Friendship is full of value

April 14, 2011|Lisa Prejean

The hauntingly melodic notes of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" have flowed through our living room for many weeks.

At first, Andrew Lloyd Webber's piece was hesitant, but as our 12-year-old pianist practiced over and over again, the increasingly confident sound was something I looked forward to every evening.

I thought it would be nice to take my daughter to see "Phantom" ... someday.

Little did I know that the someday would happen so soon.

My daughter and I were among the estimated 4,600 people who attended the four performances of "Phantom of the Opera" at The Maryland Theatre last weekend.

If you didn't have the opportunity to see one of the performances by students of Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, you missed a wonderful show.

It never ceases to amaze me that high school students can be stretched so far. Once again, Ruth Ridenour worked her magic. The sets were innovative, the costumes stunning and the singing powerful.

I have no connection to the school, but I want to thank the administrators, teachers, students and parents for sharing the gift of theater with our community.

There's probably been a little bit of letdown this week amongst the cast and crew. Exhaustion from putting on such a production, yes, but also a feeling of "Is it really over?"

Actually, "it" has just begun for these kids who have such promise. Just reading their bios in the program book was inspiring. Bravo to each of them for using their talents in such a positive way.

And bravo to them for bringing literature to life and providing us with a vast array of teachable moments.

I think it is important for parents to introduce children to the arts and to use the arts as a springboard for discussion. A story told can be a lesson learned.

Plus, it is amazing what insights parents can gather from a few follow-up questions to a performance such as this.

I asked my daughter, "If you could have played any character, which one would you like to be?"

Without a doubt, I thought she — like most girls her age — would pick the lead role of Christine, if for no other reason Christine gets to sing the "Wishing" song our piano now seems to know by heart.

But that's not who my daughter wanted to be.

"I would want to play Christine's friend because she realized how talented Christine was and encouraged her to use that talent. She was really energetic on stage, too, and I liked that."  

Ah ... the beauty and energy that comes from being a good friend. That's a valuable lesson to take from the stage to life.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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