With A Grateful Heart…

For those who may or may not know, I am the Music Director for the Ephrata Performing Arts Center Kids For Kids’ production of Frozen Jr. which runs through next weekend.

Working with these kids is always a true joy for me and this year has been no exception.

68 kids ages 6-16 have been hard at work for 3 months putting together this piece of Disney magic and have put blood, sweat, and tears into the production…literally.

And on Wednesday after our school day show, I could sense a negative energy amongst the kids stemming from the lack of sleep and long hours of rehearsal during tech week that had occurred just only about 7 day priors to opening weekend.

Being involved with this program is a big time commitment, especially for a BIG show like this. Hours of rehearsal…and we are talking HOURS. Thousands of costume pieces, set pieces, music and light cues, sound effects, technical effects…everything under the sun basically to make this tale of frozen love and adventure magical.

So, this week’s blog post that I share with you is an email message that I sent to the kids and their parents in hopes of them finding some inspiration amongst the sluggish and bogged down ambience that was filling the air.

“To The People Of Arendelle,

How exciting that you are getting ready to enter the second week of shows?! Isn’t it crazy how fast time is going?! 
I know that you are tired and I completely understand that. Sleep is a GLORIOUS thing. Just think though…so many people have seen this show and left with huge smiles on their faces. Do you realize what an impact you are having on the people that enter the doors to this theater each night?! The world is a crazy place and so many people find solace and peace and joy in theater and this show is no exception.
But here is some real-life and raw inspiration from Mr. Sunshine, so I hope you take a few minutes to read. Take it for what it’s worth, but I hope this will give you motivation, energy, and that extra spring in your step to take on these next 4 shows for the weekend. 
The theater is a place that has become my second home. Ever since starting at EPAC back in 2010, I have found comfort and warmth (even if the theater is FREEZING) amongst the four walls that enclose the space. I have found joy and passion in the individuals I have laughed with, cried with, and danced with. I wish that I could say in the 21st century that we live in a world where there is no hate, no judgment, and no bullying, but that just isn’t the reality. It is very disheartening for me to write that even at 32 years of age, I still have moments during my life where people stare at me, laugh at me, or poke fun at the person that I am. 
And you know what?!
I. Don’t. Care. 
Those people are the ones that don’t matter and the ones that make me even stronger of a person as I live out life on the daily.
I am who I am and the theater inspires me each and every moment that I walk in to just be myself, to love without judgement, to smile at the stranger, and to welcome with open arms regardless of background, social status, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or whatever the case may be.
You never know what someone in life could be going through, especially those that are coming to see this show for the first time. They could be going through a tough moment in their life, they could be struggling with something personal, they might just want something that brings them joy in their heart…you just never know. 
But YOU guys are the ones who have the power to change that. YOU are the ones that have the ability to live in the moment and bring out the smiles and passion in each and every individual that will witness this show during the next two weeks of sold out crowds. 
So, just remember…
Smile at the stranger. Love without judgment. Share kindness to everyone. 
I love watching you guys perform each and every night–it bring me pure joy. Truly. 
Sorry for the long email. Hope you all can find some inspiration in these words. 
See you tomorrow and you always know where to find me if you need some sunshine or just a hug to let you know it will all be okay!”

I hope that you, too, can find some hope and power in these words as you live out your life on the daily this week.

Sprinkle sunshine always,