Looking back and looking forward

As the year draws to a close and we begin to look at 2021, I have been reflecting on our theater program and how this year certainly looked different than we anticipated a year ago. Who would have guessed that we would perform our spring show, Proposals, on the back deck of my house? That we would have to cancel our middle school musical, Dear Edwina, Jr., with only a few rehearsals to go? That our summer alumni show, The Music Man, would become the summer musical of 2021, rather than 2020? That our fall show and one act would BOTH be radio shows, and be our first shows performed with masks? And that our Toybox musical, specifically selected to play to our youngest audiences, would instead be performed only to the parents of the cast members?

It is easy to seek and find the downside and drawbacks in each of these scenarios. None of this has been ideal in any way, shape or form. Every show has taken much more hard work than ever by a large variety of people, both adults and students, to pull off each of these productions. Frustrations have been great, tears have been shed, blood pressure has gone up. Has it been worth it? Wholeheartedly I say “YES!”

Of course hindsight is 20/20, (especially when looking at 2020!) but in reflecting, God’s guiding hand has been with us all the way. Loss has been tremendous in so many ways this year, but in looking just at the tiny “theater piece” of the puzzle, so many blessings have become evident to me.

Students have learned many life skills that will serve them well as they become adults. We have had to adapt, become flexible, think outside the box, grow and learn. I have seen students rise to the occasion more times than I can count. With constant quarantines, students have had to adjust, many taking on leadership roles, using skills they did not even realize they had. They learned even more what it means to work hard and come up with new ways to solve problems. They have learned how to be proactive and come up with solutions before the problem is even fully evident. Above all, they have been afforded even more opportunities to treat their fellow man in a way that would be pleasing to God. And guess what? We adults learned right along with them. We even learned how to live stream a show, with more than 180 households watching our show, How I Became A Pirate!

We are just stepping into our musical, and first show of 2021, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I do not know what lies around the corner, but I do know who is waiting there, ready to hold our hands and guide us through this journey! I am blessed beyond belief to serve at a school like Concordia Lutheran High School where I can daily provide and ask for forgiveness and grace and openly share my faith with others. I am “living the dream,” surrounded by students, colleagues and families whom I love and for whom I am so very thankful!

To God be ALL the glory!

Chris Murphy,
Theatre Director and Teacher