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      Besides the youth choirs getting ready for the April 2 Volunteer Recognition, and besides opening night of Cuckoo’s Nest this Friday, and besides a reading workshop for the HG Women’s Project playwriting project, we’re in rehearsal for a little gem of a play called Wedding Belles. It’s one of those nostalgic pieces that is everything good about nostalgia without being sappy and sentimental.

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      We’ve been considering music for next year’s children and youth choirs. The past few years we’ve had a theme, and it’s been a fun and meaningful challenge to find music that celebrates/embraces the theme. I’ve been considering a few themes for next year but I’ve discovered that by considering them I’m really looking for a way to get on a soapbox and start preaching. To the point, these past political 12 months have left me weary, angry, frustrated, incredulous, disappointed, anxious, challenged. And I want to do something about that and I realize that the most logical way is via what I do: direct plays and choirs.

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      Sometimes I feel like these blogs are just another form of advertising. With that in mind,  I really do hope people will attend the productions but more than that I hope these blogs can stir up some discussion.   And with that in mind I’m going to write about yet another of HG’s programs.

      “People often say to themselves in life that they should avoid a variety of occupation, and, more particularly, be the less willing to enter upon new work the older they grow. But it is easy to talk, easy to give advice to oneself and others. To grow old is itself to enter upon a new business; all the circumstances change, and a man must either cease acting altogether, or willingly and consciously take over the new rôle.” Goethe wrote that about 200 years ago and I think one of HG’s programs provides the opportunity—or an opportunity—to enter upon a new business…to consciously take over the new role.

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      The buzz about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is intense. When I mention the title to someone who enquires about what we’re doing next they respond with a huge ”Ah!” as if they were intimate friends with the piece. When questioned, many of them indicate they have never read the book or seen the movie—let alone seen any stage version—but they seem to know it. Maybe it’s just a cool title. Or maybe they are Jack Nicholson fans who recognize that it was one of his first memorable roles.

      Planning a season is always a tricky, risky, guessing game: what will people come to see? Sometimes we move into other questions: What should people come to see? or “What would be good for people to see?” or “What haven’t people seen around here before?”

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      We started the HG Women’s Project when once again we realized that more women show up for auditions than men, and that there just seems to be more men’s roles than women’s roles .  After a wonderful audition session for Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike wherein there were 8 women and one man present—auditioning for the 2 males roles and three women roles—I thought that we need to do something. At the session I asked the auditionees why they were auditioning. One indicated that she her husband had recently died and that she was back in the area and trying to get on with her life with something meaningful. One indicated she was recently retired and finally had time to commit to a rehearsal schedule. As each one commented, I realized that we perhaps were failing in our mission to “provide opportunities for all people to enrich and empower their lives through community performing arts.”

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