Part II: Sandi's Experience (reprinted with permission from Sandi's Facebook page)
When I went to audition for The Music Man, and saw the talent there, I knew I'd be lucky to be in the chorus. But I had no idea how lucky I would be! Every rehearsal, I was blown away by the singers, dancers, actors... I went home singing Lyda Rose every night, hearing the voices of our barbershop quartet in my head. The dancers in Shipoopi...Holy Geeze...it made me tired just to watch them and clap my hands!
On show nights, my favorite thing was to stand in the wings, listen to Richard give his welcome/introduction/here-are-the-emergency-exits speech, and then...the applause, and we know Wes Wesley E. Ecker, our musical director has stepped up. I get chills, the orchestra starts, and we backstage start to march along as the energy and excitement builds. There is no sound like the sound of the curtain opening for the first time. I'd stand there and silently cheer on the guys in Rock Island, the train scene, and some of us would bob along like we were riding with them...and then as I hear, “Yes, Sir...Yes, Sir...and when the man dances, certainly boys...what else? The piper pays him...Yes Sir...yes Sir...” I'd poke my head into the band room and say, “The trains is pulling into the station.” That means it's time for Ceci to join me on stage for Iowa Stubborn. These are memories I will hold dearly forever.
I will miss those songs, those rehearsals, and those people. I truly had one of the best experiences of my life with this wonderful group of people. I really do love them all, and can't wait to work with them again!
I will miss my fellow Pick-A-Little townswomen! We would come out through side doors and gather on the stairs to Pick-A-Little twice in the play. If you have never heard the song, it's a hoot...and has always been a favorite of mine. It was a special thrill to be part of it. I originally auditioned to be one of the Pick-A-Little Ladies in the major roles, but didn't get it. Ultimately, that was for the best. I loved being in the chorus with Cecilia, and I still got to be in the song, (and my back problem would have forced me to drop out of any role).
I have not been in a play since high school. That was...well...decades ago. I am 47. So, I am rusty, and I only did high school theater, and never a musical, so much of this was very new to me. For instance, I had no idea what a Sitz Probe was, but I know what a Sitz Bath is, and did not want to do that as a group thing. (I actually missed that rehearsal...the jargon confused me). And I grew up in a union office, so I did not understand why we had to strike at the end of a perfectly good play? I mean, we liked the director and everything.
As it was new-ish to me, it was completely overwhelming to Cecilia. She joined because she loves singing and dancing. She had NO clue what she was in for! She kept sighing, “why do we have to sing the same thing over and over and over?” Sitting in chairs singing for hours was not what she expected. Standing around entertaining herself, and being told to do it quietly, while others rehearsed was not what she had in mind. She started school, and then almost immediately started rehearsals. The last couple of weeks, the poor thing barely got any sleep. I told her almost every rehearsal, “Just because we don't have an audience, doesn't mean we don't have to smile and pretend we have one every single time.” But she was so tired. I was beginning to worry about how she would perform over the weekend, if she didn't get some rest. Well, Thursday night it happened... For everyone else, opening night was Friday. For me and Ceci, opening night was Thursday. It was our final dress rehearsal with an invited audience. The invited audience included residents from The Glen At Hiland Meadows, where I am a cook. Cecilia and I were so excited about performing for the residents!! When it was show time, a switch flipped in my girl. I have talked about the amazing talent we had the thrill of working with, but I have to talk about how absolutely astounded I am at how Ceci took to having an audience. She loved it! She never once, from auditions on, showed the least bit of fear being in front of all these people. Her dream now is to be in The Sound Of Music! She has some work to do before she is ready for that, but she is a hard worker. My motivation in auditioning was to set an example for my daughter. I wanted her to see me try for one of my dreams. Having her join me made it an even sweeter dream! I hope that she and I get to do this together again and again! Maybe someday in the Sound Of Music!
Cecilia and I both made a great group of new friends, and if you have ever considered...or even if you haven't considered...working on a play, I encourage you to look into your local community theater. There is LOTS of work to be done on and off stage.
If you missed The Music Man, be sure not to miss whatever the Glens Falls Community Theatre does next...because they do it big! You can be sure that I will be there, either on the stage or working behind it!
— at The Music Man, presented by Glens Falls Community Theatre.