I had reached out directly to Lina Ramos at Menaul School. She teaches music and drama at Menaul and I’ve worked with her on two shows with Musical Theatre Southwest. Meanwhile, on my Facebook page, people were recommending Louise Loomis, who is the Upper School Music Teacher at Manzano Day School. Louise and I have never met, but I certainly knew her by reputation and have enjoyed her performances in 70 Girls 70 and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, both of which were Landmark Musicals productions.
Since I was in a time crunch, I was looking for the fastest yes. Lina had to coordinate with another faculty member. Louise said yes almost as soon as I contacted her.
Now she’s rehearsing 31 Manzano students for their night on the Popejoy stage. On Wednesday, Louise commented on how, while we travel in the same circles, we’d actually never met. She mentioned that her daughter, Brynlyn, knows me. Brynlyn and I were in the Musical Theatre Southwest production of Anything Goes together. Louise and I have 53 Facebook friends in common. We each knew who the other was, but had never actually shaken hands. But not knowing one another wasn't an impediment; we both work in the performing arts and know the shorthand.
Before her rehearsals with her students, she and I communicate by e-mail and phone, clarifying the details of her having said yes. It's all working out just fine. The kids are learning “My Little Drum,” “Christmastime Is Here” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (all heard on various Peanuts Christmas TV specials) and “Happiness” (from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown) for the concert.
What struck me most during the very quick search for a choir was that Louise and Lina both were instantly ready to say yes. Their background in the arts led them both to believe that, even given short notice, they could handle the request.
Our society consistently questions the value of arts education and cuts funding for it, but the worlds of business and science are filled with instances of making the impossible possible.
I’m looking forward to seeing Louise’s kids sing next Thursday. I suspect that each of them is learning a bit of "can do" from Louise, which will make their performance that much better. I hope you can see them, too.
Terry S. Davis