I Might Be a Little Crazy

December tends to be a really busy month for many people.  Musicians often find it to be EXTRA busy because there tend to be extra performances and special events.

I decided to take the crazy to a whole different level this year.

It’s my first year as the color guard coach at Fort Dodge Senior High which means winter guard competition in Des Moines the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Granted, that wasn’t technically in December but we did get home after midnight so we technically got home December 1st.  So that counts, right?

This all means that last week was intense.  Not overly busy, but it was the week of a competition so the adrenaline was pumping which can wear a person out!  Especially when she is . . . a bit older than her mid-20’s.

I’ve also been directing a show at the local community theater which opens this Thursday.  On top of competition week last week, I was still holding rehearsals and this week it’s that big final push to the show.  Still some last minute details to take care of but the kiddos are excited to put their work in front of an audience.

Next week I’m playing keyboard for both Sunday morning services.  Then there is a band concert in the afternoon that I want to get to – gotta support my band kiddos! – and a choral concert to play for on Thursday.

I will be accompanying some violin students in their recital on the 21st which means I’ve put in some time rehearsing with the soloists.  Dress rehearsal on the 16th, performance five days later . . . it’s been fun to add this new piece to my year.

I’m doing special music on the 23rd and helping out in some fashion with the Christmas Eve service which will bring all of my performance involvements to a close.

To those who aren’t built like me, this all seems crazy.  In fact, I’ve had people come right out and ask me if I’m crazy.  Maybe just a little bit.  But the simple truth is, I love all of it.  Yes, 19 hours at the events center for state contest wore me out.  State contest week followed immediately by show week?  Yep, I’m tired.

But in the course of this month, I will get to see my color guard girlies put their best effort on the competition floor.  I will watch some young actors make their debut on the local stage.  I will get to sing and play a handful of times at worship gatherings (which might be my absolute favorite thing to do!) and I wouldn’t trade any of it.  Not for the world.

Acting Up – The Nutcracker

One of my favorite moments happened this past week – the first meeting with the cast of a show I’m directing.

This particular show is a twist on the Russian folktale that most of us know as a ballet frequently staged at Christmas time.  In THIS version, Fritz is the focus.  Obsessed with beating the next level in his favorite video game, he accidentally frees the Mouse King who is determined to destroy Christmas.  As in the traditional story, the Nutcracker is determined to stop the Mouse King.  But in THIS version, the Nutcracker is a girl.

I have a cast of 39 ready to start rehearsals this coming week.  Some of them have been on stage a few times before while others are gearing up for their very first show ever.  They range in age from Kindergarten through high school (I believe the oldest performer is a Junior).  Some of them are old friends or family – have a few sets of siblings and even a set of cousins – and a few have even shared the stage together before.

I am facing several hours of rehearsal, teaching rookie actors what terms like “blocking” and “counter cross” mean, designing and painting the set, deciding on costumes, collecting props, . . . and I cannot wait to get all the insanity started!  Watching students hone and polish their performance skill is always such a fantastic experience.  And a show during my favorite holiday of the year?  Sounds like perfection!