As I sit here with my morning cup of coffee and reflect on the past three months, I can not help but marvel at how much has changed and the direction my life has taken. From beginning rehearsals in May, to opening night, to wrapping things up with the last third of the season, this summer has been far more challenging and rewarding then anything I could have imagined.
As many of you can guess, being a Burning Hills Singer (BHS) is not an easy job. As a BHS one must balance the ongoings of everyday life and the demands of performing every night 93 times in a row. We deal with acing knees and feet on a daily basis. We chug tea to help heal our voices and then drink a Red Bull (or two) to help keep us going. And no matter what you do, your hair is doomed from the unbelievable amounts of hairspray and heat used on it. And yet, this is also such a rewarding experience. Now that we are reaching the end of the season, many people ask me
“Do you ever get bored with the show?” And the answer to that is “No Way!”
Sure, there are times when I have a bad day, and the last thing I want to do is smile and bounce around for two hours. But whenever that music starts and we run out on stage and I see the audience smiling up at us, I can’t help but smile back. As a performer, I get my energy and endurance from the audience. The only thing I want is to bring joy to the hundreds and sometimes thousands of people who took the time to come see the show. I do not perform for myself, I perform for you!
There are a few points in the show where I get to interact with the audience, and those moments are always memorable and often the highlights of my day. During the song, “Happy”, one of the BHS will race to midlevel to mingle and sing to the audience members in the handicap seats. On one occasion I met a young lady with her mother and grandmother. It was her birthday, and she was fighting brain cancer. I talked with her and her family, and was so moved by her story that I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. I think of her often. Another night, I walked into the audience during “Cowboy Camp Meeting” and took a picture with a little boy in the middle of a song! Just the other night, during the act one finale, I had the joy of singing to a little baby who just couldn’t stop smiling!
Finally, one of the greatest pleasures I have as a BHS, is to meet the audience members during meet and greet. Through this, I have met proud veterans, music teachers, and some super Medora Musical Fans.
However, my favorite people to talk to after the show, are young BHS hopefuls! I have had many young girls come up to me after the show, wide eyed with excitement, and I see so much of myself in them. They often tell me that they want to perform on that stage, and ask me what it’s like and how they can do it. I’ll speak with those young girls until the music stops and the stage lights turn off! I love nothing more then to offer encouragement, hope and advice to anyone who hopes to be a Burning Hills Singer because I was once, and still am, a wide eyed hopeful myself!
These are the moments that have brought so much joy into my life these past few months and what will get me through this final stretch of the season! This is by far the most difficult job I have ever had. From acing joints and muscles, to vocal fatigue and the occasional flu bug; To meet and greet, on stage laughter, and many memories made, this is truly an experience of a lifetime, for which I will always be grateful.
Yours truly, Delanie Wiedrich.
Delanie grew up in Hazen, North Dakota. She attended Governors school for the Performing Arts, played the role of Eponine in Sleepy Hollow Theatre’s production of Les Miserables and will be attending MSU Mankato as a Musical Theatre major in the fall.