Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reflections on the Times

In December, I had the pleasure of attending "White Christmas The Musical" produced at the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Anoka, Minnesota.  This is a stage rendition of a movie that was popular in the 1950's.  Those of you of a "certain age," know the one I mean .. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney; a train trip to Vermont; folks get snowed in, but  that doesn't stop he troops from showing up to honor the general they served under during the war.  Irving Berlin wrote the music, which included the eponymous "White Christmas" (always my Dad's Christmas favorite), "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," and one of my favorites, "I Love a Piano."  

I was enchanted with the Directors' Notes written in the program.  Rebecca Rizzio directed the play and wrote the notes. She is a very talented young woman, so I was surprised to find her notes providing a very adept summary of the highlights of the last 50 years, in context with counting our blessings.  I love sharing good writing with you, so I requested and received permission from Rebecca and Lyric Arts to reproduce them here in their entirety.  Her words, which seemed to reflect the experiences of my lifetime in just a few short paragraphs, grabbed my soul.

I hope they resonate with you as they did with me.  By the way, if you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and you haven't caught a production at the Lyric Arts Theater, you might want to check out their upcoming productions (plays AND live music concerts) listed on their website.

Also, in today's edition of the Minneapolis Tribune is a great article on the theater and its venturing into the live music venue.  As one patron commented, "Thank you so much for giving us a place (in the northern suburbs) to see live music." 

And, now, Rebecca Rizio's thoughts on counting our blessings.

"As we find ourselves in the uncertainty of 2011, it is perhaps easy to forget that we live in never-ending uncertainty. The Great Depression.  The unrest of the 1960's.  The Cold War. Vietnam.  And, World War II, during which Irving Berlin wrote the immediately-identifiable song, 'White Christmas.'
 "It has been nearly 60 years since America first heard that song. Since then, we have watched Elvis and the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.  We have witnessed the assassination of one president and the resignation of another.  We celebrated the birth of Little Ricky and mourned the passing of Lucy.  We have built homes with Habitat for Humanity and have seen them tragically destroyed by Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina.  We watched Michael J. Fox go from high school Republican, to time traveler, to advocate.  We experienced a miracle on ice and a disaster on Wall Street  We became Tweeters; we became green.  We spent our mornings with Katie and Matt and our late nights with Johnny and Uncle Miltie.  We have sent forth our troops and welcomed them back home.  We have been rocked by disease and inspired by those who fight it.  We watched as Neil Armstrong took his first step and as Christa McAuliffe took her last breath.  We saw terror rise; we saw towers fall. 
"Throughout it all, we live our lives - searching for our purpose, our place. Never knowing truly when or if we find it.  Never completely understanding our impact.  Mostly oblivious to our blessings but sometimes very aware of them.  Tonight, Irving Berlin asks us to count them.  Little is certain.  But the one thing that is certain is this moment, this blessing.  So, take it.  And, may it be merry and bright ...."
Thank you, Rebecca.  Your words are a blessing.

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