SingOut2016_PhotoByJeffSprang

Three Things You Learn in Choir

by Colleen Cook

Like many singers, choir has been an important part of my life since I could walk and talk. My earliest choral experiences were at church in a “Cherub Choir” made up of preschoolers for the holiday concert. (Kudos to those of you corralling preschoolers to stand in one area and do anything!) Throughout my education, I was involved in several choirs at church and school, and even ended up working with choirs as music educator at the beginning of my career. A few things are always true about choirs: they bond people together.

For the past six years, the Mansfield Symphony Chorus has partnered with several high school choirs to create a magical concert we’ve called “Sing Out! A Choral Celebration.” This event has a synergy that’s palpable, with so many voices coming together in harmony to fill our theatre with beautiful singing. Young and old, experienced and novice, side by side singing together. It’s nothing short of magical.

The singers in these choirs and the people that lead them know that singing together truly evokes an experience unlike any other. It also teaches you some very important truths about yourself and others. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from singing in choirs:

Every Voice Matters

It is truly remarkable how necessary each voice can be to a choir. The timbre of the chorus is impacted when a new voice comes or someone leaves, but so is the culture of the group. Anyone who has been in an ensemble can attest to certain voices that made the time together in rehearsals and performance special in one way or another. Each person brings something to the table when you sing in chorus.

Listen to the People Around You

It’s easy to tell a novice choral singer from an experienced one: the novice will sing without listening, but the experienced singer has learned to listen to those around them to match tone, vowel shapes, and timbre to create a seamless blend of voices. A beautiful choral sound comes from compromise: adjusting your own individual voice to match those around you, which can only happen if you listen.

Power Comes from Unity

There’s a piece being performed on our upcoming Sing Out! concert called “The Awakening,” by Joseph Martin. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and if you’ve heard it you’ll probably agree. There’s this really incredible moment when the chorus goes from singing multiple lines and parts to a powerful unison, singing “Awake, awake my soul and sing!” When performed well, you can’t help but have goosebumps from the intensity and the heart behind it. Voices in unison speaking the same message has power unlike much else.

Learn more about the Sing Out concert here.

Curtain Up and Show Thyme at the Renaissance

Cheers! Two New Renaissance-Exclusive Cocktails

This summer, we were able to implement some improvements to the theatre-going experience that we’re really excited about thanks to funding from the Richland County Foundation. We’ve redesigned our lobby bar and added the position of Front of House Manager back to our administrative staff, hiring Ryan Shealy who has brought a wealth of great ideas to our organization.

One of the first things Ryan has done in his new role has been to partner with Martini’s on Main to create some signature cocktails for our theatre. Some of these cocktails are themed to specific events, and others will be available at all of our events. The first will be available at every show and is called “Curtain Up,” named because it shares a color with our iconic velvet curtain. Here’s how you can make “Curtain Up” at home:

“Curtain Up”
Based on a classic Italian Negroni.
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Top it off with a splash of club soda to lighten the flavors.

The next cocktail is exclusive to our OhioHealth Symphony Series (for the “thyme” being):

“Show-Thyme”
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Thyme-infused simple syrup
Top with tonic and a fresh slice of cucumber.

Stop by the bar in our lobby to check out some of these new signature beverages and get a 90th Anniversary cocktail glass, available while supplies last during our 90th Anniversary year.

Community Collaboration

Creative Collaboration

by Colleen Cook

One of my favorite elements of working with the Renaissance has been the amount of people, organizations, and businesses I’ve been connected with as a result of this work. I’ve heard people in Mansfield say that collaboration doesn’t work here, and I admit that sometimes people don’t play well together, but more often than not I’ve been able to witness Mansfield at its very best when creative collaboration is allowed to happen. Each person, each organization, brings its best to the table and the results are exponentially more than if the collaboration hadn’t existed.

A few examples of these creative collaborations come to mind right away. In 2015, the Renaissance partnered with Little Buckeye Children’s Museum to address a problem at the museum that I had witnessed first-hand with my children.  The stage exhibit at the museum had a hard, wooden painted panel functioning as a curtain. More than a few parents slammed their heads against it as they exited the stage, and the exhibit was underutilized because it was missing some of the critical elements that make a theatre so magical.

Our staff and board got involved and within a few months, we built a new theatre exhibit, “The Little Ren” with a functional curtain, a video monitor, a tech booth, actual theatre seating, a box office window, and a concessions window. Opening this space for our young families gave us a place in the community outside of our own building to foster relationships early on with our region’s youngest arts lovers, and a chance to showcase the many careers in the arts available to our area youth. Today, it remains one of the most popular exhibits in the museum!

Another creative collaboration has been with Richland Source, our area’s online news organization. One of the core values of Richland Source is to proportionally cover the great things happening in Richland County alongside the negative stories, and their unique business model affords them that opportunity. Their team, in particular reporter Brittany Schock, has regularly brainstormed with us ways to think outside the box and partner creatively on projects that benefit the community through playing on the strengths of our two organizations.

This partnership has included creative journalistic pieces like live interviews broadcast on Facebook, a documentary following a young performer from auditions through to performance, and most recently the creation of a new journalistic tool, the Listening Post. A listening post is a microphone stand attached to a digital recorder partnered with a question for individuals to answer without the intimidation that might go along with a news interview.

Richland Source approached the Renaissance to help build this post, since the Renaissance’s brilliant tech team regularly solves carpentry and audio challenges such as this in show production, they were able to create a sleek and functional design in time to launch it at the Community Baby Shower hosted by Richland Source on September 9th. On its inaugural use, the Listening Post received 110 interviews from expectant and experienced moms.

(Warning: If you’re anything like me, this will probably make you cry.)

Here at the Renaissance, we’re particularly excited to place the Listening Post in our lobby for certain events to give our audience voice in a different way than we ever have before, and we’re equally excited to see how it will be used throughout the community by Richland Source and other area businesses.

We could talk about other creative collaborations endlessly, because we’re better when we’re working together. For now, though, stay tuned for some other exciting collaborations coming soon.

 

Maddie Beer Sister Act - Photo by Jeff Sprang

Pro-Tips for Auditioning for Theatre

by Colleen Cook

At the Renaissance, we frequently have auditions running for upcoming productions. The audition is a critical moment for any performer, because it’s your chance to show your best self and potentially secure the part of your dreams. For our casting teams, auditions are challenging because so many talented individuals show up and perform well, and many factors (age, look, personality, etc.) all go into the final casting decision.

If you’re curious what auditions are upcoming, we keep all of our audition information current on our website, and we also post our cast lists there as well; we also try to keep our social media audience informed on our Facebook page. Each type of production has a slightly different process for auditioning: some register for specific time slots and specify what they’d like to hear and see, others offer an open process where there is more flexibility. When in doubt, follow directions and be flexible in the moment!

Our artistic team has offered up some pro-tips for having a better audition. Here are our top tips, and a few things to avoid:

Tips:

“Be prepared, flexible, respectful, focused and friendly. The auditors take notice of you the second you walk into the room, so be self-assured but not arrogant. Roll with the punches and do what is ask of you to the best of your ability without apologizing or making excuses. Producers and casting agents know that big egos cause big problems. Act like a professional, don’t tell them you’re a professional.” – Michael Thomas

 

“Be pleasant throughout the audition process. We watch you, and try to engage with you, from the moment we first meet you. If we sense a challenging attitude, it may not matter how well you audition. As directors, we need to know that you are willing to work WITH us; and that we can successfully communicate with you.” – Dauphne Maloney

 

“When approaching an audition, and while in the audition process, fully commit to everything you’re asked to do!  If you’re asked to read for a role that doesn’t interest you, do it anyway. Still apply yourself; use your training, skills, and experience to show us the best of what you’ve got (don’t try to “throw,” or sway an audition by downplaying your ability to audition well in ANY role.)” – Dauphne Maloney

 

“If it’s a musical audition, have several varying selections prepared. The auditors may not like your choice and may want to hear something different. Have your music clearly marked and in a three ring binder. No accordion/taped-together mess that flows over both ends of the piano. No loose sheets. If your music is a Xerox copy, make sure the music is printed on both sides, so there are less page turns. Clearly mark where you’re beginning and ending, taking liberties with tempo, pauses, ritards, etc. If there is a coda or you’re going back to a certain part of the music, print that sheet out again so your accompanist doesn’t have to flip through the pages to find the right spot.” – Michael Thomas

 

“Don’t audition unless you’re willing to accept any role.” – Lori Turner

 

“Come in the room and make us believe that whatever you do is what you meant to do.” – Kelly Knowlton

 

“Be familiar with the show and the composer, and select audition material that is aligned with that show/role/composer’s style.” – Lori Turner

 

“Be clear, concise and friendly to the pianist – even if they mangle the accompaniment to your song. Soldier on as best you can. The auditors know it’s not your fault, you don’t need to point it out.” – Michael Thomas

 

 

Pet Peeves/Things to Avoid:

 

“Worst for me is when someone comes in the room and is apologetic or making excuses for their performance.” – Kelly Knowlton

 

“Don’t bombard the auditors with excuses – such as: you’ve recently had a bad cold, you’re nervous, you haven’t had time to adequately prepare, etc.” – Michael Thomas

 

“Starting off your audition by telling me the reason you may not sing your best that day.” – Lori Turner

 

…sensing a theme here???

 

“When someone is unprepared or underprepared, without having music explicitly marked for the accompanist, and copping an attitude when things don’t go perfectly.” – Kelly Knowlton

 

“When a performer auditions with the wrong style of music for the show they’re auditioning for.” – Lori Turner

 

“Don’t overstay your welcome or try to be hilarious.” – Michael Thomas

 

“Children choosing to sing songs which are inappropriate for their playable age; for example: “I Dreamed a Dream, ” from Les Miserables–sung by a seven-year-old. A more appropriate choice for/from that show would be “Castle on a Cloud.” – Dauphne Maloney

Ideas for Empty Nesters Renaissance

Empty Nesting? Three Activities to Occupy Your Free Time

by Colleen Cook

Last week, our President and CEO Mike Miller took his youngest daughter to move into college for the first time. As a mother of tiny people (my kids are under 4 years old), that moment seems very far off, and yet I’m alarmed at how quickly it comes. When I started at the Renaissance, Mike’s daughter Jessica was a middle school student, so it hardly seems possible enough time has passed for her to move into her college dorm.

Perhaps you’re in the same boat as the Millers, empty nesting for the first time with a remarkably open calendar for the first time in two decades. No longer are you tied to the local school sports and music calendar – the band concerts, the soccer games, and carting your people to countless practices and events is all in the rearview mirror. While that’s undoubtedly met with mixed emotions (I can only imagine the wreck I will be as we pull away from our kiddos for the first time, good heavens), it can be invigorating to do what you want to do in your free time for the first time since you brought these people into the world.

Here are our suggestions on three new things to put into your calendar that you probably weren’t doing during the high school years:

1. Get more involved in the community.

How many fun, purposeful, social, philanthropic, and community-oriented events have you said no to in the past decade because you needed to keep your evenings open (or they were already booked up by family things)? Now’s the time to go to the Business After Hours, the Coffee Talks, the Book Readings, the lectures, the local meet-ups. These first years of being a parent of college students is the perfect opportunity to make some new friends, volunteer, and rediscover your interests and your purpose. Join a book club or an affinity group (like our new Symphony Chug, symphonic music meet-up), volunteer at a local non-profit, or be a part of a committee working to make an impact on the community – now’s your moment!

2. Go on dates.

Whether you’re happily married or happily single, you’re free again to go out and enjoy the nightlife in your town. Whether you’re coming to a show or a concert at the Renaissance, or taking advantage of the Wine and Ale Trail, or simply just spending an evening downtown, your time is yours again and you’re free to stay out late with no worries about getting everyone up and out the door in the morning.

3. Take up a new hobby.

Become a master gardener, learn to knit, take an art class, or learn to use that DSLR you bought and still shoot on automatic mode. Refining your skills not only expands your world, it’s a great way to make some new friends (that aren’t only parents of your children’s friends) and explore parts of yourself that have been lying dormant for years.

Symphony Chug with Mark Sebastian Jordan

What is “Symphony Chug?”

by Mark Sebastian Jordan

Hello, friends! I’m here today to tell you about an exciting new series of free events that are being added to the Mansfield Symphony’s upcoming season. Many of you will already know me from my Symphony Chat! series of talks before Mansfield Symphony concerts, where I plunge into the music on that evening’s program and try to offer a little insight to what you are about to hear. 

The chats are great, and we will be continuing them, but the thought hit me a few months back that there are a lot of people out there who would like to get into classical music a bit more, but are put off by the formality of it, the jargon involved, the specialized history, and—not least of all—the snooty ‘tudes of some classical fans.

Well, the chats are already just that: chats, not lectures. But I said to myself, “Why not make this even more fun and informal, by taking our musical adventures off-site and ranging over greater ground than just what is on the next program? Steve Taylor of the Mansfield Symphony upped the ante by suggesting holding it at a place where folks could get a drink and unwind while hearing about and discussing the music. Then Colleen Cook worked her magic and found us a home, at The Vault, a restaurant/wine bar in Shelby, where we will meet on the first Tuesday of most of the coming months until the symphony season is over.

Click Here to RSVP for Symphony Chug on Facebook
Symphony Chug is Graciously Presented by OhioHealth

If this takes off, we can continue it into the future. For the first season, I decided that the maximum way to have fun would be to range all over the place. Maybe next year we could start a grand sweep across the history of classical music to fill in the holes everyone has in what they know (trust me, no one knows everything). But for this season, let’s just romp.

September 5 we’ll kick it off by looking at humor in music. These symphonies seem like awfully serious stuff, but there are actually some great jokes buried in classical music: Beethoven pulling the rug out from under you in his Third Symphony, Bartok mocking Shostakovich in his Concerto for Orchestra, or even Carl Nielsen ending his final symphony with a bassoon fart. False solemnity is useless. Truth is, composers are human, like anyone else, and a lot of them like a good laugh. 

October 3 we’ll get into the dark spirit of the Halloween season by looking at some of classical music’s greatest scandals. Classical music is no more squeaky clean than any other gathering of crazy humans, so we might as well take a gossipy walk on the wild side. Which composer committed murder, but was never put on trial? Which male composer got dolled up in a woman’s dress to travel incognito to commit a crime, but chickened out on the way? Who threatened to hang a soprano upside down out a window to get her to sing an aria the way he wrote it? Whose dead body was found surrounded by satanic literature, and did he really commit suicide, or was he murdered?

November 7 we will tackle that dreaded issue of classical jargon by poking fun at it. “What the fugue?” will explain what is meant by terms like sonata, andante, fortissimo, fugue, sinfonia, and so on. Don’t worry, I’ll also have examples of composers mangling the terms, too. It’s more common than you’d think. I’m looking at you, Tchaikovsky!

December 5 will be a combination holiday party (with cake!) and a raising of the wrist to the theme of booze in classical music. We’ll talk about the great imbibers and a few other addicts along the way, proving once and for all that the most flawed folks in the world can still reach the heights of inspiration.

After taking January off (unless we decide to add another session to stave off the chill), we’ll resume on February 6, just a week before Valentine’s Day, when we salute romance and talk about just who was sleeping with whom in classical music. We’ll talk about the composer who got chased out of San Francisco because of his date with a girl in seminary school, a composer who sued his potential father-in-law because the father wouldn’t let him marry his daughter, a female composer who wrote a march for women and preferred them anyway, the composer who got his start playing piano in a whorehouse—at age 12!—and a couple composers never known to have gotten close to anyone, though the rumors always flew.

March 6 we’ll pose the classic question: “What’s Opera, Doc?” Symphonic music is closely tied to the music of the opera house, so we’ll jump into high dramatic mode as we look at how they go hand in hand. We’ll look at everything from the first dramatic cantatas of the early 1600’s to modern masterpieces, everything from Jephtha torching his daughter to Richard Nixon’s trip to China.

April 3 will see us going off the rails with tales of classical music’s greatest mavericks: the composer who invented his own player piano because his music was too tough for humans to play, the conductor who always hired a stagehand to kick him in the butt before he went on stage (hopefully not hitting the pistol he also packed), the pianist who was so fussy about the height of his piano stool he sawed an inch off the legs, and the composer who planned on a light show to be projected with his music 50 years before the hippies invented the same thing in the 1960’s. 

We’ll close the season of Symphony Chug! events with a gem on May 1: How can you read a novel in an hour? Listen to a symphony. I’ll give you a basic road map of your average symphony, and clues about how to navigate your way in anything from a petite Haydn piece to a towering Shostakovich beast. From simple entertainment to moving epics, symphonies are the core of orchestral music, and they open doors to other worlds.

All these events are free, and we’ll even throw in door prizes. We will, of course, invite you to partake of the drinks and more at The Vault, but mainly we just want you to come join the fun, learn a little about music in a lively, non-threatening way, and open your horizon to some of humankind’s most inspired moments. Yes, we’ll laugh at times, and other times we’ll get chills. But most of all, we’ll get closer to some of the greatest music ever created.

And don’t worry: this isn’t about cultural elitism. I encourage you to listen to everything you can, it will all enrich your life more and more. Outside of the classics, I’m a big fan of indie rock (Ezra Furman rules), alt-country (the Old 97’s rock, y’all), and Bluegrass (Bill Monroe forever!). And music from other cultures are important, too. Hear everything you can.

But it’s important not to shut off the classics, even as we expand our worlds, because, let’s face it, friends: Life is tough. We need every bit of insight and inspiration we can gather, and the classics are loaded with it. You might find a moment in Mozart that will give you light on your darkest day. You might find that Tchaikovsky takes your breath away or that Schubert can make you cry. You might find that Handel’s mood swings match your own or that Verdi makes your heart pound.

Whatever you find, I bet you’ll find that it matters a lot in your life. And that’s why we’re doing this. The music the Mansfield Symphony plays isn’t just entertainment. It’s stuff that can change your life.

Educational Impact of Theatre Renaissance Performing Arts

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Teen to the Theatre

Yes, we’re biased, but research indicates that the benefits of taking your teen to the theatre are countless. Whether you’re planning your outings for the school year, thinking ahead to the holidays, or spontaneously trying to change up your routine, live arts and entertainment should find a place in your calendar for these great reasons!

  1. Live theatre is beneficial to students’ educational development
    Educational Impact of Theatre Renaissance Performing Arts

    Among many others, University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform cites that arts attendance for students enhances literary knowledge, tolerance, empathy and holds “significant benefits in the form of knowledge, future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy and critical thinking.”
  2. Theatre attendance develops appreciation for the arts and the community
    Web_Renaissance-Theatre-photo-by-Jeff-Sprang
    Engaging in your community’s cultural assets and experiencing excellent arts & entertainment in your town will develop a lifelong appreciation and investment for your impressionable teen.
  3. It forces them to “unplug” for the evening
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    Parents are increasingly aware of the damage being done to their teens through smartphone use with frightening statistics on loneliness, suicide rates, depression being tied to smartphone use. Giving them an opportunity to be engaged among a crowd of people, outside their bedroom, without looking at a screen is a bigger deal than we ever realized.
  4. It develops empathy and a sense of belonging
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    Humans are hard-wired for story. When you can engage with story through the performing arts, you are more likely to understand foreign ideas and concepts, develop empathy for those who are different from you, and feel that you are not alone when working through a personal challenge or transition.
  5. It’s an opportunity for your family to bond
    Christmas Carol 2017 Renaissance Theatre

    Raising teenagers is challenging, and it can be increasingly hard to connect emotionally in everyday conversation. Bonding through a shared hobby or interest, such as theatre attendance, creates a safe place for open conversation and shared time that can feel like a breath of fresh air for both parent and child.

Why do you come to the theatre? Tell us in the comments.

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What is Operation Bridge Building?

By Audra DeLaney

A couple of fall mornings each year, something magical happens at the Renaissance Theatre. School buses begin to pull into the parking lot and as soon as they are parked, children get off with their teachers and get in line to come inside. They have all arrived to participate in an program put on by the Renaissance Education Department called Operation Bridge Building.

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Operation Bridge Building started in 2008 and is the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s major education initiative for local schools. The program is designed to both enhance K-5 classroom courses, as well as support the music education for those in public or private school and those who are home schooled in Richland county and surrounding counties. To help prepare students to attend the Operation Bridge Building full-scale symphony concerts here at the Renaissance, we provide them with study guides that go over the music the students will hear and show them how to be good audience members. As well, small groups of Mansfield Symphony Orchestra members visit schools to put on more intimate concerts for the students. Operation Bridge Building serves well over 7,000 local students annually through the full-scale symphony concerts in the theatre and the in-school chamber concerts.

Director of Operations/Education Manager Chelsie Thompson said that each year the schedule for the full-scale symphony concerts is pretty much the same.

“Musicians start to arrive at 8:45 AM, school buses start to arrive by 9:15 AM. We have about 8-10 volunteers and staff that run between the parking lot and building to get students into their seats. Some volunteers meet the buses and lead them up to the doors, others wait at the doors and take the kids from there into the theatre,” Chelsie said. “The first concert begins at 9:45 AM and lasts between 35-45 minutes depending on the age group of the students. We release the kids by school and they head out to buses, so the theatre feels really quiet all of a sudden. In between concerts, the musicians take a break – they might grab a cup of coffee, have meetings or rehearse, practice their parts, or just read a book. The next group of students starts to arrive around 11:15 AM and we do it all over again for the 11:45 AM concert.”

Last year, ten school districts sent a total of sixteen schools to participate in the full-scale symphony concerts here at the Ren. An additional seven districts, a total of thirteen schools, participated in this initiative through our in-school chamber concerts. All in all, we were able to serve 29 schools across 17 districts in 2016.

Chelsie said the performances that happen in a school rather than in the theatre are designed to be a little bit more personal.

“We have a very well-established brass trio, woodwind trio, and string quartet,” Chelsie said. “Each group has a unique, varied repertoire and script that they use for these 45-minute concerts, covering everything from classical to pop to traditional folk music.”

The full-scale symphony concerts preformed here at the Renaissance are designed to expose children to a wide variety of instruments, as well as using music to tie in state standards.

“Our main education concerts here at the Ren are tied to core curriculum standards, often literacy, math, or social studies, and these are a great opportunity to reinforce the material that students are learning in the classroom as well as take students on an exciting arts field trip,” Chelsie said.

Altogether, Operation Bridge Building engages students and teachers alike by providing high quality symphonic programming and a curriculum that integrates the arts with academics.

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The Operation Bridge Building program is underwritten so that schools may participate free of charge. Without community support, schools would have to pay upwards of $4 per student to participate in this program. As a result of not charging for schools to participate, they save a combined $25,000 each year. Our concert schedule fills up very quickly, so we highly encourage interested schools to contact us early.

This year, the Operation Bridge Building concert here at the Renaissance Theatre will take place on October 19 at 9:45 AM and 11:45 AM and October 20 at 9:45 AM. and 11:45 AM. If you or your school would like to learn more about Operation Bridge Building, please contact Chelsie Thompson at chelsie@mansfieldtickets.com or 419-522-2726 ext. 251.

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Intern Where The Popcorn Is: What It Is Like To Spend A Summer At The Ren!

By Audra DeLaney

Staff meetings. Social media scheduling. Blog writing. Brain storming sessions.

There are a number of things that happen during a day at the Renaissance Theatre for the Marketing and Development Intern. My name is Audra DeLaney and I am a third year public relations major and political science minor at Bowling Green State University. I have had the pleasure of interning under Colleen Cook this summer. I have an interest in working in arts advocacy after I graduate from college, so my summer at the Renaissance was a wonderful learning experience.

I found out about this internship back in the spring of 2016 after I got home from a spring break trip to New York City. I quickly fixed up my resume and decided to apply. I did not get the internship that summer but I stayed in contact with those at the Renaissance. I applied again this spring hoping to become the intern and the rest is history!

My responsibilities varied day-to-day during my internship. As my title states, I was a part of two departments at the Renaissance. In the Marketing Department I was responsible for scheduling social media, writing blogs/a blog series on the Renaissance Education Department, filling out event calendars, creating an Instagram strategy document, and doing a few other small projects. In the Development Department, I entered donor and member information into our system, filed donor and member paperwork, went to development committee meetings, attended board meetings, and created a document that holds ideas for the Annual Fund Campaign.

My favorite part of interning this summer was working with the Renaissance staff. Each staff member brings a new perspective to discussions and decision making. As well, they each have hidden talents! The Marketing Director is a singer, the Graphic Designer can play the violin, the Director of Operations got her undergraduate degree in horn performance, the list goes on and on. From impromptu pizza parties to coffee runs the Renaissance has felt like home since the day my internship began.

My advice to anyone wanting to intern in marketing or development for an arts organization/a nonprofit is to be willing and ready to soak up as much information as possible during your internship. The people mentoring you have stories and pieces of the advice they will share with you that will serve you well throughout your career, so listen!

I was not the only intern at the Renaissance this summer. Production Intern/Assistant Director Andy Blubaugh worked with President & CEO Mike Miller, Guest Director Kris Kyer, the Renaissance tech crew, and the whole cast of our most recent musical, The Little Mermaid. Andy is a second year theatre management and visual arts double major at Kent State University. She heard about the internship from Mike Miller after she talked with him about her interest in directing theatre.

“He mentioned the internship and it sounded like a great opportunity,” Andy said. “So I knew immediately it was something I wanted to apply for.”

Andy said her responsibilities changed daily.

“If I was not working on constructing and painting props, I was sending out backing tracks to the cast so they could rehearse at home, or I was talking to Kris about what we needed to accomplish for the day,” Andy said. “I would take notes and cue tracks and sound effects during rehearsals, take t-shirt orders, and help with the odds and ends that needed to be taken care of.”

She also said that her hours varied based on what was going on at the theatre each week and that she thoroughly enjoyed her time interning at the Renaissance.

“My favorite part was getting to learn so much about production that I never had the chance to be involved in before. Especially in making giant fish puppets, working with Cue Lab, and figuring out how to be best organized among a cast of 35,” Andy said. “Watching Kris work was awesome as well. I got to sit in on a few of his coaching sessions with some of our actors, and it showed me a lot about the communication of the director to the actor, and then translating that into their character. Being a part of this show really opened some doors for me to be involved with more parts of theatre than has ever been available to me before.”

Andy felt supported by other members of the staff of the Renaissance and the cast of The Little Mermaid. One of Andy’s biggest projects this summer was working on props for The Little Mermaid. When they were unveiled to the cast, they thought they were wonderful.

“As an artist and as the assistant director, it felt like my work was really appreciated, which made the whole experience so much more fulfilling,” Andy said.

Andy has a piece of advice for those wanting to intern in the production area of performing arts.

“Try lighting, sound, costumes and makeup, audition to be onstage, and offer your assistance to a production in whatever way you can. Every opportunity gives you the chance to learn something more, which can only better prepare you.”


Andy and I would like to say thank you to those who mentored us during our time at the Renaissance. We wish everyone a fun and successful 2017-2018 season!

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First Steps in Symphony Performance: MSYO and MSYS

By Audra DeLaney

Recently, we hired a new Music Director for the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Octavio Más-Arocas. At the Season Preview Party, Octavio was introduced by our President & CEO Mike Miller and said he is so thankful to be in Mansfield and that the community has already touched his heart. The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is a staple at the Renaissance, as it has been around for many years. It is full of talented musicians, most of whom got their start in different musical groups as children. At the Renaissance, there are two programs that help young musicians hone their skills so that they may have the chance to join a group like the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra later in life.

The Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra (MSYO) is made up of some of North Central Ohio’s finest musicians, primarily in high school, from a 12-county region. It is the only youth orchestra within a 65 mile radius of Mansfield and represents approximately 90 members each season who perform concerts both onstage at the Renaissance and in the community. MSYO has been a part of the Mansfield community and Renaissance Theatre since 1982, founded and led for many years by Ettore Chiudioni, and is currently under the direction of Randy Heidlebaugh.

Randy has been a music educator since 1984. Throughout his tenure, he has always encouraged his students to audition for MSYO.

“I have been directly involved with MSYO for the past five years,” Randy said. “Beginning with the 2012-2013 season I served as assistant conductor for two seasons and have been the conductor for the past three seasons.”

He wanted to support the MSYO because of how important he thinks it is to the arts in our local communities. Randy said MYSO gives high school students another opportunity for musical growth through performing with other musicians from the area.

“MSYO offers a place for fine high school musicians to perform a variety of great orchestral music that they may not have the opportunity to do in their respective high school programs,” Randy said. “Many of the high schools that our students come from don’t have a strong or full orchestra , so MSYO offers those students a chance to play in a full symphonic orchestra.”

MSYO performs two concerts each season, one in the fall and one in the spring. Randy has many great memories from rehearsals and concerts.

“Our performance of ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations by Elgar at the December 2015 concert and ‘Variations on a Shaker Melody’ by Aaron Copland at the May 2016 concert are examples of the students really bringing the music to life on a couple of my personal favorite pieces,” he said.

“The most recent memorable moment was our Spring concert of this year when we performed many pieces by American composers and finished the concert with a great performance of Morton Gould’s ‘American Salute’ followed by our encore presentation of John Philip Sousa’s ‘Star and Stripes Forever’ featuring all four of our flute players on piccolo for the piccolo solo. Really fun!”

Since 1992, another program has also encouraged the youth in and around Mansfield in the field of symphony performance.

The Mansfield Symphony Youth Strings (MSYS) program has both complemented the musical instruction young students receive in their schools as well as provided a large ensemble experience to students who have no access to a school orchestra program. The Youth Strings  is comprised of approximately 55 students all playing string instruments like the bass, cello, violin, and viola. The students are mainly in grades 6 through 10 and come from 20 schools in the North Central Ohio area. It was founded by beloved area music teacher Percy Hall. Currently, the MSYS program is under the direction of Matt Domka.

Matt is no stranger to the music community in Mansfield.  He began playing the violin at the age of seven under Mrs. Elva Newdome and played in the Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Ettore Chiudioni. Like Randy, Matt is also a music educator. In 2004 he graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Music Education with a specialization in String Pedagogy.

Matt commented that MSYS also perform two concerts a year like the MSYO and they usually perform six to eight pieces during each concert. He said it is a joy to watch his students progress in their music playing ability the longer they are a part of MSYS.

“It’s also somewhat of a rarity for a city the size of Mansfield to have two youth orchestras as well as an adult orchestra,” Matt said. “This in itself draws attention and traffic to Mansfield. We regularly have students travelling two hours to attend MSYS and MSYO rehearsals.”

For more information on the Youth Orchestra program, please contact Conductor Randy Heidlebaugh at mrhmsyo@mansfieldtickets.com. For more information on the Youth Strings program, visit their website or contact Conductor Matt Domka at matthewdomka@gmail.com. Finally, for more information on other programs offered through the Renaissance Education Department, contact Chelsie Thompson at chelsie@mansfieldtickets.com or 419-522-2726 ext 251.