I have been involved with two school productions of the musical The Sound of Music. And both were magical.
The first was when I was in 8th grade. My school was K-8, and the 7th and 8th graders always perform a musical in the spring. I had not participated in 7th grade, so I figured I'd give it a go in 8th. And I landed a part in the nuns chorus. Which basically meant- I wasn't on stage often. But being involved in the musical was the perfect decision.
We had rehearsal often, but what I really remember is the actual week leading up to and the weekend the musical happened. Dress rehearsals were hilarious. A lot of my friends in my class had bigger roles than I did and were called to stage more often. So I hung out with the rest of the nuns chorus- and the guys who played the nazi's. A lot of the girls were in 7th grade, and I called them my "sevies". We stood together at rehearsals and off stage laughed hard in the cafeteria, waiting to be called out on stage again. We played a LOT of cards. Spoons, Go Fish, BS, Poker...you name it, we played it. And laughed hysterically the whole time. I mean, tears running down our faces from laughing so hard.
It was also in this production where I met Alex, one of my very best friends. He was a Nazi in the musical and in our group of friends that would play cards. He cracked me up. We didn't become super close, but we definatley shared some laughs and happy memories.
On the final night of our play, we had an after party at Chuck E Cheese. And I stayed with my "Sevies" during this party, running around the place like we were little children.
Those few months distracted me from the realities of leaving my elementary school and moving on to high school. They bonded me with amazing people and gave me plenty of laughs. Plus, I got to wear a habit and sing in Latin. What could be better?
I'll tell you what was even better- the second time The Sound of Music came into my life.
This time, I was a junior in high school and signed up to do stage crew for the spring musical. For several months, I spent four-five hours every Saturday in the auditorium of my high school, building and painting. There were about 15 of us on crew. I looked up to the seniors and learned a whole heck of a lot from them. At the end of each Saturday, we were exhausted. Sore bones and muscles, hands swollen from hammering, and paint covering our clothes. But we had a blast.
Pretty soon we were in the auditorium not just on Saturday's, but after school, to finish the set and practice set changes while the actors rehearsed It was around this time Alex came back into my life. He was a sophomore at UofD, our brother school, and had a role in The Sound of Music. We started hanging out at rehearsals and soon we were pretty much inseparable.
I also met another best friend of mine during this time- Alicia. In early March, as musical rehearsals were picking up speed, Alex and I went to Soph Semi, a dance at Mercy. We had a really fun time, but I mostly remember meeting Alicia. She was running around the gym with a bunch of balloons. I poked Alex and said "I don't know who that is, but I want to be friends with her". Turned out, Alex knew her from past theatre stuff. So he took me over to meet her and I knew instantly we were going to be best friends.
A few days later, we went out for a "crew lunch"- stage crew, lights crew, makeup and costume crew all went to Ruby Tuesday. I ended up at a table with Alicia, who was on makeup crew. She said something hilarious, and I'll never forget my friend Heather looking up at me and saying "Megan, I think you've met your match".
And I did. Alicia and I had this instant bond that I had never really had with anyone else before. Suddenly she was the person I was going to for everything. We hung out at rehearsals with Alex and we laughed all the time. I could talk to her about God, my family, my future. I had never had a friend like her before.
The weekend of the musical was one of the most fun, exhausting weekends I can ever remember having. On the first night, Alicia gave Alex and I each a little poster that said "you're my favorite". Then we discovered she had given that to both of us, and we harassed her about it forever Alex and I would dance on the side of the stage to "Sixteen Going on Seventeen". Us Stage Crew girls would whisper and giggle throughout the performances. Alicia and I were always goofing around. But we were also working nonstop. Remembering our cues, helping the actors backstage, changing scenes. It was nuts.
After our final performance, we said goodbye to the seniors and had a cast party in our cafeteria. I was very sad that Alicia was going to be graduating. It didn't seem fair that someone who had so quickly become my best friend was going to be leaving in just a few months. I did take comfort in knowing that I had Alex.
The day after we closed the curtains on Sound Of Music, stage crew met after school to strike the set. What took months of building and painting took just a few hours to tear down. It was morbid, in a way, to just throw away all of those memories.
I didn't participate in stage crew for the musical my senior year. It was my last chance to recreate those memories, and I stood back. I blamed it on time, I was busy with student council and campus ministry. But secretly, it was because I knew nothing would be as good as Sound of Music, and I didn't want to be disappointed. I don't regret it. I have memories of Sound of Music to look back on.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be involved in both of these productions. It brought me to my two best friends. To this day, when I hear a song from Sound of Music or catch it on TV, I think of Alex and Alicia. And yes, I am still friends with them. I always will be.