January 2012

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January 2012

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

Commitment. Loyalty. Pride. Community.

Those words came to mind as I stood watching the Baldwinsville High School marching band rehearse on a dimly lit parking lot… in the snow. Marching season ended with a state competition October 30 (they placed second in their division). But now they are headed for the Gator Bowl. By the time you read this, the game will have passed, the marching competition completed, and the kids headed home. But those words -- commitment, loyalty, pride, and community -- will still describe them.

Those words describe us, the design/technology community. That comparison came to me in the cold that night. When it was so cold the kids couldn’t bring their instruments out, the students marched and sang their parts to rehearse the visual part of the show. How many times have we seen that commitment among people making a show come to life. The budget gets cut, but the effect or look isn’t changed, just refigured. We make do with what we have.

Recently I was speaking with a student I met through the Stage Management Mentoring Project. He had taken some time from the business to deal with family issues and was asking me how to get back in to the swing. “Work your network,” was my reply. We discussed all of the people he had come in contact with through USITT, and he reached out. They passed things on, and he is now back in interviews and headed for work. We are a loyal bunch of people. We look out for each other and help in times of need.

If you grew up Lutheran, you know pride is frowned upon. But the pride we have is more of a “Midwestern resilience.” No matter where you are from, the drive to produce the best production quality is in each of us.

That insistence on giving our best and supporting one another in the process is the pride I think of when I think of people in design and technology. We want our work to be the best it can be, even if the audience can’t put our specific name to it. More importantly, the safety and security of those around us depend on it, and it is a matter of pride to see that our colleagues remain safe and secure in production.

Finally, the community of the marching band is very much like ours. My son is the youngest member of the band. Honestly, we were concerned about letting a 12-year-old into a high school group. But, just like the theatre community, he was accepted because he could play his part and pull his load. We as a community treat people like that. We pull our part and support each other. When we are down, we come to assist; when good things happen, we celebrate each other’s successes. That kind of community exists even though we are spread across the nation and world.

I would like to think the years of being exposed to design and technology people helped my son understand this type of community. But I’m happiest to know that he is part of a community like this, and so are we all.

Best wishes on the New Year. May it bring happiness, excitement, and opportunity to you all.

David Grindle

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Please e-mail David at david@office.usitt.org.
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