Our Listen to Your Mother Southwest Michigan Season Wrap-up post is always the hardest one for me to write. I put it off, and put it off, I think because it always feels so final. There’s a little relief that comes with our post season, of course. Those last few weeks before showtime are positively insane with worry and uncertainty and expectation and work. And then showtime comes and the payoffs are overwhelming and so deeply worthwhile. Like this one….
Handing a check from our LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: Southwest Michigan 2016 show to a deserving charity partner like Emergency Shelter Services, Inc. is one of the great privileges of producing this incredible international show locally. From our ticket proceeds, Beth and I decided to surpass the minimum required and MATCH what ESS collected in the lobby the night of our show ($440, thanks to our generous audience!) for a grand total of $880 raised toward helping end homelessness in Berrien County. A wonderful afternoon, indeed! I wish I had a season total to share with all of you, but all 41 cities haven’t yet reported (from my own experience, I suspect the issue is a bunch of writers trying to do maths, but I digress). In total after the nationwide Listen to Your Mother 2015 season, I can tell you that we had raised over $80,000 project-wide, since 2010. This year we anticipate reaching $100,000 in giving. I’ll be sure to share when Ann releases our 2016 international figures (remember, we had a show in Vancouver, Canada this year!).
THANK YOU to our national sponsors, and to our amazing local sponsors who not only make giving global voice to local motherhood possible by supporting our show, they help make moments like this possible. Beth and I feel deeply blessed because of the open hearts and generosity of 98.3 The Coast, Scott R. Gane Photography, BajaGringo Taco Truck, TJ21 Media Group, Ecohousing USA, Ltd. DBA Pete Jorgensen Real Estate, The Mason Jar Cafe, The Sign Shop, Rodan & Fields Ind. Consultant, June Saavedra & Tara Florist (click on their logos in the sidebar to visit their websites). WVBH Power 105.3 supported us with ticket giveaways and mentions, too! And thanks to #Write2TheEnd Writers Workshop & New Territory Arts Association for support during our audition process.
But there are others to thank without whom our community would have nothing to enjoy when they show up, and that is our incredible, talented, simply stunning in every way cast. These humans and their stories left us breathless and they left a community forever changed.
We proudly supported Readiness Center, Inc. back in our first season (2015). Several of our stories that year came to us very much because of the charity partner we selected. Our show in 2015 was incredible; like a big community hug. We couldn’t have enjoyed the success we did in our first year without Sister Paulita’s and Martha Thieneman’s (also a 2015 cast member) support and enthusiasm for our show. We were incredibly blessed!
It’s clear that Sister Paulita and everyone at Readiness Center was praying for a successful second season of Listen to Your Mother: Southwest Michigan, because that’s exactly what we had. Powerful stories with amazing connecting threads came together to delight and entertain and teach and celebrate.
We can’t wait for you to see this season’s videos, which will be released en mass mid-summer–that’s another 500+ videos joining the 1500+ videos since 2011 that already live on the LTYMShow YouTube channel. Seriously, guys, check out the humor category, alone. Totally worth an afternoon or ten!
I can’t let this opportunity pass without thanking my beautiful co-director and our vibrant emcee, Beth Haire-Lewis. Beth always sort of apologizes for not being a writer. I asked Beth to do this with me back in 2014 after I’d received permission to bring a Listen to Your Mother show to Southwest Michigan because of the work she has done, for eighteen years, chairing the upcoming (June 26th in downtown Benton Harbor) annual Coming Home, Coming Together concert which celebrates her late father, Benton Harbor’s own legendary jazz pianist, Gene Harris. This free community concert celebrates the talent of local musicians, yes, but it also brings together the communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph through an appreciation of music. The essence of music is simply story in another form. So let me say it right here, right now, again, that there is no one on earth with whom I would rather bring this show to Southwest Michigan. Anyone who saw our production live knows that her passion for the stories and for our storytellers is at the core of what makes our show so vibrant and diverse and successful. Beth has my heart, she has my friendship, and she has my gratitude, forever and for always. Love you, momma!
To purchase or just to view any of the photos from our incredible 2016 season–from our two rehearsals, to the show, to the cast party–please visit Scott R. Gane Photography’s SmugMug and select BROWSE.
So, until next year…that’s a wrap, folks!