CROW and the Arts

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How an area youth program connected one teen to the world of theater

Oct. 25, 2017 — Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshops, better known as CROW, is a theater arts company that was founded in 2011 by Melanie Heard. Since its roots, I’ve been a part of it. From the small theater summer camps to the stage of the Florence Events Center, I’ve been through it all. There are stories to talk about, so I will tell you three stories that have stood out to me since I joined CROW.

The first story I will tell you about is the time I formed a friendship with someone you may know in the area. Back in the 2011 CROW summer camp, many of the kids around me were unfamiliar — until one particular day. We were playing an improv game called “miming.” One of the kids mimed that he was making a smoothie, and I really liked it. When we had our lunch break, I went over to a girl and mimed that I was making a smoothie. I asked her if she wanted some, she answered yes and we enjoyed our imaginative smoothies. Her name was Nyah Vollmar. You may know her, as she is a very talented singer who sings the national anthem at the University of Oregon Ducks basketball games.

I for one, feel lucky that I have formed a friendship with her.

Another memory from spending time at CROW was the 2014 production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” That was my third production, and my second time getting a main role. My previous main role was Winthrop in “The Music Man Jr.” This time, I was given the role of Sebastian, which was a great deal for me.

Nyah got the role of Flounder, so the two of us made a great acting duo when we were on stage together. One scene I love (and miss doing) is the scene where the chef chases me (as Sebastian) around the stage while the other chefs are screaming and running around trying to get away from me. I had such a great time rehearsing it and performing it on stage.

Overall, this is my favorite musical that I have done so far.

One final memory I will tell you about is the most recent days of doing a musical with CROW. In 2017, when “The Addams Family” came, it was a different story. This was the first musical we ever did without a “junior” on the end.

When auditioning for it, I gave what was probably my best audition ever. I was called back for the role of Gomez, a lead role. Unfortunately, with my height compared to the others, I did not get the part. Did that stop me from being a great ensemble member? No. I was giving it my best at all performances once again.

I had a great time with the cast and crew, as it was my first time back since 2015. When I took a look at the cast I noticed only 40 percent of cast members were returnees from the 2015 musical and only 14 percent of them were “original crows.”

When the curtain closed for the final time, I thought, “Maybe I can call it quits.”

The biggest reason would be to make room for the younger, uprising stars that are making their mark on stage. Even with the 2018 musical auditions of “Tarzan” coming up, I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my fire burning.

However, I will never step away from the crow’s nest.

CROW is a great place to show your skills and talents to many people in the Florence area. I had a great time with them.

If you are interested in showing your talents, but don’t have the opportunity, here is one waiting for you. A great future lies ahead.

This month, CROW is presenting its Scare-CROW “Nightmares Haunted Maze” for the third consecutive year. Don’t forget to check it out — and remember, CROW can even start your career choice.