Two most inspiring people I've seen this year

The Two Most Inspiring People I’ve Seen This Year

I’m always inspired by talent, especially young talent.  These are the two most inspiring people I’ve seen this year, so far.

You need to know about both of them.

Number One

Image result for Brandon Victor Dixon website

Do know Brandon Victor Dixon?

You don’t?  (That’s okay, I didn’t either.)

He’s the immensely talented gentleman who portrayed Judas in the recent television adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Here he is ;

You are welcome. 

Recently, Brandon was interviewed on Sirrus radio’s Broadway Musical station.  I was lucky enough to hear the interview.

What a professional!

Brandon is a Presidential Scholar Semi-finalist and scholarship winner at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford, Brandon is a graduate of Columbia University and a recipient of the University’s I.A.L Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts which is an honor he shares with Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change, and Katori Hall (Mountaintop).

Since his professional debut, originating the role of Adult Simba in The Lion King National Tour (Cheetah), Brandon has displayed his diverse abilities in a number of roles. Notably, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Harpo in Broadway’s The Color Purple, a Grammy for his portrayal of  Berry Gordy in Motown The Musical, and he was nominated for Oliviers, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and AUDELCO awards for his outstanding portrayal of Haywood Patterson in Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys.

I know talent folks. Honestly I can nearly smell it upon meeting someone. 

This fellow is tremendously talented and what’s more he’s a good person.

He’s involved in the #Weare campaign, raising funds for the YoungNew Yorker program.

From Brandon’s website :

“All sales from our first release, #WeAre, benefit youngnewyorkers.org, an organization that aims to help rehabilitate juvenile first time offenders in their teens who are sentenced to their ARTS program instead of JAIL.

The #WeAre campaign is a global call to action for all communities to support the recognition of our collective power and repsonsibility. This is the first project on my new platform designed to empower Art, Artists, and their Advocacy through musical collaboration.

As Brandon explained it (I’m paraphrasing here) instead of sending our young people straight to prison for their first offense, perhaps there are better methods of helping them.  To Brandon, and to me, the arts are the way to reach our youth and help them grow into the adults they are meant to be and become contributing members of society.   

I love programs such as these.  They make sense to me.  Everyone needs a second chance, especially a young person.  Instead of filling up yet another prison why not find another way to work with troubled youth?

For more information about Brandon, check out his website at http://brandonvictordixon.com/home

Number Two

Image result for who is mobley the singer

Here’s another young man you may not know, but I think you are going to soon.

His name is Mobley.

Last Friday evening, we went to see a show in Kansas City by our friend, Kelley Wade Hunt and Mobley played first.

Oh my gosh! Wait until you hear him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjD1xH5GyKUhttps://www.mobleywho.com/

Or this one:

https://fanlink.to/MobleyYoungAdultFiction

You have to picture this show.  Our friend, Kelley, is a veteran rhythm and blues singer.  Not surprisingly, many of the attendees are our age too.

However, first Mobley comes on the stage.  His music is not what you’d think some of us “elderstatesmen” would enjoy.  But within a few minutes he had us singing along with him, clapping and having fun!  (You understand Mobley couldn’t be much more than thirty years old?) It was awesome.

Furthermore, Mobley is a one man band.  He plays several instruments, writes music, sings and even created the video in the background.  Very impressive.

Afterwards, we stopped so say hi and compliment him on his music.  My husband is a retired instrumental music teacher who taught music theory for many years.  It was wonderful to watch Mobley and my husband converse about music just like two old friends.

From the Austin Monthly, “Band to Watch” interview:

“Mobley, whose real name is Anthony Watkins II, credits recent news events, particularly the Eric Garner grand jury decision, as the inspiration for deeper, more introspective songwriting. “About halfway through working on the record, the decision came back, and that was just devastating on multiple levels,” he says. “But it brought lots of things into a different focus, and it gave the work a moral center, and everything made sense after that.” That moral center is cleverly encased in layers of bright, thudding electronic flourishes and R&B-style vocals, as evidenced in the single “Swoon.”

His live show has a similar upbeat energy to it. He uses his film degree from the University of North Carolina and day job as a web designer to great effect, incorporating visuals, lighting and videos, in addition to toggling between playing the guitar, keyboard and an Akai drum machine. Being too cool for school onstage isn’t interesting to him. “I find it most compelling when performers seem like they believe what they’re doing and care about me believing what they’re doing,” he says.

See what I mean?   

Like Brandon, Mobley is a terrific fellow, too.

As I have said before, I don’t always blog about drama education, or my book, sometimes I blog about unusual experiences in my life.  Meeting Mobley was one of them.  I suspect you will all see a lot of him very soon.

Watch for Brandon Victor Dixon, too.

I bet you can tell now why these are the two most inspiring people I’ve seen this year, so far.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

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Effective Teaching Methods

Why You Should Use These Effective Teaching Methods, Part Two

Let’s talk about why you should use these effective teaching methods. This is a two part series, so check out part one, will you?

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2018/06/22/why-you-should-use-these-effective-teaching-methods/

 

Plaid, Coaster, Bast, Colorful, Color

I have a second teaching method which works wonders with any aged kid–I guarantee it!

ARTS INTEGRATION

You may wonder what arts integration is specifically.  Simply put, arts integration is a method used to teach the core subjects infusing them with the arts–music, art, dance and theatre.

From http://www.tealarts.org/arts-integration.html

“Arts integration is an approach to learning in which standards based objectives from the visual and performing arts (the visual arts, music, dance, theatre and media arts) and one or more other subject areas are aligned, met, and assessed.

Image result for students participating in arts integration

It is important to know that arts integration does not supplant single subject art classes like band, dance, drama or drawing, but instead is used to design robust lessons that engage students in the processes used in the arts, such as creative thinking and active learning.

Done with diligence and purpose, arts integration helps students flourish, deepen their learning, and make meaningful connections between the disciplines. Studies have shown that art experiences result increased academic achievement, self-confidence, motivation, and improved social-emotional connections and behavior.”

Don’t ya love it?

Remember in elementary school when you got to draw a picture about some scene in the book you were reading?  Or write a poem about a moment in history? Yeah, it’s like that.

When I was in my forties, a vocal music teacher friend of mine and I  wanted to pursue a masters in education but not in curriculum and instruction (a masters many educators receive.)  She did some research and ran onto the Lesley College which offered a Masters in Education focused on Creative Arts Learning (aka arts integration.)

This was an off site campus location and the professors came to us once a month for eighteen months while we studied the various elements of the arts and how to integrate them into the classroom.

Image result for art and math

My friend and I were ecstatic about the program! At the first class, we noticed there were several teachers lacking confidence and timid about their creativity. Well, that changed for the better by the end.  They fared as well or better than we did from the learning. Isn’t that great?

As I mentioned in part one I am now teaching college level students.  Since I was getting my feet wet with the material this first year, I hesitated to use arts integration to teach these college kids.  That was a mistake.

This fall, if I end up teaching for the college I will use arts integration right from the beginning.

It’s novel, it’s obviously creating, it’s very engaging and it’s fun.

Here are a few ideas for arts integreation in core subjects.

Students can:

  1.  Write a script depicting a particular time in history and act it out.
  2. Create a monologue of a famous person and perform it during an open house.
  3. Pen a poem about a country they are studying
  4. Draw and illustrate a picture demonstrating how the body works.
  5. Mold something from clay of a certain culture
  6. Create a rap about the U.S.’s fifty states and capitols
  7. Use movement to demonstrate the various types of clouds, how a typhoon is different from a tornado or the tetonic shifts in the ocean.
  8. Make a dance to accompany a piece of music from a time period which was studied.
  9. If you have musicians, ask them to play a piece of music to compliment the learning.  If the students are studying western expansions, a student could play a country western piece for example.
  10. When studying shapes, cut different ones for collages using basic geometry.  This helps teach and reinforce undrstanding of shapes.  Then as a group, incorporate them into a collage on a classroom wall.

As you can tell, the ideas are numerous.

Utilizing the arts in your classroom gives you energy, too.  Because every project will be creative, your intellect will be challenged.  This is essential for the teacher who plans to teach for many years.

Think about it–would it be more exciting to see what your students create and learn about a concept or merely you regurgitating material……for twenty-five years?

So, there you have it!  Try arts integration in your class or email me if you need help, I’m always willing to suggest ideas to interested teachers.  Rememeber, we are all in this together.

If you’d like more advice on teaching, check out these posts:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2018/06/22/the-12-steps-to-becoming-a-fantastic-drama-teacher-in-12-steps/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2018/05/10/the-lessons-i-learned-from-working-as-a-drama-teacher/

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

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favorite Broadway musicals

The Reasons These Shows are My Favorite Broadway Musicals

 

Let’s talk about the reasons these shows are my favorite Broadway musicals. I adore Broadway musicals.  I admit it happily and freely with wild abandon. How do you choose which is your  favorite Broadway musical?

Last weekend we attended the University of Kansas production of Next to Normal (which was well done, I might add) and this Saturday we are seeing American in Paris at the Starlight Theatre.

For seven years,  my husband and I took tour groups of  students and families to New York.  We thought it would be a fitting way for our daughters to be introduced to the city if, in fact, they wanted to pursue a performing career.

Consequently, we saw many musicals while in NYC–twenty-one to be exact.

Broadway and West 34th St.

Favorite Musicals

On occasion, people ask me what are some of my favorite musicals which I’ve especially enjoyed attending.  Here they are in no particular order:

The Phantom of the Opera ( I’ve seen Phantom at least four times. However, a gal I performed with in Columbia, MO had been part of the cast at one time and  was able to take us backstage afterward.)

The Lion King (Took a tour and saw the costumes, masks and set up close and personal. Seen it twice–visually stunning.)

Wicked (We saw Wicked before it was popular and prior to the Tonys.  Got to see Kristen and Edina, too. I heard today Wicked has surpassed Phantom of the Opera as the second longest running musical on Broadway.) Read here:

http://www.playbill.com/article/wicked-surpasses-the-phantom-of-the-opera-as-second-highest-grossing-show-in-broadway-history

Les Mis ( I have seen Les Mis several times, but one performance included my student Becca Ayers in the cast.)

The Drowsy Chaperone (I laughed and laughed. This is one I’d like to direct.  It’s my kind of humor.)

Newsies (What can I say?  It was as much fun to see our kids (with tears in their eyes and  broad smiles)  meeting the cast afterwards as it was to see the show.)

Oklahoma!, Revival (A fella, Justin Bohon, who I directed once in Music Man in Columbia, MO portrayed Will Parker. We were all so proud to be able to say we knew someone in the production.)

If you are interested in advice about youth theatre productions to direct, check out this post:https://wordpress.com/post/dramamommaspeaks.com/550  

Schubert Alley

South Pacific, Revival  (Again, Becca Ayera was in the show. Got to see Kelly O’Hara, too.)

Mary Poppins (Oh my gosh, Mary flew right over us at the end of the show.  I wept.)

Rocky (Who’d think a musical about a boxer could be memorable? When the boxing ring was placed in the audience and Rocky boxed right in front of us, I was awe struck–so clever.)

Chicago (Our first tour was in March, less than a year after 9-11.  I will never forget how anxious we felt touring NYC, but Chicago distracted us from our worries and assuaged our fears of being in the city.  How?  Long legged female dancers and fabulous music!)

Why do I label them Broadway musicals?  Because it’s difficult to get your show to Broadway, like nearly impossible.  If your show is a. good enough b. backed by solid producers and c. timely or universal I think you have more an a chance to get there.  Just my opinion…..

What are your favorite Broadway musicals?

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

 

 

girl holding crystal ball

The Unofficial Fortune Teller’s Guide to Becoming a Fantastic Teacher in 12 Steps

 

fortune teller's guide

Here it is—the unofficial fortune teller’s guide to becoing a fantastic teacher in 12 steps. Although, I speak specifically about teaching drama, this post will relate to any teacher.

rubistar.4teachers.org

If you don’t know about rubistar.4teachers.org you need to!  (This is a side note for you. It isn’t really a step, but do check them out for quick, efficient, comprehensive rubric templates.) rubistar.4teachers.org

People don’t ask me for the guide to becoming a fantastic drama teacher.

They never directly ask me. They ask around the question.  I think they are afraid of what I might say.  Teehee….I’m known for being honest.

So they say, “I was thinking I would like to do something in life that uses my love for theatre.” Or “I don’t think I would make it on Broadway, but I’d still like to be involved in theatre and make a living from it.”

They look at me with a smile hopeful for the answer they desire.

No pressure there….

I’m not a fortune teller, although one time for a radio commercial,  I portrayed the fortune teller, Madame Zula, a  wacky woman who extolled important facts about crop fertilizer. (My producer won a regional award for it, BTW.)

You’re laughing, I know.

fortune teller's guide

Although I might think you have the talent to succeed on Broadway, that isn’t something I can promise or even prophesy. Nor can I project whether you’ll be successful as a teacher.

There are many factors which create your success in the field of professional theatre, many of which you and I have no control. Any worthwhile pursuit has the same challenges.

If you listen to many successful performers, they will tell you that some of it is a.being at the right place at the right time b. fortitude in the face of many rejections c. a willingness to do anything and everything to make it happen and maybe d. talent.

Technical theatre artists will share the same experiences with you.  They worked at it.  They created a resume.  They worked for little pay and so on.

Here’s a secret:  If someone tells you it was easy to become wildly successful in a certain profession, (doctor, lawyer, counselor, nurse, banker, actor or teacher) they are lying. 

fortune teller's guide

As your unofficial fortune teller, here is a guide with twelve steps which will help you become a successful drama teacher over time:

1. Attend a college or university with a strong theatre AND education program and enroll for classes in both.  If you desire to teach in a traditional school setting, you’ll need your state teachers license.  Just like many other professions, teachers must study certain pedagogy from basic theory of education classes to student teaching.

The same will be expected of you if you want to receive a theatre degree.  Study as many facets of theatre as you can then you are an easy hire for someone.  If you only focus on technical theatre or performing, you are less likely to be hired in a school or maybe a theatre company.  You want to be versatile.

2. Participate in professional organizations in theatre, drama education and general education.  You need to be versed in the latest trends in all areas.

3. Participate in your school’s productions.  This is such a duh.  Some schools require backstage hours for their performing majors.  My college did, Stephens college, and I am forever grateful to them for this.  I learned heaps.  Some thirty-eight years later, I still use the lessons I learned in my college classes when I teach or direct.

An employer wants to hire someone who is very knowledgeable, not someone who spent all his or her time socializing rather than broadening their horizons.

fortune teller's guide

4. Get involved in a community theatre.  They will welcome you with open arms, because they need volunteers to support their productions– running lights, designing costumes, acting or serving on staff as a stage manager or even a director. Accept the job even if you are not offered a stipend.  Think of the work like interning.

Build your resume with various experiences.

5.  Volunteer your time to a school mentoring students through an after school program or an organization such as Scouts or 4H.  This gives you insight about how best to work with students.  It also helps you become accustomed to their latest social behaviors and slang.  This is invaluable experience.  I can’t stress this enough.

If you can, volunteer for different organizations with a diverse community.  Our classrooms are multicultural.  There is an art to teaching students simultaneously from all walks of life.  If you have never helped a disadvantaged student or an immigrant, you’ll have a  bigger learning curve to overcome.  Their lives are very different from yours and it’s your job to figure out how to support them.

6.  The best teachers are passionate about their subject matter and sincerely interested in bettering the world through teaching young people. So be that!  Please do not become a teacher because you didn’t know what else to do with your degree (or you thought you’d have your summers off-hahahaha!).  There is nothing worse than a bitter teacher. You know the kind who mumble how she wishes she had been a professional actor and are stupidly arrogant? Yeah, we won’t need that kind of person in our classrooms.

Trust me, teaching is difficult enough on its own.  Compounding your classroom challenges with apathy is a crime in my book.

7.  Teaching is rigorous work.  It is very tiring and all consuming.  Unless you’ve had previous experience teaching twenty bursts of energy and emotion all at once, you’ll never understand it. You gotta get in there and try it–at least for three years.     Like those professional actors that you can’t tell are acting, good teachers make it seem easy to do.  It. is. not.

fortune teller's guide

8.  Once employed, although you may think your career has finally begun your education has not ended.  Now, you’ll learn about the inner workings of your school, bureaucracy, policies, regulations, etc.  You’ll  practice becoming more organized, keep yourself healthy,  juggle your professional and personal time, become a shoulder for others to cry on, learn to listen to your superiors and to a student who has lamented continuously for several months to you about their life.  That’s okay.  It’s part of the deal.

9.  You want to be good at teaching?  Buy clothes in your school colors.  Wear them. Buy the school spirit wear.  If your cast buys cast tee shirts, you do so, too.

10.  Attend other school sponsored activities–football games, fundraisers, band concerts and TGIF’s for staff.

11.  Help other teachers and staff members.  Take their lunch shift if you observe a teacher who needs a break.  Take out your own trash for your janitor once in a while and THANK THEM for their work to keep your room tidy.  Get to know your school head secretary.  They can make or break you.  Trust me, if there is anyone who knows the school’s scuttle butt, it’s the head secretary.

12.  Finally, be the teacher you wanted when you were a student.  I liked my teachers who were organized, funny, clever, innovative, challenging, held high expectations and sincere.  Guess what?  I’ve become that teacher, too.

If you look at your life as a journey, you’ll appreciate and accept that any journey takes a long time to prepare, depart, travel and arrive at your destination. Teaching is much the same way.

fortune teller's guide

I promise you, it can be a wonderful journey.

Bon voyage!

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website DeborahBaldwin.net

Following me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DeborahHBaldwin

on Facebook at BumblingBea

 

 

This is Why Public Education is Important

I can give you tons of reasons why public education is important and the reasons to provide it.

There is only one defense of it which truly matters. Read on.

crayons

My father was a physician.  By the age of twenty-one, I had traveled all over the world (Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Soviet Union and Japan.) Consequently, my world view was completely different from my peers.  Just think what a child born into lower economics would gain from such experiences?

I attended a private womens college.  You want to talk about a microcosm?  Your life becomes the world around you, right?  Honestly, it is easy to forget other people are suffering when your roommate’s only challenge is to get the best tan she can before she travels to the coast for spring break.  That was her reality, not mine.

Mine wasn’t as superficial, but I was plenty privileged.  Somehow, I knew so and this awareness serves me well. My father was raised on a farm when he was a child and my mother’s parents were missionaries in Japan.  Plus, they lived through the Great Depression and my father served in WWII.

There were times my parents were very poor.  Consequently, their childhood’s formed them which in turn shaped mine.  I knew I was fortunate. I was expected to help others, share my bounty and support those who were hurting. I have never forgotten this.

About thirteen years ago, I noticed the ELL students at my middle school weren’t fraternizing with the American students.  This bothered me.  I knew both groups could gain much from each other.  So, I developed an ELL Drama Club primarily to give the ELL students an opportunity to be seen in the school. They performed on the multicultural assembly.  They were so excited and loved every minute of it! It was a tremendous experience for us and one I will never forget, either.

esl-drama-club-pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, experiencing both public and private schools allows me a viewpoint some privileged folks never have.

I have a good grasp on the importance of public education and the reasons to retain it as our best option for educating our students.

I have taught:

  • at  private and public schools
  • the wealthiest students in a private, very prestigious preparatory program
  • the poorest students in a summer program with city funding
  • home schooled students
  • students in an arts magnet school
  • general drama education class to five hundred sixth graders, seventy-five at a time (for twelve years, I taught 400 sixth graders each year, yikes!)
  • created curriculum for individual courses in Drama from creative dramatics to film making
  • and a mixed bag of other teaching experiences too numerous to mention here.

There is one important reason that public education is vital to our country.

Simply put:

Public education gives everyone an equal opportunity to become educated and to reach their potential. All children and adults have the right to an education if they so choose.  No matter a person’s age or social status, everyone should be allowed to learn to read and write.

We are a varied society, rich in cultures from around the world. This is one of our greatest strengths, don’t you think? Living in a micrcosm of any sort divides us.  This is less likely to occur in a public school setting.

Public school levels the playing field.  There are many students who were born into extreme poverty and neglect only to become some of our most decorated heroes and role models.  In public schools, they can learn alongside students of privileged backgrounds. Generally, privilege gives one choices not easily provided for students with lesser opportunities. Public school gives opportunity to everyone of every economic background.

It is that simple. This is why public education is important and the reasons to provide it.

crayons

 

 

 

 

 

You can argue until the cows come home about the reasons against public school education, but more than anything it merely comes down to this:

Public education embodies equal rights and provides an equal education and opportunities for everyone. Period.

What are you experiences in learning in a public school?  How about a private school?  Are they different from mine? I’ve love to hear from you.

If you’d like to see my teaching resume, go to: https://dramamommaspeaks.com/resume/ 

Two actors in The Fanstaicks

How Theatre Saved My Life

dramamommaspeaks.com

This is how theatre saved my life.

My imagination (and later, theatre specifically) saved my life. When I was a child, my mother was quite ill and consequently to show respect to her, I controlled my emotions. so I didn’t want compound her stress.

I was the youngest in my family. With ten years between me and my next closest sibling, I rarely had anyone to play with or talk to. I depended upon my imagination to comfort me and take me away from loneliness I felt but wouldn’t admit to anyone. I learned how to slap on a smile and pretend everything was good with me.  I was quite a little actress.

When I saw movies, I would act them out and sing very dramatically while sequestering myself upstairs on the east porch of our house. It had no heat and I remember freezing to death for my “art”.

I was born and raised in Kansas in a small town.  Our only claim to fame is we had two colleges, one university which was a teacher’s college and another one a religious affiliated.  Oh, an an enormous beef packing plant which made our town smell…..unusual. Ugh!

I thought I was crazy, though. I never told my friends about my make believe playing and when I would visit their houses, they never played make believe. So I decided I wasn’t like everyone else. I played make believe until I was twelve.

My father was a physician and my mother was raised in Japan when she was a child. Consequently, her wander lust was difficult to satiate and we traveled to many countries when I was quite young.

If it wasn’t hard enough being the youngest, my world view was very different from my fellow classmates. Just another thing to make me an oddity, at least in my mind.

My mother wasn’t at all supportive of my interest in theatre. She intimated I could end up like Elizabeth Taylor, “She’s been married seven times. Look at her…”Something was mentioned about me ending up on a “casting couch.” I didn’t know what that was, but by my mother’s attitude I knew it must be bad.

Trying to be the good daughter,  I left behind my imagination and became a cheerleader in junior high school. It makes sense if you think about it. That worked for two years and I loved the performing aspect of it.  I was a rotten jumper.  No one taught me how to do a round off or cartwheel, so I taught myself.  But I could yell loudly and lead the crowd in cheers.  At least I could do that!

When I was in high school, I found exactly what I was seeking –the stage! I was cast in my first play as Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit”.  Since I had no previous acting experience, but lots experience playing the piano, I notated my script as if I was playing the piano. I used fermatas for pauses and crescendo and decrescendo signs when I wanted to speak louder or softer.

To this day, I grow nostalgic whenever I step backstage. The scent of sawdust, newly painted flats and the warmth of the stage lights are a magical elixir to me. I brush the back of my hand across a velvet grand curtain and immediately I feel I’m home.

This is how theatre saved my life
In college, I experienced an epiphany. It was the early 1970’s, and society impressed upon me to hide my negative feelings or only express those feelings most accepted by others. I realized by sharing myself hiding behind a character, I could express  all my feelings and thoughts. I felt accepted universally.

That’s a heady experience which made me come back for more. Nearly forty years later, I’m happily stuck here.

this is how theatre saved my life

I became a director for a community theatre production of The Miracle Worker because there was no one else willing to do the job. Ha! I have a leader type personality and directing fit into my life. I was quite young to take on such a challenging production but I took to it right away. I saw the potential of affecting people through stories that I created in my own manner.

Now, I adore making a statement through words and actions.

As of this writing, I have directed over 250 plays and musicals with adults and children alike.  I chose to direct and act at the community level for most of my career.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy professional theatre.  On the contrary. I’ve appreciated the professional positions in which I have been employed.

It’s just not where my life’s journey has taken me.  I’m always open to work in whatever venue needs me.

I’ve portrayed many beloved roles–Maria in “The Sound of Music”, Marion Paroo in “Music Man”,  Dot in “Cricket on the Hearth”, Penny in “You Can’t Take it With You” and many others. Above all, more than any particular role or any special production, I have learned about myself.

Theatre saved my life.  It has given me great joy, creative challenges and great friendships (I even met my husband while acting in a show).

I don’t know where I would be without it.  image

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net.

I’d love to hear from you!

A Favorite Poem of Mine

Sometimes I write poetry.  This is a favorite poem of mine. This particular poem was created for a class while studying for my masters in arts integration.

favorite poem of mine

 

 

 

             Little Cedar Berry Farm

 

Two sweethearts

when freckled, picked berries from a bush

two of them, stationed on paralleled rows

between the full hedges, soft sweet and lush.

Black pups swooned near their necks and birds did crow.

Two sweet children each with a waffled tray

Practiced their skills, dyed their digits to red,

blew back their bangs and dredged aprons of lead.

Around the farm yard bench, the mother bays;

and to all the warm dusk, flirts fearless to be fed

moans for our tawny hands and sweaty heads.

Twelve full quarts they picked.  Some berries they ate

then sifted in green boxes, one by one and jostled the rosy nipples of fruit.

Beyond the tall grasses, though nearer the sun

I sat and watched them, yearning to be young.

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This is a photo of me when I was a young mother with our two darling daughters. Now I’m a grandma to the daughter of mine on the right in the photo.  The baby on the left is now fully grown and having her first child in the fall.  My, how time flies by….

Do you have a favorite poem of yours which you have penned?  I’d love for you to share it with me.

Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

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Full Circle Moments

What No One Tells You About Full Circle Moments–Part One

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I am excited!  This weekend I’m going to enjoy a full circle moment. I should call it a full circle moments, because I’ have experienced several in my life. 

Have you ever experienced one?  You know, a “pay it forward” kind  of thing? They’re deeply fulfilling.

As a teacher and director, I’ve had many.  It seems to go with the territory. I would imagine everyone experiences full circle moments several times in their lifetime. If they are happy ones, we are joyful. If they are sad, I’m not certain we recognize them as full circle moments, but some sort of lesson we still need to learn.

Has anyone advised you how to handle them? Me neither.

No one tells you the brevity of them– they are magical and surprising.

Full circle moments, in general, are random.

An example:  My Ukrainian pen pal ended up on a  train  in Romania with a professor from my small midwestern hometown who knew my family.  That’s one chance in at least a million chances of occurring.

Another:  My daughter grows up to perform in a show with one of her babysitters who grew up and became an actress at my encouraging. They perform together in a different city one hundred miles away. Ten years later.

You have to admit full circle moments make you take a pause. Sometimes they are baffling. You are afraid to share them with anyone for fear they’ll think you are crazy–you are fantasizing and dillusional.

We can’t prophesy when full circle moments will occur or even if we’ll have one. That’s what makes them special.

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This particular full circle moment began very innocently.

Forty years ago next month, in 1977 I  student taught drama at West Junior High School in Columbia, MO. Some of the students were the best students I’ve taught, even if I was still in the learning phase of my career.  I am still friends with many of them today.

A young man, Randall Kenneth Jones, is a student of mine during that semester.  He is smart, witty and clever.

In 1978, we work together in an outdoor community theater.  Randy performs Dauntless in Once Upon a Mattress while I serve as the stage properties mistress.  We perform as brother and sister in 110 in the Shade.  He is in the chorus while I portray Mrs. Bumble in Oliver!

Two years later, my former husband and I create a community theater– Columbia Entertainment Company.  Randy performs in several of the shows–Two by Two and Damn Yankees.  I perform with him in Damn Yankees.

Get this: My cooperating teacher when I student taught, Jackie Petit White, performs in the production as well!

Randy attends the University of Missouri-Columbia in journalism.  Afgter graduating, he moves to Washington, DC. He works in marketing, advertising and public relations with a focus on creative development. He develops a terrific resume which includes PR and marketing for Walgreens, JCPenney, The Washingon Post and more.

I stay in Missouri, divorce, remarry, have children, preside over CEC for several years, run a theatre school, teach drama to middle schoolers and create several youth theater programs.  I direct several hundreds plays and musicals with adults and children alike. My resume is different from Randy’s, but equally successful.

In essence, we are equally busy.

Bumbling Bea

Time passes….

Thirty-nine years later in 2016, we meet again. I read on Facebook Randy has authored a really cool book, Show Me.  Show Me is filled with over one hundred interviews Randy collected with very successful people–Pat Benatar, Barbara Cochran, Jent Evanovich, Tyler Mathiesen, Suze Orman, just to name a few.

He’s about to release Show Me.  I write him, congratulating him.  We rekindle our friendship.  We promise to do a better job of keeping up with each other.

It’s fun to know again this great student, now a grown man. He’s just as witty, clever and smart.

Now the full circle moment–

Two months go by and Randy contacts me.  He’s traveling to  Columbia to do a fundraiser for CEC which was built twenty-nine years ago. (Isn’t that crazy?) For the fundraiser,  he’ll be performing a stand up routine, selling and autographing his book, too.

His routine includes memories of the teachers who inspired him, one of which was my cooperating teacher, Jackie Petit White.   He wants to speak about me as well, because I was very instrumental in keeping the community theatre afloat for years.

Would I be interested in participating as well?

Heck, yes!

I’m not taking center stage.  This event isn’t about me, but I will benefit from it.  I’ll be signing and selling Bumbling Bea (2.0) books before and after the show.

A portion of the proceeds go to Columbia Entertainment Company.  Tickets may be reserved in advance at cectheatre.org

In some respects, full circle moments are snippets of time in our lives. 

They prove, “I am here on earth.  I matter.  I helped someone to find themselves.”  My inner self and actual self meet in congruence. Wow!

We have amazing lives whether we notice them occurring or not. Could I have foreseen this upcoming moment? Never.

What full circle moments have you experienced?

Read part two of this full circle moment here: https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/28/what-no-one-tells-you-about-full-circle-moments-part-two/

Randy and I would love to see you and say hello.  You’ll find our books on Amazon.com

See you soon!

full circle moments

I’d love to hear about your full circle moments.  Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

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Civilizations remembered by Arts

Arts Quote We Love #4–Civilizations Remembered for Their Arts

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Civilizations are remembered for their arts.

I am teaching a theatre appreciation class at a junior college this semester.

This is a first for me.

You’d think by now I would have taught this class before, but I haven’t which makes it fun and challenging.

As we study each time period of theatre, it is interesting how much isn’t focused on the politicians, but the arts of the time period instead.

Oh, I know that’s what this class is to focus upon, but really, who remembers who was King when Shakespeare wrote his plays?

It’s Shakespeare who counts.  I”m certain there are many important things which occurred during his lifetime, but he was an integral part of the history of the world and that’s what we recall. HIs plays have transcended the generations since then.

Eli Broad is a philanthropic billionaire.  He made his wealth through construction and insurance.  It’s what he did after making his fortune which matters.

He built an art museum in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, can you imagine?

From the New York Times:

“Mr. Broad also spearheaded the effort to build the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Frank Gehry-designed building that has become an anchor of downtown. His decision to locate the Broad museum just up the street from the concert hall — bypassing Santa Monica and Beverly Hills — has also been seen as crucial to downtown’s emergence.

The decision to build a museum to house the Broads’ sweeping personal collection of contemporary and postwar art — 2,000 pieces, including works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and others — came in a city where, until recently, many fine works of art had been hidden away in private mansions.”

This man gets it.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a city with too much arts?  Is that even possible?

I don’t think so.

We’ve lived in an arts community for thirty years (Columbia, Missouri) and let me tell you–there is a difference. People there were creating new arts all the time and the community supported everything.

Here we were in a town of 125,000 and we had a professional modern ballet company.  I believe that’s extraordinary.

Now if every community could just have an Eli Broad….

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Greek statue with headphones

How Enriched is Life Without Music?

This is four part series of posts.  Check out the others:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/07/31/how-fulfilling-is-life-without-theatre/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/13/how-exciting-is-life-without-art/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/15/meaningful-life-without-dance/

 

Life without Music

Is our life more enriched with music?  I think so. I need it with me all the time.  I have tinnitus and music helps to drown out the ringing in my ears as well as distract me from noticing the ringing.

For me, music is like frosting on a cake.  The cake (life) is good without it, but the frosting (music) makes it all the better.

Studies discovered our brains flourish when we listen to, play or sing music.

From an early age, children respond to music.

I know this is true.  The Phantom of the Opera was all the rage when our oldest daughter was a small child.  Of course, we listened to the songs day and night.  That’s just what we do.  She heard Christine’s aria so often, in time she could imitate the style and sing the range (even the very high notes) with precision and fluidity.  She was four years old. With no prodding from us, our daughter sung on her own.

Glorious…. Yes, her father is naturally musical.  My husband is an instrumental music teacher.  I am naturally gifted in music as well.   I have performed in musicals, playing the lead female roles (South Pacific, Sound of Music, The Music Man, etc.) and sung in choir.  Whenever we have a family dinner, it is not uncommon for us to sing grace in four part harmony.

Her sister is a natural, too. She  picked up a habit of mine, but I’d never realized.  She whistle when she is unable to sing because she’s in a setting where it would be inappropriate to sing.  Gotta get those notes out somehow….

Humans aren’t the only ones to enjoy music.  Have you seen the video of the cows who come to the barn when the farmer plays his trombone?

Or the geese following a bell singer…

What about the elderly?  Our Alzheimer’s patients?  Look at this wonderful gentleman as he comes alive by listening to music:

Putting this post together, I did a little research about the psychological effects of music to a human.

From the United States Library of Medicine website (USLM) I found an interesting paper concerning the psychological assets of listening to music.

 “The Psychological Functions of Music Listening” states, “Another line of theorizing refers to music as a means of social and emotional communication. “

‘….in social creatures like ourselves, whose ancestors lived in arboreal environments where sound was one of the most effective ways to coordinate cohesive group activities, reinforce social bonds, resolve animosities, and to establish stable hierarchies of submission and dominance, there could have been a premium on being able to communicate shades of emotional meaning by the melodic character (prosody) of emitted sounds.’ Panksepp and Bernztsky

Gosh, I never thought of that!  Of course. Most cultures have their own form of music, passed down through generations. I think of the Indigenous people, the Mexicans and European countries whose celebrations are full of music.

Listening to music does much for us–give us energy, calms us down, expresses emotions, and moods and a host of other benefits. Ever seen a movie with no music soundtrack?  Although meaningful, it sets my nerves on edge fairly quickly.

Of course, there is something to said for a quiet atmosphere,  but I can’t handle it much more than an hour.

Life without Music

Could you live your life without music?  Try it for a day and you’ll see what I mean.  I”d love to hear how your Music Free day goes. No cheating!

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com, or check our my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

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