SKHS production a Zen-like experience

A couple of weeks ago I caught up with friends from Hospice of Kitsap County’s grief class I attended about a year ago in support of a friend. I wish that I could have taped their conversation, because it was an extraordinary glimpse into the powerful practices these two friends use in healing.

Jane, a naturopathic doctor, lost both parents in recent years and relies on the calming influence of Buddhist meditative practices.

Earlier in the month she had invited me to attend a prayer meeting where she taught a beautiful, repetitious chant. The chant, which was very calming, she explained, spurs on creativity as it helps you align your soul with God’s will.

The very act of repeating chants and prayers in a meditative state over time, she said, causes healing changes at the cellular level within your body.

Roger, who is heading off to India in a few weeks, came to Hospice when his wife, a non-smoker, was dying of lung cancer.

He works intently with sound and chants. He explained to me that every sound ever uttered still exists.

In other words, he said, every harsh or curse word you have ever spoken, every prayer that you have raised to the heavens, every blood-curdling scream, every baby’s coo is still out there.

I never thought of it that way. I had assumed that sound like smell dissipates over time. Roger explained that when you chant and pray, you align yourself with all the chants and prayers spoken throughout history and powerful, healing energy flows.

I had just finished reading “Power Versus Force” by David Hawkins and what Jane and Roger said made sense on a scientific level. Hawkins purports that everything — every person, situation, sound, piece of art or literature, circumstance, event, etc. — calibrates or resonates at a different level.

Everything operates on energy fields, or attractor patterns. Some things, people and situations strengthen while others weaken.

OK, so now that I have gone to the edge of the branch here, how do I get back? Well, suffice it to say that it explains why universal prayer is so healing. It explains why it’s hard to wait for Easter services where the music will send your soul soaring.

It explains why the cast of “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and the leads in particular, Aaron Terry and Michelle Tapia, are so special in the strongest, truest, most real sense of the word.

First off, I need to explain that I left out mentioning a number of talented youth in my previous column. It was the result of sheer laziness.

I didn’t want to go outside to the car for the playbill, but in a sense it gave me more to talk about. The students went all out for the closing performance on Sunday.

They gave it everything they had.

Beautiful Megan McCormick reached all high notes in a role known for being difficult. I still remember her as a wee thing singing and dancing with kids twice her age. She has grown so beautiful since then and even more talented.

The Dilley twins, Jon and Jeff, showcased extraordinary comic timing as Mr. MacFee and Conrad Birdie. A friend of mine, who has performed in the play twice, said that she had never seen the Ed Sullivan skit performed so well.

She was also smitten with Annie Henderson’s Mrs. MacAfee.

Natalie Davis’ Mrs. Peterson and Kate Gregory’s Ursula brought in a ton of laughs.

German exchange student Henric Abraham tackled his first play ever in a language that wasn’t even his own and did it in a way that brought laughter, sympathy and crushes, all around, from what I heard.

And, of course, Aaron Vetter took the role of nerdy Harvey Johnson to even greater heights. I wish we could see more of him.

When the play was over and I stood to clap, I felt weak in the knees, drained, like the cast. Aaron Terry and Michelle Tapia expressed raw courage that most of us don’t or didn’t have at that age.

I found myself shaking as I walked out. There was so much emotion in the last scenes. Michelle played them like they meant the world to her, like she meant every word, like she loved giving to us on that level.

At first when I sat down with them for an interview, I expected two kids who liked to sing and dance. I had no idea that the connection they had to music went so much deeper, that it was intimately tied to their relationship to God, and that they both hope to use their gifts for humor and song when they serve as missionaries.

After speaking with them, I had a different perspective as I watched their closing performance. They gave us a show that echoed the way they live their lives — open, unafraid and wholehearted.

Aaron captured Dick Van Dyke’s mannerisms, from the flip of the hat, to the open faced boyish charm to the elegant, romantic flourishes.

You had to see him in action to believe a little South Kitsap kid could play this role in a way that could bring Dick Van Dyke here amongst us.

The youngest of nine children in the Terry brood, Aaron credits his siblings for “blazing the trail.” He explains that they all had roles in high school plays, that they were all involved in musical theater and that, “I find joy and fascination in striving to be like them. They inspire me and help me to be better.” He credits them for, “having values that I love,” and for “being wonderful examples.”

Still and all, you can’t help but recognize that even in a family of highly accomplished students, a family that gave birth to not one, nor two, but six Eagle Scouts and five engineers, this kid is special.

Carrying a 3.8 GPA while participating in Chamber Choir, Highlighters and the cross-country team, he still took a lead in a play. While finding his siblings marvelous examples, he plans to deviate a little from their paths by choosing aeronautical engineering as a field of study after he takes two years off starting this fall to pursue a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“This mission is really important to me,” he said. “It’s the largest motivation in my life. I can see the affect of sharing the Gospel on people’s lives. It’s something that is precious to me.”

He explains that he can attend to a two-year mission when he turns 19. He turns 19 in late September. Before he tells me the date, I realize it could only be one day. There is only one day that would fit this boy — Sept. 21 — the day designated as the International Day of Peace, the day that people across the world raise their voices in prayer.

So, please forgive me if I have been more emotional than normal in introducing you to the first in series of seniors from the graduating class of 2008. These two touched my heart and made me realize how extraordinary it is that they are willing to touch us with their lives, their work and their gifts.

Mary Colborn is a Port Orchard resident.

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