The blog of the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center in Tampa, Fla.
The Patel Conservatory provides the finest performing arts training in an inspirational setting by giving students the tools to dream, reach, discover and create the performing arts; integrate them into everyday life; and contribute to the community.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Visiting a place where every day people are living their dreams
contributed by Leslie Farrell, publicist for the Patel Conservatory
Ah, to see our world through fresh eyes!
Last night during a tour I was giving of the Straz Center to two teenage journalists, I remembered what it was like to experience a place I’ve been exploring for 16 years as if it were new for me. The senses of wonder and possibility these girls felt when they when they peeked into the Patel Conservatory classrooms were infectious.
Sometimes when you work in an incredible place like the Straz Center where magic truly happens every night, when you’re behind the scenes day after day, you can take for granted what an amazing place it is.
But when you show off the place you revere to someone new to the experience, it reopens your eyes. There's an immense pride in working here. Most of my coworkers don’t think of their time at the Straz Center as work but as their lifestyle; most of them are living their dreams.
As I walk her to the door, Adrienne, the photographer, tells me she used to play the viola. Her eyes noticeably light up when I describe the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra (auditions for the spring session are Jan. 8), how they’ve played twice in Carnegie Hall by invitation to standing ovations and how the Dublin Youth Orchestra is coming in February from Ireland to play with our young musicians. She and her father didn’t know that we have an orchestra.
Mariel, the writer, is interested in dance and I share her excitement when we peek in on Susan Downey’s jazz dance class to watch them rehearse for the showcase. Later, when I take her backstage behind Carol Morsani Hall where “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is onstage and we peek into Ferguson Hall where “Wonderland” sets are being set up, she describes her own emotion as “ecstatic.” I share her feeling and look forward to giving my next tour.
For more information about classes in dance, theater or music, or to learn how you can get a backstage tour of the Straz Center, call 222-1002.