highlights of the day

Wow, so much goodness happened today. It’s hard to select a highlight, so here are a few:

Kim went out to breakfast with a friend who was in town for Leadership Advance. That meant I got to stay home and fix breakfast for Charlie. He and I ate omelets and played until Kim came home to take Jase to get some 6-month-baby shots.

A bunch of the folks from Team XStream loaded the van and headed to Millheim. We drank coffee and ate sammies at the Inglebean before walking over to visit Brandon’s cats (Carl and Carl Jr.) I love hanging out with the folks who are shaping the lives of Calvary’s teens. Our team is growing, and it’s good.
Team XStream at Inglebean

Tonight was Lilly’s winter concert at State High. This concert featured the Cecilian Singers (11-12th grade ladies), OMA (Only Men Aloud 11-12th grade men) and the Chamber Singers. As expected, the music was phenomenal, and Mr Drafall once again selected a number of pieces that find the origin in Scripture. I love listening to his choirs perform. It’s almost like going to worship!

After the concert, we hung out in the lobby with a few families that we’ve grown to know and love over the years of shared theatre/choir experiences. It was fun to laugh and catch up with them. Two of the other parents were celebrating birthdays today, and Kim’s birthday is tomorrow. I think we missed an opportunity to go out and celebrate, but I don’t know that the day could have handled much more excitement…

it’s the end of the world as we know it

I’ve written about this already, but we reached another milestone this week.  Levi’s senior class of music students were recognized near the end of the Maroon and Gray Concert. (That’s the end of the year concert in which 2 students from the Master Singers are chosen to teach and conduct, each given half of the choir to work with.)  His name was called, and he walked across the stage that has been the home of so many wonderful moments over the past 4 years.

Once again, the music of the evening was spectacular, breathtaking even.  Both choirs were in fine form, and Levi got to sing in a trio with 2 of his best buddies.  The musical selections were varied, but both choirs sang a piece in Latin that rang with praise to God. I love the fact that our sons and daughters get to sing great music with a great message.

There is one more show, coming this weekend. It’s called Cabaret, and features songs and scenes cast and directed by the senior class.  Levi and his friends have been working hard to prepare for the evening. It’s going to be memorable, to be sure.

We have been blessed by the friends we’ve made, the community our kids have found, and the experiences the Music Department have given us.  We’ve loved the education and the educators, the depth of the music, the diversity of the shows, the lessons they’ve learned along the way.  We’ve endured disappointments and setbacks, thrilled at sold-out shows and stellar performances, sharing laughs and tears all along the way.

While it’s the close of Levi’s career, we have a bus-load of Subletts headed toward the music/theater program.  And we couldn’t be happier about that!

Here are Levi and Annabelle from Tuesday night’s concert.  Annabelle was playing with the MNMS orchestra while Levi was doing his thing. Kim left to be with Annabelle while I stayed to hear the rest of the Maroon and Gray. Poor Sadie was supposed to play, too, but had some sort of tummy bug.  And no one wants puke on a cello!Levi Maroon and GrayAnnabelle concert

striking the set

Children of Eden has come to a close, and with the final bow, Levi is ever so near the end of his high school thespian career.  It’s been wonderful, full of great friends, beautiful performances, and life lessons.  Being part of this troupe has provided a sense of community and belonging, opportunities to learn and stretch and grow, chances to serve and lead, and a group of friends who have come to be more like family than mere classmates.

I have enjoyed getting to know parents and their children, hearing their stories, learning about the things that matter to them.  Kim and I have made some great friends in the belly of Bravo (the Thespians booster club.)  We’ve been blessed to watch children blossom into young men and women, maturing with each passing season into young adults capable of bringing an audience to its feet–or to tears–with their talents.

We’ve laughed at the goofiness of high school shenanigans, sympathized with the broken hearts that accompany the occasional “showmance,” and encouraged our kids to work through the drama that lives outside the drama.  We’ve survived the late nights of homework after a long rehearsal, tech week, and the Green Room/Cast Party/Strike the Set…

We are grateful for the teachers who go way above and beyond to inspire, train, mold, and encourage our fledgling theatricals, who have seen the potential and called our kids to dig deep.  We are blessed to be part of this community of families who have shared rides, worked concessions, hugged our sweaty kids (still in stage makeup) and celebrated like they were their own.

We have loved our time as part of the State High Thespians, and our lives are richer for the experience.  And with the stable of dramatics that we’re raising, it looks like we’ll be working the concession table for years to come.
Levi, Boompa, Pappy photo 2 Levi & Sean Levi & Lilly HSM guys at CoE

children of eden hit and miss

Levi and Lilly (and the State High Thespians) presented Children of Eden tonight.  It’s Levi’s senior show.  We are rapidly coming to the end of his high school theatre run.  It’s been such a good experience for him, and for us.  I’m planning to spend a couple of days exploring some of the things that we’ve learned over the past few years.

But tonight I’m going to leave you with a hit and a miss.  Which would you like first?  OK, I’ll give you the miss.

I placed an ad in the program for Calvary’s Youth Ministry.  The show is Children of Eden.  Based loosely on the Genesis stories of Adam & Eve, Noah and Mrs. Noah, the show has sparked a lot of great conversation among students.  The cast and crew do an incredible job with this story, but it’s not a good representation of the God we know and love.  I had a chance to write a clever ad that would invite people into a conversation about the True Father…and I missed it.  I didn’t know the show well enough to address that in the ad.  Oh well…

The hit?

photo by Meadow Lane Photography.

photo by Meadow Lane Photography.

This is Michael (Cain) hitting Levi (Abel) with a rock.  It wasn’t a real rock–it was made out of wood.  But the hit was real.  Michael clocked Levi in the nose, narrowly missing his eye. Blood on the stage.  Levi saw stars and almost passed out.  The look of shock on the faces of the other actors–that’s real, too.

That’s the kind of commitment that you’ll get from your actors if you come see Children of Eden this weekend.  Shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm.

And the show is absolutely worth seeing.

5 things I learned from The Crucible

It’s still a little early to put it to bed, but I thought I’d take a stab at outlining some of the things that I’ve learned from my participation in SCCT’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.  We’ve got shows this Friday (7/26, 8pm) and Saturday (7/27, 2pm & 8pm) if you’re interested…click here for tickets!

The Church has been dysfunctional for a long time.  Apparently someone on the maiden voyage from England slipped the dysfunction into a steamer trunk, because the church in Salem was a wreck.  Broken people have a tendency to create broken organizations and structures.  That being said, I believe that the local church is and should be a vital part of the community, and when she’s on target and on mission, there’s nothing finer.

Everything rides on the back of leadership.  If Rev. Parris (my role!) or Mr. Danforth had been quality/character men, I think that the disaster in Salem could have been avoided.  Both were wrecked by pride and misplaced priorities.  The whole shebang centered around the young girls (niece and daughter) in Parris’ care.  I know that parents are not to blame for every bad situation their children get into (Lord, I hope not!) but Rev. Parris was a poor parent, and a poor leader of the people of Salem.  Like leader, like people…On the other side of that coin, Abigail Williams led a cold and calculated plot to manipulate, lie, betray, and murder (20 people hanged) before shoving off to Boston (don’t let your kids go to Boston).  Leadership–good or bad–is influence.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. (attributed to Edmund Burke)  That’s the bottom line in Salem, Happy Valley, and your house.  If you and I are not intentional, life does not drift toward the good.  I don’t envy the whistle-blower, but there must come a day when you and I choose to stand on the side of good vs evil.  Someone should have done something…we hear that still.

I found friends in Salem.  A little more than a month ago I was meeting this cast at our read-through.  Now I consider them to be friends, with secret handshakes and inside jokes.  We’ve shared rides and beers and stories and lives.  I am so grateful for the Community I have found in community theatre.

I’m probably hooked.  I don’t know if I’m any good at this acting thing.  I’ve blown the last 2 singing auditions that I’ve had, that’s for sure.  It’s possible that they gave me a role in this play because I have a key to the building where the Community Theatre office is!  But if they’ll have me, I’ll be back next season for another round of auditions.  Only this year I’m going to seriously practice my audition song!

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