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16 November 2005
I had not one, but two interviews to conduct yesterday. What a delightful experience.
I have to tape interviews because I take rotten, incomplete notes that I can never read after I get home again, but I learned years ago, when I was interviewing people for the Lamplighter histories, that I do much better using a tape recorder, and having a tape recorder to use makes the "interview" more like a conversation. I had two really fun women to interview on this day.
Mindy is a lady who saw several needs and filled them herself. When her daughter was about to leave nursery school, she saw that there was no real organized music or theatre program for kids from that age until they were old enough to audition for the local children's theatre.
At the same time, Mindy wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom and spend time with her kid, so, putting her lifelong experience with music together with this need, she founded the first of several musical groups for children.
Working out of the auspices of the Davis Art Center (and now the Davis Joint Unified School district, as a circulating music teacher), she has so many chorales, choral groups, mini musicals, teeny musicals and I don't know what all that I got lost talking with her. I had to ask her to go, one by one, through each program and tell me what ages they served and what exactly they did.
She was simply amazing. And it was just a load of fun talking with her because, of course, our kids did this sort of thing (only not quite on this scale) from the second or third year that we lived here in Davis, up to today, if you count Jeri and Ned's continuing involvement with music/theatre related activities (only now getting paid to do them, of course!)
I was kind of sorry that I had scheduled a second interview for today because I was ready to rush right home, transcribe the tape, and get started writing the article (which is due Thursday morning).
But I had made the other appointment, and so I drove into Woodland to the Opera House, where I interviewed Angela, the education director, who is the director for the upcoming Young People's Theatre production of Seussical the Musical.
To my delight, it was almost like conducting the same interview twice in one day. What Mindy is doing in Davis, with one age group of kids, Angela is doing in Woodland with an older age group.
I learned about the programs for young people at the opera house, and got an in-depth look at the upcoming production, and we talked about the importance of the arts in the lives of young people.
Angela used to be the drama teacher at the local high school, so she's been working with kids for years and has the main thing that one needs for a job like this: enthusiasm!
Speaking with both of these women took me back to the first such person in our lives, Ms. lin McElroy, who set up the Sunshine Children's Theatre and set our own kids in a theatrical path very early in life.
I often think of lin fondly and a little sadly that after she left Davis she seemed to lose interest, not only in the kids whose lives she had changed, but also in theatre itself.
I look at Mindy and Angela and I am so pleased to know that there continue to be people in this area who are bringing the arts to children and who may change the lives of some of their kids the way that lin did for our kids.
I heard from Steve this morning that The Big Voice was named Best Musical of the Year at the Ovation Awards last night (that's the LA version of the Tonys).
Just think...if they hadn't cut my song from the show, I could say that I was co-creator of the winner of the best musical of the year!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
One of the beautiful old homes in Woodland.