I have been blessed with HST for nine years. What began as, "Sure, Mom. I'll take an acting class," became hundreds of hours of work and play. I have been able to participate in nine Showcases (2 years Acting, 6 years Choir, 5 years jazz, 5 years tap, 3 years Irish, and 1 year of Dance Intensive), 3 Junior Troupe musicals, 4 Senior Troupe musicals, 2 AI Coffee House shows, and several Varity Shows. I have been in troupe with exactly 80 different people. I have had leads and chorus parts. I have sang solos and in 5 part harmonies. I have tap danced in overalls, tux t-shirts, fedoras, and while holding giant hearts. I have danced with a stroller, a glass, and a table in the same number. I have been in numbers such as "Mr. Roboto" by Styx to "You Make Me Feel So Young" by Frank Sinatra. The 13 minute DI number will always be a personal favorite for me.
Showcase finales in and of themselves are memorable. Bad example: I don't remember anything from my first finale except Mrs. Mullan frantically waving my line through the bow and offstage. I do, however, remember "Joy to the World," "Sing Sing Sing," "One," "Human" by the Killers, the random Japanese "Shining Star" one, "We Are Family," Wolf's amazing original "Can You Hear Me Now?," and that awful one we signed to while wearing various hats. I remember watching the "big kids" swing dance and Nick W. wearing that bullfrog hat. I remember the night the boys Tebow-ed at the end of the show. Most of all, I remember screaming with joy at the end of each Showcase performance once the curtain closed.
Junior Troupe memories are crazy. My first Jr. show was "The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree." That was a hoot. We had probably 25 kids with 12 names between us. It was great. I remember being on the younger side with a huge number of 8th graders. THAT was exciting. It was my first musical, and it made me love telling a story through theatre. The next year was "Tom Sawyer," and that was probably what got me hooked. I still love and stay in touch with pretty much everyone from that show. Eighth grade was "Snow White" year, and Mrs. B gave me a chance to push myself. I loved having a small cast (18 people) and a very colorful show. It was awesome. One of the best parts has been watching the youngest kids from that show grow up. The little cat was nine years old for that show - he's going to be a freshman in high school this fall!
I joined Senior Troupe in HST's 15th season - just when Sr. was doing HST's 50th show! It was a milestone year, so we had to do a milestone show. We did "Crazy for You," which was HST's first ever dance-ical. With a psycho number of full cast dance numbers, including multiple tap numbers, CfY was a riot. I was shepherded by so many kind people who helped me find my footing in the deepend of the HST pool that is Senior Troupe. Thank you. You know who you are.
Sophomore year, we did "Little Women." I've already written a long post about my experience and the things I learned from that show. I guess I'll say: it was a huge blessing. Seriously. If you have a chance to even see that show, go. It was a very uplifting experience.
Last year we did "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." It was a bit of a rough transition from a spiritual, family-centered show that addressed real issues to a high-powered (see what I did there?) comedy. I admit, at first I was not completely sold. I mean, I had liked H2$ for a long time, and I was excited to be doing it, but as I said, it was a rough transition. I made it, however. It remains one of my favorite performance experiences. There were so many amazing people who participated in it. I loved it.
Lastly, "Gone with the Breeze." Oh, dear... It came as a shock. Doing a Pioneer Drama in Senior Troupe had become outdated and almost out of the question. Yet, here we were, working on one. We took a show with many flaws and carved, sanded, polished, and scrubbed it until it was beautiful. It was a great show, and I regret nothing. I don't mind that my lead was in a show future directors won't know. That's fine. I enjoyed learning, performing, choreographing, etc. in that show. It was a great experience. Also, the group of people was one of the best I've ever known.
I have met so many amazing people in HST or through mutual friends I know from HST. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without those people. I would probably be at school. I would know 1 person in my graduating class. They are all good people. When teens talk about peer pressue to do things they aren't comfortable with, I can't relate. My friends are people with high standards and Christian values. I have grown up with these people. I guess it's kind of like living in a small town - everyone goes all the way through school together. They all remember everyone's awkward phases, who they dated, and the changes they have made. But, HST is like a family in that they know all of those things, and they don't care. They love you anyway.
Not only have I met so many friends through HST, but I have been introduced to amazing, Christ-like women. They have shown me what it means to be a mother. They have proven to me that no one can tell me I am not good enough to teach and raise my own children. They have shown me how you can use your talents to serve others. They have taught me many, many lessons. Just to name a few: Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. Beardsley, Mrs. Rodriguez, Mrs. Bleakley, Mrs. Hackett, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. Burns, Sister Higham, Mrs. Hsu, Mrs. Tallman, Mrs. Elkan, Mrs. Atkinson, Mrs. Elhallal, Mrs. Neff, Mrs. Morrison, and Mrs. Robertson. That was just naming a few! Thank you so much, HST moms. You are the greatest. Thanks for doing an awesome job with your children. They are fantastic people.
I guess, I'm going to end this nostalgic trip down memory lane with an open letter to HST.
Thank you. You have been a major part of my life for almost a decade. Thank you for teaching me that I love theatre. Thank you for teaching me that I can do anything I decide to. Thank you for helping me learn grace, kindness, service, and watching out for others. Thank you for allowing me to explore. Even though you knocked me on my butt a couple times, I forgive you. The positives outweigh the terrible moments. Thank you for creating a safe environment for me to grow into the woman I am and to meet amazing people. I will always remember you as a blessing, synonymous with both childhood and high school. I cannot wait to see what you create in the future. They are always beautiful. Keep on loving the way I know you do. You have something rare. It is not only special, it's sacred. I know that God smiles when He looks down on you. You are a training ground, an incubator for tools for His works. You have great things ahead of you.
I love you.