Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My World Rocked

We were at a wedding rehearsal dinner Friday night when the groom's mother came up to me and asked if I had taught at Smithton Middle School? And if I had directed musicals? Yes, I said. Then she told me her middle son had performed in "Oliver" (I co-directed) and "Annie Jr." (my first big solo production). She reported he had really enjoyed being in the musicals. Then she introduced us, or reintroduced us! As I looked at P.C. in his bearded, adult, married state, yes, he rang a bell. His 7th grade face began to come into view. 

When we got home that evening, I rushed downstairs to look through some files for the program of that long-ago (2002) musical. I've been cleaning and sorting such things so I was afraid I wouldn't have it, but sure enough I did. It was in an easy-to-find spot, like it wanted to be found. Then I opened the bright red folder and (drums please) there was an 8 by 10 glossy photo of a young P.C. as Bert Healey, the radio show guy in the musical. Yes, the P.C. of today still had some of that young face.

All this excited me, and yes, rocked my world! To hear appreciation and happiness about something long ago that 73 other kids were in, from a successful man, wow. How cool is that?!

I pulled out the program, fliers, posters, more photos, and the old VHS tape of the show. Gee, I designed that set (had a great art teacher that executed it with volunteers---kids and parents), I put together those fliers (printed professionally by some parents who owned the printing company), I sent out the press release, I organized parent volunteers, and recruited fantastic help in the assistant director (worked with the choreographer--we did pay her an honorarium) plus the tech director (another teacher colleague I put into action). I did all that! And we had sold-out houses for two evening performances and one matinee!

Are you getting that this was a sudden, very happy memory, reminding me I did make a difference in many kids' lives, and especially in the ones in my musicals. After 7 years of teaching and directing musicals, I left for another school and position. That middle school has not done a musical since. Sort of sad. 

Every now and again I do hear from a student or a parent regarding the impact I had. After a tough, sad last year of teaching, these encounters mean so much to me.  Yes, they do rock my world!

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