Journey to Hometown, Part 9

I was reading Theresa Wells's blog post about the Wood Buffalo Brewing Co. this morning, and noticed that she used the iceberg metaphor to explain that you are only going to see a small portion of the operation when you drop in for a frothy beverage and some food at the new establishment that officially opened yesterday. The bulk of the operation happens in space unseen, inaccessible unless you've been granted a private tour.

In a way, the Journey to Hometown series is a little like that: a private and very personal perspective on the largest portion of this theatrical iceberg, the piece that lies out-of-sight below the water, in the closed rehearsal halls, supporting, enabling, facilitating the finished product you will enjoy in February.

An important distinction is that this dramalogue is written from my unique perspective.  So, even though you're reading a little bit about what happens as part of the rehearsal/production process, it still only represents a small percentage of what is happening as over 100 souls go through hundreds of hours of practice, line-learning, choreography review, design, construction, music rehearsals and myriad activities that enable the show to come together.

Behind every young person in Hometown - probably 20 to 30 in total - are parents and caregivers who selflessly give of their time to do the shuttling, waiting, and encouraging.  Without their support, these talented young artists would not be able to take this particular journey. They deserve our deepest appreciation and thanks.

Behind every adult - young, old and otherwise - are busy lives, full of work, school and home commitments. A lawyer, mayor, exotic nightclub owner, dental hygienist, visual artist, publisher, broadcasters, teachers, and students are all represented in the ensemble of Hometown...The Musical!, an original co-creation by Michael Beamish and Claude A. Giroux.

My rehearsal day was rather truncated yesterday, encompassing only a few hours at the end of the afternoon giving me a chance to catch up on chores at home and take Ben and a friend to MacDonald Island for some swimming.  I'm still on solo Dad-duty as Heather is in Sedona, Arizona enjoying the final days of a well-earned personal retreat.

We spent two hours reviewing the chorus numbers, with Claude and Susan Lexa (Music Director) making some creative adjustments to the signature piece that will both open and close the show.  Our 'bar boys' - Bear, Billy and Coach - came into the choral ensemble as we were putting it all together and giving it a final go.  Saying that they are thrilled to be a part of this process, would be a gross understatement.  They are over the moon about being members of this ensemble; we are over the moon that they have joined us.  It felt nice to sing for them, and Damn!, we sounded good.

My mind was down in Sedona as Mackenzie Walas and Jennifer Lynch went through their solo and duo parts in "Fix You".  There is a whole lot of emotion wrapped up in this song for me, as it connects to so many things that my wife has been going through.  When I first played it for her, she wept inconsolably and beautifully, like the words unlocked a wellspring of feelings that had been building up for years.  As Mackenzie and Jenn came together for the final harmonized section yesterday afternoon my heart swelled, tears tickling the underside of my eyelids, just as they are now, thinking of Heather thousands of miles down south, focusing on her health and wellness.

In reflection, there is a tender, heartfelt undercurrent to this show, unlike anything I have ever experienced.  This is a deeply personal journey as it connects with our individual understanding and associations with home.  It illuminates and propagates our collective passion for place, this place, our hometown.

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