Spotlighting What Matters Most to You™

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Though I’ve been in theater since I was 10 years old, it never ceases to amaze me how much blood, sweat and tears go into an event that is over in the blink of an eye.  In the case of planning An Acoustic ’80s Dance Party, Community Stages’ expended plenty of energy, but no blood, sweat or tears (as if!).  Still the night came and went in a dizzying blur.

We entered the basement of Advent around 4PM and soon were joined by a handful of Community Stages’ supporters who blew up balloons, hung ’80s poster, filled snack dishes and helped with the transformation.

Soon, Acoustic ’80s arrived on the scene!  After the sound check, the guests began to trickle in.  It was an intimate evening.   You’re right if you guessed that that was my nice way of saying that not a lot of people came.  But that was okay, because the intimacy was actually really great.

All in all, about 20 people attended; people I knew from church,  my neighborhood, performing and teaching – friends and colleagues.  Plus there were a few people I’ve never met before.  That was super exciting!  Some really took to the ’80s theme!

Mike Burke and Jason Hare, Acoustic ’80s, were completely awesome.  Their music was fantastic and they are both charming and funny, great all around entertainers. They won over new fans that evening.

In theory, I would have loved for there to have been a line around the block.  But I recognize that this was exactly what it was meant to be.  As I stood back and watched these very different people, strangers before that night, talking, laughing, dancing, eating and singing together, like they were old friends- I felt pride for what was accomplished.

I thought I was having a profound thought, till I remembered Jason Hare’s quote he sent me when putting together the CS’ artist web page:

“We’ve often seen complete strangers sing along and dance with each other while listening to our silly music, which proves that art can not only strengthen communities, but create new ones on the spot.”

Community building is what CS is truly about.  We are also dedicated to entertaining and educating.  We accomplished our mission with our dance party.  Twenty people are new advocates for those battling bone marrow failure disorders.  Two attendees have approached me with interest in becoming CS artists.  Another will be working with us, behind the scenes, on future events.  I’ve received  lovely messages about how moved others were and how motivated they are to help.  The fact that we raised $500 for The Aplastic Anemia & MDS Foundation is truly an added bonus.

I was nervous to take the microphone and talk about CS’ Community Spotlight, The Aplastic Anemia & MDS Foundation.  I haven’t had a lot of practice…this being the first official event and all!  But the small supportive crowd made it much easier.  I found it difficult to switch gears and talk personally about AJ Garreffi and his family.  I had to take a moment to refocus and was grateful for the positive energy I felt the audience sending me.  It was a powerful thing, for me to be embraced by that new community in that moment.

Raising awareness for diseases that are typically not on people’s radar may prove to be challenging.  When I sent out my first set of invitations to this benefit for The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation, I received an email back suggesting that Community Stages’ spotlight cancer because people would care more.  Funny, now…disheartening then.  This person missed the point.  After Friday night, I am more certain that CS is doing exactly what it’s meant to be doing.

Thank you – to all of you who made it out, to those who sent along donations – to those who contributed behind the scenes and donated extra special gifts (like our fabulous rubix cube cake).  Your support is so very appreciated.  AND, thanks in advance to the friends Community Stages has yet to make.  This is going to be a great year for Community Stages and the Aplastic Anemia & MDS Foundation, because of you!

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