2015 was one of the best years of my life. I transferred to Gardner Webb University, and went to Chicago and England. Let me talk about those more in detail:
After since touring Gardner Webb in Junior Year- I knew that I was meant to be at GWU. I knew it was where God wanted me to be, but I had to wait a bit longer to eventually be a student there. After graduating from Fletcher, I ended up being a student at Central Piedmont Community College for two years. I did not want to be at CPCC, but some amazing memories came out of that: Alternative Spring Break, Martin Luther King Day, and seeing Godspell and Les Mis. It actually was at CPCC when I got more involved with theater- I was an usher my final year, and ended up ushering for Les Mis twice.
Transferring to Gardner Webb was a bit scary and exciting. To become a student in Spring Semester can be a bit scary. That makes it a bit harder to make friends and getting used to the university life. I became a member of Campus Civitan (a service club), went to The Gathering every Tuesday night, saw Music Man, Secret Cupid at my dorm and Candy and Critters. In case anyone wondering, Candy and Critters is where you make your own stuffed animals. Beatrice Rose was my first- a magenta bunny, and what makes this event really amazing is that you hand-stuffed them. Little did I know Music Man would be part of the best musical year of my life. You also might be curious about The Gathering: it is a student-led worship service.
Below relates to my 1st semester of GWU. I don’t have a picture when I saw Music Man. But, the picture of all the musicals I saw that year has my Music Man playbill.
Chicago– this was an extended family trip. I saw the Bean, went to the art institute, and of course hanging out with cousins. Obviously, I had some pizza, and had an incredible milkshake at Shake Shack. We did go on a tour boat, and I loved seeing the various architecture. I have been wanting to go to Chicago for a long time: Chicago in so many ways is like a mini NYC.
Pippin– This was a date with the mom that almost didn’t happen. Tickets were bought a week before the show, and there was only one day left with seats together. We ended up in the 5th row of the orchestra. Pippin and Music Man were the most inexperienced musicals I saw in 2015. I feel like in the revival of Pippin, you have to be more than a triple threat. You actually have to be a quadruple threat: after all, Pippin is home to circus and aerobatic tricks. I wanted to see Pippin due to falling in love with “Corner of the Sky”. At intermission, I went ahead and bought the soundtrack. I was really intrigued by the Leading Player, the antagonist and narrater of the musical.
Obviously- there were more GWU experiences in 2015. Starting in Fall, I did events like Pumpkin Painting, making Gingerbread Houses, Pinterest Night, etc… 2015’s Pinterest Night already had an assigned painting- it was of a peacock. The rest of GWU’s Pinterest nights, we could choose what we wanted to paint.
England– there is a LOT to say about that trip. Back in 2013, I wanted to go on the Bristol Pilgrimage due to the castles and Stonehenge. The adult choir at my family church was in residence at Bristol Cathedral- friends and family were allowed to join. We started in London and ended up in Bristol. At the time, I did not even think about seeing a musical in The West End- all because there was no talk about going up early. I found out June of 2015 which musical I would see in London- it turned out to be Les Mis. Mom and I already had one date in 2015 so in total the two of us had two dates to the theater this year. My family left on July 28th, two days early to get used to the time difference and to get more of London. That was why I was able to see Les Mis- just like expected, an emotional wreck.
Outside of Les Mis, I also went to Windsor Castle, St. Paul’s Cathedral for Eucharist under the Dome, Buckingham Palace, Platform 9 and 3/4, Bath, Berkeley Castle, Stonehenge, Old Sarum, Salisbury Cathedral for Evensong, Chepstow Castle, and Tintern Abbey- among the Evensongs and the Eucharist we went to at Bristol Cathedral. One of the fun things about Bristol was looking for Shaun the Sheep. The places we went to were of close distance to Bristol. There is a difference between being a pilgrim and a tourist. A tourist only looks, but a pilgrim looks much deeper to find the sacredness and spirituality found in a place. It was fitting I saw Les Mis- after all Les Mis is about Valjean’s spiritual journey.
Sound of Music– Sound of Music was the final musical I saw in 2015. To end on a childhood favorite is special. It was a girls night out: that consisted of my mom, sister, and I. I did think that Les Mis would be my final musical of the year, but turns out I was wrong. I wasn’t expecting to be in tears at “Edelweiss”, but I was.