December, 2016 Issue

From the Chair...




Student Scholarship Winners
Minutes from the September Member Meeting
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


Administrative Assistant: Concert Facilities NDSU


Schuler Shook Expands Practice
Wenger Corp Announces Acquisition of SECOA
ETC CUE Professional Development Conference
Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd    Do this long enough and you find that certain shows have a tendency to pop up with a certain frequency.  So as I sit in the back of a dark theatre during the dress rehearsals of what by my estimations is my 7th or 8th time doing one version or another of A Christmas Carol, I find my mind wandering a bit.  Yes, I am taking diligent notes on the fact there was too much smoke for Marley’s entrance, or the platform carrying a gaggle of Cratchits did not come to its proper spike, or the projection cues during one of the big musical numbers (yes, this time around it’s one of the musical versions) were coming in late.  But I am also thinking about the message of the show – redemption of course, but also the spirit of giving, being charitable, and finding the joy in life during the holidays.
    We do a lot of gift giving in our department this time of year.  Our Alpha Psi Omega chapter does a Christmas party and a Secret Santa style gift exchange.  I’m one of the faculty advisors so I get my name in the mix too.  Money is always tight this time of year for all of us so we limit the amount that can be spent on each gift.  It’s more about being creative and finding a gift that is meaningful for that person than how much you spend. 
    Our students have another Christmas party where they actually have to make gifts for the person whose name they drew.  One would think the week after the last show of the semester has closed might be quiet, but instead the shops are full of students sewing, painting, and sometimes even welding together the gifts they are creating for each other.  It is great to see the effort they put into these, and how much they enjoy doing this for each other.  Again, they aren’t expensive things – a few yards of fabric, a piece of scrap Masonite with a painting done on it, but it’s the fun they have creating these gifts that make it special.
    There are many things we can do for others this time of year as well.  We are fortunate to study or work in a profession that puts us in proximity to people gathering in crowds as they come see our shows. They can be encouraged to make donations as they come to the theatre.  I have worked in theatres where during the holidays things are collected in the lobby for local charities.  Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots, non-perishable food items for local food pantries or shelters, etc.  It can be particularly fun if the giving is themed with the show.  Obviously a show like A Christmas Carol lends itself to the audience being encouraged to bring donations of clothing or toys.  We did a production of Legally Blonde a few years ago in the December slot and took donations of pet food and dog treats for the local Humane Society.  Our Bruiser in that show was from the local Humane Society here and that seemed like an appropriate thing to do.  On a side note, Bruiser came to live at my house during that show and is still here – but that is a story for another time.
    You might also find full productions done for charity purposes going on this time of year.  I am on my 16th year of lighting an annual Christmas Celebration we do here in Brookings.  It’s a collaborative effort of a local dance studio, a church, and a number of community members.  It’s an adaptation of the biblical Christmas story in dance with a live choir.  All of the proceeds from the show go to our local women’s shelter.  The show has been developed and refined over the years, and has grown into a local tradition for our city.  People see this performance as part of the holiday season here.  It has a great message and supports a great cause as well.
    How else can we share our talents and time with others during this season?  It takes only a few hours of our time to volunteer to help serve a meal at a church or shelter or to ring a bell for the Salvation Army outside a store.  We live in a world of performers – ever notice that when the musical theatre types randomly burst into song in the halls or lobbies they just naturally sing in three part harmony?  Channel this ability for something other than singing showtunes, take them caroling to a local nursing home or senior center.  I guarantee they will not perform to a more grateful audience all year.
     I should probably turn my attention back to the show.  Hmmm… there is a mysterious gravestone appearing on stage.  I wonder who that could be?  Oh!  Wow!  It’s Scrooge’s grave!  All those people in the cemetery were actually talking about him.  I sure didn’t see that plot twist coming.  I hope that however you choose to celebrate it, you all have a safe and happy holiday season and a happy new year!  [ ]