John’s Volunteer Blog 2017 Chapter 2 – All in the Family

Original Release Date: Nov 23, 2017

This is the season of generosity and appreciation. Here at the Theatre we have so much to be grateful for.  We are in a community that loves the arts. We have outstanding support from our patrons. And we have hundreds of volunteers who help us in different ways every day.

There are roughly 350-400 volunteers in a season who give countless hours joining us to make art happen live on stage. They come from all walks of life and all different backgrounds. I feel honored to work beside them. In some cases we have entire families volunteering. That’s something that’s been going on since the Hickory Community Theatre got started. It’s so fun to see parents pitching in when their child is in a show, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Today I’m going to share a story about one of these families.

Hollis and her husband Fred moved here from Miami about 15 years ago. They met in grad school there. Fred is from Hickory and this is where they decided to make their home. Like me, she was pleasantly surprised to find a thriving arts scene in a city of this size. They started a family and then once their children, Hayden and Kathryn were both in school Hollis stepped onto our stage, as Ms. Teevee in Willy Wonka, Jr. After seeing their mom on stage both kids wanted to try it too. So that summer, when Kathryn’s dance instructor, Sonya Briggs, was directing The Fish Princess, a RugBug show, the children came to audition. Both were cast and Kathryn got the title role. Hollis credits the RugBug Theatre with helping both kids to blossom.

“Performing on this stage, she said, “has motivated my daughter to pursue the arts for her future, and my son discovered he could be more than be a spectator and conquer his fears about public speaking. He is on the autistic spectrum. He recently placed second in a speech contest which never would have happened before the theatre. Directors saw a spark underneath his withdrawn facade and with patience and diligence my son broke out of his shell right into a lead role in The Wind in the Willows.”

“I have been able to act with both my children on this stage, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was the White Witch of Narnia, my daughter was the dwarf, and my son was my pet wolf. This experience to act on stage with my children was a once in a lifetime gift that I will cherish forever. My children flourish in this theater as they cultivate relationships with their peers, adult actors, directors and stage managers. They have attained social skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Their whole family is in on the adventure, because Fred is here for every show helping out as an usher, with concessions or putting up the set.

Being a part of these kinds of experiences is such a great joy and one of the reasons I love my job. They carry me through the tougher days, when I’m worrying about getting a sponsor for a show, or closing the $5,000 deficit carried over from last fiscal year. I love watching the children grow up. There are some who were teens when I arrived here who now have kids of their own that they bring to the theatre.

These closing words from Hollis are really heartwarming.

“When I can’t perform I volunteer just to be involved with this little gem of a theater that has brought my family together in ways I could never have imagined.”

Best wishes to you and yours.

More stories to come. In the meantime, if you’d like to make a dramatic difference please click the link below. You may also send a check to HCT, 30 3rd St NW, Hickory, NC 28601. To donate by phone please call 828-327-3855.

Yours truly
John Rambo


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