Last night's fundraiser event at the Barrow Civic Theatre was a great success. An amazing group of people have worked very hard to keep this wonderful place alive. At this event, they took the opportunity to pay tribute to many of those people while showcasing what the Barrow has to offer - ballet, opera, showtunes, dance...
I'm sure many in the audience, like me, took a bit of a trip down memory lane. I remember going to movies there when it was the Kayton. I remember when it was a sporting goods store. I remember when the Civic Operetta performed at the Franklin High School.
While I have never been significantly involved with the Civic Operetta or the Barrow, I have been positively affected by experiences with them. One of my teachers asked me to volunteer as an usher for shows at the High School. It provided opportunity for me to see the shows. I saw 1776, Little Abner, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof. LOVE IT! If I hadn't been asked to volunteer, I probably would not have gone to the shows. Theatre was outside the realm of my family experience.
I believe those shows influenced me beyond simply opening my eyes to live performance. Each of those shows told stories about different times and different cultures. As I left Venango County and traveled to other cultures, I was more open to experiencing them with an open heart and mind. That is the importance of art and live performance can open hearts and mind in a profound way.
Live performance, whether it's music, dance, or drama, creates a unique energy especially when the performer and the audience truly connect. As we struggle to save and fund the arts, this is the most difficult thing to quantify, yet it's the most important benefit that art provides - an uplifting energy the connects people. Our differences melt away. There's no experience like it and it cannot be recorded or reproduced. It happens uniquely in that time and place.
That is what makes the Barrow Civic Theatre and performance spaces like it, so important. They are uplifting. They connect people in a unique way. They open hearts and minds.