By Susan Dromey Heeter
Live is such a wonderful four letter word.
And this past week, I mused joyfully on the celebration of live as I basked in three live events: a musical, a lecture, a one-woman show. And all were fantastically live and reminded me, too, that to be a-live is pretty delightful.
Last weekend, the play Beauty and the Beast was performed by the students of Spaulding High School in Rochester and was astonishingly wonderful. And while I am not here to write a review, I would recommend ANYTHING that has Music Teacher, Joanne Houston’s name attached to it – she is fabulous.
And the beauty of a live performance is watching the behind the scenes action. I witnessed Ms. Houston is the halls right before the performance, listened as she encouraged people to their seats, was mesmerized as she picked up the baton and directed the fantastically trained band of students with oboes and flutes and drums.
And a performance on a screen rarely shows the audience. There were girls attired in Belle costumes; I saw one five year old in her blue nylon dress – and remarked, “I was going to wear that, too!” She looked horrified. Again, it’s the joy of a live performance.
The second live event I saw this week presented Anthony Ray Hinton – an African American man wrongly convicted of murder in Alabama and who had spent an unbelievable thirty years in prison. “Thirty years. Thirty years,” was how he began his talk. He spoke to the Phillips Exeter Academy community which was essentially filled with high school students.
And during Mr. Hinton’s 90-minute presentation, the hall was so quiet, so reverential, one boy left to go outside to cough. I watched him leave, heard him in the hallway.
That, my readers, is the beauty of live. Mr. Hinton had us all in the palm of his hand. His story was beyond eloquent, graceful, spiritual, historical, reverential. My daughter remarked she’d never experienced the hall so quiet. Wow. And I heard his story live.
My final live experience this week was travelling with the brilliant Dover High School English and Drama Classes to watch The Belle of Amherst at First Parish Church in Dover. This, my friends, will be performed (Saturday, March 25) at 2:00 p.m. and is outstanding. Who knew Emily Dickinson, recluse, could be so fascinating?
I had never seen a one-woman show prior to this visit – but sitting with high school students (of whom I’d been assigned to help chaperone) gave even more pause. When actress Carole Davenport came out afterward, she answered questions asked by students, eloquent, thoughtful questions that proved that not only was I entirely entranced by Emily, my fellow audience members had followed every word as well. On our bus ride home we shared reactions, thoughts, answered each other’s questions. Again, it’s the joyful musings of the art of the live performance, the shared experience.
And, dear readers, may you enjoy LIVE this weekend, this week. As we thaw here in New Hampshire, it’s good to get outside, to dare go out beyond 6 p.m. It’s light out, it’s slowly getting warmer.
May you, too, muse joyfully on your own being a-live.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.