In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I recently received a "promotion" that was both humbling and frightening. At the last meeting of the board of directors for First Stage Theatre Company
(the local children's theatre, natch), the board, in a moment of sheer insanity, decided to vote me in as President of the Board.
It should come as no surprise that I wasn't actually at the meeting, which makes it a lot tougher to duck these volunteer assignments. But since I spent the last two years as the group's Vice-President, I guess I shouldn't be so shocked.
Still, it's frightening to find myself at the helm of one of the area's oldest and most respected community theatre groups (with all due modesty). Thankfully, we have a fantastic group of board members to keep things rolling along, so it'll take a real effort on my part to mess things up. Also, the board had the wisdom to name Elaine Young
as the group's Vice-President, and she may very well be the hardest-working - and most dedicated - person I know. Just knowing she's there gives me confidence!
I also have the benefit of following some outstanding past presidents. The most recent, C.E. Wilson
, is a great friend, a terrific leader and an outstanding actor in his own right. He's been guiding the group for the past five years, and he's led us through some of our most successful seasons ever! First Stage is in terrific shape and ready for the years ahead, and C.E. deserves the credit for that.
The President before him was Tom Hastie
, who helped guide First Stage through its first years of existence as a stand-alone organization. Tom was always ready with good advice, was ready to work and always focused on what was best for the kids.
Before Tom was Jerry Morse
, and it was Jerry who managed the superhuman effort of creating First Stage. The organization spent its first 10 years as MAG-CT (Musical Arts Guild - Children's Theatre)
, a branch of the grown-up Musical Arts Guild
. It was an incredible undertaking to create a new, standing-on-its-own-two-feet community theatre company for young people, and Jerry's the one who made it happen. He also directed several excellent shows and was (and is) fantastic at set design and building.
Before Jerry was Clint McElroy
, who led the group to tackle some of its most challenging shows and built the group's reputation for outstanding productions. He also directed some of First Stage's most successful shows, including Peter Pan, Bye Bye Birdie
, to name just a few. He's also one of the area's best actors (I'll let Clint, C.E., and a few others duke it out for the "Best of" title)!
Before Clint was George Snider
, and if there were any presidents before him, they were before my time. George is one of the original founders who got MAG-CT
up and running and he directed virtually all the group's shows in those early years - a most impressive feat!
So you can see, I have a lot to live up to. My main goal will be to try to stay out of the way of all the talented people we have on the board, and the wonderful parent volunteers who make the shows possible - and most importantly, the young actors who make up the cast and crew of First Stage shows.
What can I say? It's an honor to be part of the team!