Those of you who were not in or behind the scenes of the performances of “Les Miserables” these past two weekends, I hope you had the pleasure of viewing this touching combination of drama, music and art. I believe a truly great work of art is great because it has the power of connecting to the viewer, allowing one to recognize something of themselves in the characters, the story, the imagery. Volunteers from our community who produced these performances did just that as they struggled with the themes of injustice, forgiveness, loss and love.
My personal connection to this work of art is a beautiful memory of my youngest son, Bryan, who sang “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” over 10 years ago on this same stage. Being his mother, and therefore prejudiced, I remember being so blown away by the power and sincerity of his performance. It was some of his favorite music and he went on to major in voice at the University of Oregon where he studied until brain cancer cut him short. Part of me did not want to see any part of “Les Miserables” again … but I am glad I did. Even without this memory, it was a powerful experience for every viewer.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the multitude of adults that have shared their passion for drama and music with others, but especially Lissa Jensen for the time and energy she has given to the young people (and older people, too) of this town. People who may otherwise not have had the chance to discover the abilities within themselves that she helped to bring out. Many of my students at the high school have told me about how important these experiences have been for them. Thank you, Lissa.