Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008 - Part 2 Celebration of Life and Friendship

Cont'd from Part 1 Celebration of Life and Friendship (Read Part 1 first)

.... ok so now we will continue on with the party itself, after the show.

Again... what can I say! Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that I would just be a social butterfly and bounce around from people to people... and it never dawned on me that there would be so many people that there wasn't a chance that I'd get to everyone! As a matter of fact, the party was happening both upstairs in the lounge and downstairs in the lobby and it was after 11:30pm before I ever made it up to the lounge. So I'm sure there were more than half the people that I didn't get to actually talk to, and those that I did, I was lucky if I got to talk to them for 5 seconds. Hahaha... I must have done a lot of talking because the next morning my voice was pretty hoarse.

Again... how does one even begin to describe what it was like to literally spend a whole evening from 6pm onwards with approx. 200 of the people who are a huge part of my life? Then, when I got home, there were voice mail messages and emails waiting from approx. 50 or more people who apologized for not being able to attend due to sickness, work, rehearsals, etc. Unbelievable!!

My friend, Susan, from Issaquah, WA got close to explaining the feeling. This was at the end of the show, after I had been called up to say a few words and ended my babble with something to the effect of... "Let's party!"

About the EVENT of the century - Words can only fail. The actual experience was above and beyond anything I could have imagined. Picture 200 people all singing "You've Got a Friend". Tears were flowing (not just from Cheryl) it was just so moving. I've never felt the real power of love until that moment. Cheryl had just finished her speech (quite the orator, by the way). The performers started singing then the whole audience joined in.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a friend...

I'll write more later, but for now, suffice to say. WOW!

Love and many hugs, Susan

Soooo, in no particular order... here are some pictures that my friend, Bonnie took on my camera (the show pictures that are on the Part 1 entry, were taken by my friend and co-worker, Dan).

Amanda and I have been friends for some time now. We met, gee, in the theatre community... imagine that?? :D

Here I am with Alan Black, one of the most sweetest, gentlest, compassionate, generous men I think I've ever met... and to boot he has the best sense of humour!! Love ya, Alan!!

Wow.. here I am with Keith Fowler... and Keith, you are going to have to help me out here. I'm thinking that we met in the early-mid 70s, but I couldn't tell you when. But we were definitely part of the Metro Theatre Brat Pack :D

I have no idea what had just been said or by whom, but we both obviously found it quite funny. I was in the process of "Shave Dave" and we passed the baskets around and collected $510 for colon cancer Research!

I'm really feeling the love Sunday night!! Here I am getting a wonderful bear hug from Jay Brazeau!! I got the warm fuzzies!!

Wow.. three different friends from three different periods in my life! Kevin Bryan and I have been friends since Junior High School; Bernice White and I met just this year during the summer down at TUTS and clicked; and Phil MacDonald and I have been friends throughout our years working for the Provincial Government. It was just so fabulous to have so many different friends from different parts of my life all mixing and mingling and having a wonderful time!

Again, call it faulty memory but some friends and I just go back so far, I don't remember when we actually met. They've just always been in my life! Pat and Audrey are two of these long term friends!!

Pat Patterson and I knew each other back in the Vancouver Musical Theatre days... when we'd do shows like Hair :) Steve Oben is one of my dearest friends who has also been one of my main caregivers since this journey has begun.

Shel, myself and Naveen... can you feel the love?? Oh wait.. that's my turtle necklace... nebbermind :)

My friend, Susan from Issaquah, WA who was also on the afternoon decorating team. We are taking a wee break here before the friends start arriving :)

Here I am with one of my TUTS Box Office buddies! Val Voth and I met last season and had so much fun in the Box Office, she joined us again this year... and I've already told her she has to be with us again for the 2009 season! :)

This picture makes me laugh!! It seems no matter what the occasion, what the party, what the year... the last people to leave are always the same ones!! LOL!! Steve Oben, Pat Patterson, Jo Leary, Kevin Bryan and Erin Sweeney. Ya, I'm there too... but I'm behind the camera

Oh, but it gets worse!! We are finally kicked out of the theatre... tailgate party anyone?? Hahahaha... the last of the diehards - Pat Patterson, Steve Oben, Kevin Bryan and me behind the camera

And this just gives you a taste of what this night was all about. I'm in love with all my friends... but there wasn't enough time to talk to everyone, let alone get pictures with everyone, and then there were the people who sent apologies that they couldn't be there (which was about another 50 people) and of course, for those of you who are reading this blog but either are not in town or weren't at the party... you know that you are included in my circle of absentee friends :)

After typing up both these blog entries and uploading the pictures, I still haven't been able to come up with the proper words to really describe what this event meant to me. It was pure magic, pure love, and the air was so filled with positive energy and love, that I know I will get through the next leg of this journey with a smile on my face!!!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - Part 1 Celebration of Life and Friendship Party

Dearest Bloggy,

I must put a warning at the beginning of this blog entry -- WARNING: LONG, LONG POST WITH LOTS OF PICTURES! I'm not sure if Bloggy will be able to hold everything in one entry, so I may have to chop this up into two entries. But seriously... anyone reading this entry may want to grab themselves a pot of coffee and sufficient edibles to tide them over through the reading of this entry :)

I have a small problem (grin)... I don't know where to start with this entry, nor do I know the right words to describe it. To say this whole day/evening was absolutely fantastic, is not giving enough credit.. it was beyond fantastic, it was truly magical!

Let me backtrack... on Sunday night (Oct 19th), friends got together to celebrate my life, love and friendship. To say I was blown away, is an understatement! My dear, dear friend, Kevin Michael Cripps was in charge of the "entertainment"... of which he kept secret from me. The only input I was allowed to have was to send him a "wish list" of friends that I would love to invite to sing at this event... but he would not tell me who he invited, who had accepted, who was in town and who wasn't... or what they would be singing.

During the afternoon, a group of gal pals came early to the theatre to decorate the lobby and the lounge upstairs. I had supplied a heap of pictures of friends over the years. Hahaha... try as I might, there was no way I had a picture of everyone that showed up. We had so much fun doing this decorating!

My good friend, Shel Piercy, was the Emcee for the evening's entertainment... and he was delightful, funny and the perfect Emcee for the evening!

Now, this is where I'm not sure what to talk about... the incredible, overwhelming feeling of love as friends kept arriving at the theatre, or the absolute magic of the show and feeling of love from everyone involved. It was a pure fantasy of mine to have some of my dearest friends be up on a stage, singing a tribute to me, to help me along in this battle I've been fighting for 2 years. There are absolutely no words to describe the overwhelming feeling of love.

I'm going to start with the show... and some show pictures of the 20 performers who performed Sunday night. They used the set that was currently on the stage and turned this into a real, comfy, living room experience... as if we, the audience were all sitting around in someone's living room and different friends would sing or entertain.

Tracey and Janet opened the show and were absolutely wonderful as a powerful duo!

The next number was done by two of my young, young friends, Jaime and Natalie and this overwhelming sense of pride came over me to see just how much these two girls have grown into gorgeous young women and are our next generation of musical theatre people.

Natalie Aspinall
Jaime Piercy

Steve Street is an old, old friend of mine and we go back so far that I don't think either of us can really remember when we met. It would have been at Metro Theatre... the theatre where we were lucky to hold this wonderful evening.

I may have a few of these next people and songs out of order, but here goes.

Shawna and Jenn did a duet from one of my favourite musicals, "Wicked". Two best friends singing at this celebration of friendship! Perfect!

Jay Brazeau and Josh Epstein were absolutely hysterical!! I had tears in my eyes just because they were so funny... it was one of those natural kinds of wit that comes when two people just click and have the same sense of humour. They did bring the house down with their number.

The beautiful, young, gorgeous Anna Kuman who was absolutely brilliant in a recent Fringe show called "Musical of Musicals". I swear Anna is destined for stardom!

Alison MacDonald and I met a few years back when she first moved to Vancouver from the Island. There is no doubt in my mind that Alison is going to be a mega-star... how is it that I am so blessed to be friends with such incredibly talented people??

Nancy Herb and John Payne... two friends of mine who we have known each other for years... way back to the late 70s! Love you both dearly!!

My dear, dear friend Kevin Michael Cripps who not only put together this group of friends, but sang himself, accompanied everyone on the keyboards and I love him to pieces!

I LOVE tap dancing.. always have!! That is why I love the old MGM Grand Musicals. Well, dear, sweet Troy did the most phenomenal tap number to the song "Mr. BoJangles"... that blew everyone away... especially me!

Seth, who has the most wonderful singing voice, sang a song that was both beautiful and hilarious... and he did the whole thing with a straight face! :)

My dear friend, Karen Kelm!! Not only is she a wonderfully talented singer, but Karen and I go back to High School days... yep, we went to high school together!!

This was a highlight for me! Shelley Stewart Hunt is a super talented choreographer and it's been a long time since anyone has heard her sing. Well, she sang "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, with backup by both Kevin and her husband, Stefan. Shelley has one of the most marvelous voices!!

Here is my friend, Susan Skemp, who belted out her song which ended in huge applause for the whole cast up on stage.

It was at this point that Shel asked me to come up and say a few words, and to tell you the truth... I didn't have a speech prepared. I had fully intended to go up to remind people that there was a Friendship Book in the lobby for signing and that a little later we I would be shaving my boss's head and two friends would walk around with baskets to collect donations for colon cancer Research... but it seemed that the moment needed more than just two announcements. So I have no idea where it came from, but I did seem to babble out a speech... of which I do not remember what I said. I will get to hear it again since my friend, Brian Campbell, has video taped the whole show.

After I finished my babble, Kevin started playing again and the whole cast moved to the front of the stage where I was and they all sang "You've Got A Friend", and then the audience joined in. I don't know if there are even words to describe what it is like to have 200 people who show they love you by all joining in and singing "You've Got A Friend"... it is a purely stupendous moment.

Ok... this is really long and I haven't even mentioned put up the pictures of various friends, etc.... so I think that is going to have to be in a separate entry :D

.... to be cont'd.