I’m a grandparent to two granddaughters who are the most beautiful, funny, artistic, creative, resourceful and talented kids on the planet.
Before all of you other grandparents out there get your dander up, just hear me out. I made the above statement because, well, it’s 100% true.
Other grandparents reading this may be tempted to say, “No, I’ve got the most beautiful, funny, artistic, creative, resourceful and talented grandkids on the planet.”
My response is, simply, “You’re 100% correct. I believe you. We share the wonderful privilege of each having something incredible in our lives and we’re all grateful for that.”
While silently shouting, with my inner voice, “My granddaughters are the best!”
You’ll see photos in this week’s edition of the Plain Talk and some more images in our electronic albums posted on our web page and on our Facebook page of the Vermillion Community Theatre’s production of “The Sound of Music,” held last Friday through Monday in the Thomas H. Craig Performing Arts Center in Vermillion High School.
The iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was presented by scores of people who are involved with Vermillion Community Theatre. A brief history of the organization printed in the program that audience members received notes that the VCT has ebbed and flowed and at one point even disappeared, but it has managed to dig deep roots in the community.
The Vermillion Community Theatre counts 2002 as its year of rebirth and incorporation in our wonderful city and thus this year marks the 20th year of its existence. It doesn’t mark the 20th straight year of it presenting a community musical, however.
The last time the VCT offered a show was in 2019, when it staged the musical “Mama Mia!” It had big plans to offer “The Sound of Music” in 2020, but COVID-19 changed those plans.
There was no show in 2020. Out of an abundance of caution, to make sure everyone stayed safe, the VCT decided last year was too soon to have people gather in close quarters for hours at a time. It canceled its plans to put on a show in 2021.
Last weekend, live theatre returned to Vermillion. The VCT’s presentation of “The Sound of Music” was spectacular because everyone involved with the local production of the musical is, well, spectacular.
Everyone. The costume designers. The people involved with publicity. The local sponsors who provide the financial help to produce the show. The artists with paint brushes and hammers and nails who build a one-of-a-kind set for the stage. The musicians in the orchestra pit. The incredible talent on stage. The directors who helped actors learn their lines and master the songs and choreography.
I’m just scratching the surface here, I feel, but you get it. It’s worth repeating: The July 8-11 production of “The Sound of Music” was spectacular because Vermillion is spectacular.
It’s also no accident, I believe, that the four presentations of the musical we were treated to will go down in history as perhaps one of the best (okay, some may say THE best) shows in VCT history.
You see, we really, really NEEDED the show to go on.
Look at a map of South Dakota … a good hard look, from east to west and from north to south. Some communities are healthier than others.
The lines and dots and squiggles on that map offer no clues as to which of those dots are the homes to people who are enjoying a better physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
I’m going to bet that people living in (or near) dots that support community theatre are healthier. That’s incredibly vital in these days as COVID has lessened its grip but hasn’t completely left us.
Theatre has always been an influential factor in communities. Yes, as political leaders will say, it’s important to also attract business and industry and build a tax base to have a successful city.
Those factors alone, however, aren’t why places like Vermillion with its VCT or Yankton with its Lewis & Clark Theatre Company or Sioux Falls and its Sioux Empire Theatre Company or Madison and its Dakota Prairie Playhouse bloom, even in these times when we’re trying to shake off a pandemic. It’s not why Freeman’s annual Schmeckfest also includes a musical production.
As you expose people to the arts, creativity flourishes. That’s why having our kids exposed to theatre through the VCT’s “The Understudies,” and through our school district’s theatre department is so important. Academics improve. Means of self-expression are developed.
All of that serves as a catalyst for community engagement, economic development and social enrichment.
I think it’s safe for me to say that Vermillion has the most beautiful, funny, artistic, creative, resourceful and talented community theatre on the planet.
People living in Yankton or Sioux Falls or Madison or any other South Dakota city with a vibrant community theatre may be tempted to say, “No, we’ve got the most beautiful, funny, artistic, creative, resourceful and talented community theatres.”
My response to these people is to simply say, “You’re 100% correct. We share the wonderful privilege of each having something incredible in our lives.”
While silently shouting, with my inner voice, “Vermillion’s is the best!”