “onstage” chemistry as a butterfly and a chimp. It was terribly AWKWARD in every way imaginable – not just for them – but for everyone in the room. And they really tried. I mean really tried. Every time would land them both in gales of laughter!!! It was really comical. I tried SO HARD not to giggle – or smirk – or even chuckle – but come on – it was HILARIOUS!!! I haven’t had that good or hearty of a laugh in I don’t know how long!!! It was especially funny when Laura kept trying to “reign” us all in from our “fits” of laughter – to show them how to do it again – and then come back and stand by me, all the time muttering under her breath, “Oh my GOSH!!!!” I honestly was NO help to her. And I believe that because I laugh so much and so loud and hard – that the students do it too – so yeah – I’m pretty much to blame!!! I just know that when those students finally DO get that scene – and we’re at the Civic Theater next month performing it – I will be in the front row – in the dark – holding my hand over my mouth!!! So Funny – So AWKWARD!!!! I love it.
These are the memories I will cherish and keep with me. This is why I love junior high students. They are fresh and unpretentious. They are…awkward.
There is a power in music – a unique response in each of us when we hear something played on the radio – or on a CD, IPod or any other device capable of playing music. It is very individual – no two people respond in exactly the same way when a song is played.
For me – songs have a way of transporting me instantly back in time to where I was – how I felt – even sometimes who I was with or thinking about at that period of time in my life. Right now the song “For all we know” by the Carpenter’s in playing on my Pandora Radio. I am about 12 years old and I’m listening to this song on earphones with my cassette tape player in my room – tucked in my bed for the night. I used to listen to “A Place to Hide Away” and “Rainy Days and Monday’s” in the same way – all on the same cassette tape. In the same manner – “I Can’t Live” by Harry Nilson and “Precious and Few” by Climax were also two of my “favorite songs” of that era for me. Ahhhhh the days of innocence – nothing major had happened yet – nope – I was really too young for anything to mean anything in those songs – I just loved them because I did.
Music has power to envelope your senses and totally transport you in time – it’s like magic. Ever been in a store and heard a song come over the house system – and you could just feel what it was like when you knew and remembered that song from another time and another place.
You know the feeling – everyone has a “song” with that special someone. You hear it – even long after the relationship is over – sometimes it’s many years – and it doesn’t matter. The same feelings come all over again. That’s power. Power over your emotions – just from hearing a song. I have a few of these “songs” and instantly I am back in time – music is that powerful.
I have done theater productions for the Junior High at the Christian School for New Life Church in Renton, Washington – and I have to say – there is no greater joy than to hear those songs replayed a few months or years later. The soundtrack for “Meet Joe Black” still moves me to tears – ALL THE TIME – not just because it is a Beautiful movie – but because it is probably one of the most – if not THE most hauntingly Beautiful musical scores I have ever heard – and I took this masterpiece several years ago and coupled it with a stage production that we were doing of “Our Town”. It was AMAZING. The students still talk about it – and say it was one of their favorites. They would wait backstage in the dark and the theme song from that movie would play – and the kids and audience would wait in hushed wonder – it was so poignant and mesmerizing. If you are curious as to this theme – I actually have it under my “Favorite Music” – just look for “Meet Joe Black” and play it – it’s amazing. We did other productions too with incredible soundtracks – just got finished doing “Seussical” with wonderful music – we will not soon forget how Beautiful it was. Anytime these songs from these productions are played – it evokes a memory in me – and makes me proud and happy all at the same time. Music is that powerful.
There are many more memories with music. When I was expecting Ashlee – there was a really wonderful Sandi Patty song on one of her albums – written for her own daughter when she was born. It was sung at my baby shower. I will never forget it. Whenever I have heard it played since then – I am moved to tears. Music is that powerful.
Being a musician – songs are the centerpiece of my life, pretty much. I always have music playing – when I am writing I will put something easy listening on – like now – so that I can get into the right “mood”. When I am down or sad – music can lift my spirits and make me happy. Sometimes a song can make me very sad. Music is that powerful.
I am also trying to be a good songwriter – and I’m having difficulty. But I’m not giving up – I have some other lyrics “floating around” in my head – just waiting for a soft place to land – so to speak. But I must not give up – one of my theater students was in the choir room awhile ago when I was attempting to write a song for a friend – so it holds me accountable – and I need to get busy – and practice what I preach – especially when they ask me about it. Music is powerful to them as well – and it’s nice to know that someone notices.
I have been privileged to be a part of “Suessical” this weekend at the Renton Civic Theater – put on by Renton Christian School Junior High. The cast was AMAZING – many students from RCS helped out in smaller roles, in animal costumes and dance costumes. Everything on stage was bright and colorful as the Dr. Suess characters “came to life” in a wonderful and charming way – with a great story and beautiful and touching music.
I couldn’t have been more proud of the cast this year. The students were amazing. Laura McGinnis is a fabulous Theater teacher – she is also my very best friend and we have always been a team – but we have lots of help – many teachers and parents who make these productions possible.
From directing the music for this production – I got a little added bonus – a very sore arm and shoulder. Can you say, “over doing it”? Maybe just a little! But it was worth it!