April 2016

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April 2016

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

What’s Opera, Doc? Early Influences Bring Us Together

David Grindle Executive Director

I write this on February 29, the birthdate of Gioachino Rossini.

Throughout my entire career as a stage manager in opera, I must admit that I was never a fan of producing Rossini operas. But, in honor of Rossini’s birthday, a friend sent me links to the Looney Tunes cartoons, The Rabbit of Seville and What’s Opera Doc? These two videos made me smile because they are among the many influences during my youth that sent me to a career in the arts. That may sound sappy, and I certainly don’t mean to say 13 minutes and 8 seconds of cartoon turned this Georgia farm boy to opera for life -- but they were the first time I had heard orchestrations and saw how they could drive drama.

So, why do you do what you do? Are there things you can look back on and say, “Wow! I loved that, and now I do this”? Were you the kid who was always drawing or taking things apart? Are there activities or behaviors from your past that pointed to what you are doing today?

For most people there are. For some, what you do today wasn’t even invented when you were younger. But still, there is an artistic element in each of us, and it most likely showed at an early age.

As you read this, many of us will have just come from a week together in Salt Lake City learning and networking. We love that week because we are around people like us. People that drool over office supplies, fabric, clean welds, and beautifully drawn perspectives.

We need that because, as kids, no one else thought those things were cool. Most of us certainly weren’t thought of as cool for appreciating the things we appreciated. But when we come together, even now, we celebrate that common theme: appreciation of the art of engineering and the engineering of art. That is what makes us a great group.

USITT’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative is great because it magnifies the diversity inherent in our organization. When we see people who don’t look like us, but who share our joys and interests, we find commonality that builds relationships at a time our nation seems to be becoming more divided. That is why our organization matters in today’s world.

If you can Google anyone, why do you need an association? Because that commonality, “I’m a USITT member,” is the starting point of many great relationships. Without those relationships, we would never get the amazing work we produce.

Take pride in your appreciation of a beautifully stitched hem, perfectly beaded weld, and lifelike rendering. From those things we create a world where we can find things in common with one another. We can build great relationships and friendships -- friendships so strong, you too may one day find yourself backstage reenacting The Rabbit of Seville during the overture to Barber just so you’ll make it through one more performance.