December 13, 2017
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“The Garden” Comes to Maine

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Not everyone has their dreams come true. It hardly ever happens for me, too. There have been a couple of times I’ve really worked at it, like that one time in sixth grade when I got my sister to join me in a reenactment of “Sisters” from Bing Crosby’s, White Christmas, during recess… Needless to say, that was one dream that just didn’t materialize the way I had envisioned it. So, when dreams do come true, it is exciting and worthy of sharing.
Let me briefly take you back a year. One year ago I was listening to music at Easter, like I do every year, and had the urge and desire to bring one piece of music in particular to life, The Garden, by Michael McLean and Bryce Neubert. I mean real life, like finding the choir, soloists, accompaniment – the whole real deal. It is a moving allegorical masterpiece that has been likened to Les Miserables in format, and tells the Easter story from a very new perspective, that of elements in the Garden of Gethsemane – hence the title. Other years I’d felt the same yearning, but rightly promptly dismissed it due to complicated schedules and a million other valid reasons to let the dream go. Last year was different. Last year, I heard the music, felt the yearning, and began to plan.
Jim Perkins of New Vineyard, a good friend and fellow jazz musician, as well as seasoned choir director agreed to co-direct the production with me, and months later, Patricia Hayden of Farmington, known for her amazing accompanying and organ playing, came on board shortly after falling in love with the music. As we drew closer to production, Maureen Perkins, of New Vineyard, also graciously stepped into the role of stage manager.
With members from Wilton, Farmington, Dexter, Palmyra, Newport, Oakland, Gardiner and Freeport, both the soloists and the choir come from areas across Maine. The seven soloists are Emma Stinson – Seedling, Melanie Crawford – Barren Olive Tree, Adam Thompson – Millstone, John Nesbit – Ram, Jim Pierce – Gardener, Stephen Lowe – Landlord, and Shane Reitze – The Man. In addition, Natalie Crawford, Melissa Hurley, and Linda Morgan will perform as a trio within The Garden.
All of those involved have overcome the trials of distance, sickness, and weather as we have rehearsed in Waterville since the beginning of January, with enthusiasm, humor, and a genuine desire to share the spirit of the message with those who will see the performance.
Last Sunday, after weeks of rehearsals, we had our first run through and I realized, “It’s happening! It’s really happening!” My dream will become my reality on March 17th when our collective effort will culminate in the first ever performance of The Garden here in Maine. The performance is a free gift to the public and the doors open for seating at 6pm on March 17th at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 26 Washington Avenue in Waterville, less than a half mile from Exit 127 of I-95. The performance will begin at 7pm.
It isn’t every day that a dream comes true, it’s true. But March 17th will be that day for me. Come join me and celebrate the beauty and joy found in the Easter message with all those who have worked so hard to bring you this stunning beginning to the Easter season.