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Susan Bartz Herrick
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There but for the Grace of God... literally!
There but for the Grace of God... literally!

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Missing Jack. Long Hair German Shephard rescue - beloved member of our family.
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2/17/18
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**
Countdown to Karma Mother never repaid an ill, rude, or cruel deed aimed at her
with anything but charity. Not to say she didn’t shed a few tears when they
happened, but she never raged and plotted revenge. After the initial pain
subsided she would pray for...
* 50 Shades of BenGay
*   50 Shades of  BenGay
sbartzherrick.blogspot.com
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35 years ago I finished graduate school and promptly took a job
as a flight attendant, much to the chagrin of my mother. When I told her of my
plans she slowly peered at me over the top rim of her glasses one eyebrow raised.
She then dryly predicted I would...
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Twists of Grace
With age comes; grey hairs, knowing the back store places to buy real Olive Oil, and a bit of wisdom… if one is lucky. I am constantly amazed at the providential prosperities afforded to me in life as my theological roots don’t support that concept. Being ...
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Roots to Wings
Susan Bartz Herrick Oct 07, 2016 11:28am There is a deep sadness that veils a mother’s heart when she sees her mothering days are at an end. It’s not a sudden awareness. We know the sun will set every day and yet we don’t think about it when we are enjoying...
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Fiddling Around with the Fine Arts
The very first Theatre class I taught at Michigan State
cuffed me with the startling revelation that few, if any, of my bright eyed but
moderately talented students would ever make it to Broadway.  So why continue teaching Theatre? Many people are under the...
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Fiddling Around with Fine Arts

The very first Theatre class I taught at Michigan State cuffed me with the startling revelation that few, to none, of my bright eyed but moderately talented students would ever make it to Broadway. So why continue teaching Theatre?

Many people are under the false assumption that the study of Theatre is only for those interested in a career in entertainment. Whereas I did follow the professional path for years I have come to see what the Masters have known for millenniums: Theatre is a reflection of life with valuable lessons on every page for everyone.

For that reason, every year I disrupt my busy schedule of running my business, and teaching as an adjunct professor at UNC-FSU, to collaborate with a colleague to direct their Middle School musical.

This year that musical is Fiddler on the Roof. The timing could not be more perfect, as this year also the State legislation has proposed a cut in education urging the defunding of teachers in the Fine Arts. After all, Fine Arts is an auxiliary part of education and will not be missed educationally. I think not.

Theatre at the Middle School level is not about encouraging kids to run off to NYC or Hollywood to be the next ‘Star.’ That’s called Commercial Theatre, entertainment, or celebrity seeking. Educational Theatre is about; building self-confidence, learning how to work as a team, making responsible choices, self-expression, getting better voice and diction skills, challenging yourself to do something that terrifies many adult - speaking in public.

Educational Theatre also allows lessons to be experienced, which means the lessons have a much greater chance of staying alive with the students for their life time – not just until the end of year testing.

The lessons learned from Fiddler on the Roof are rich in more ways than just the familiar song. These kids see refuges on TV every night on the news, but from 3:00-5:00 every day they got to feel the experiences of those cast from their homes. They learned why family traditions are important and why their school community is like a village. The musical also taught them how to treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.

They also learned hands-on some traditions of the Jewish faith when Rabbi Brickman came in one day to explain their importance. The kids were shown documentaries about Jewish pogroms and discussed how the mindset of racial hatred lead to the holocaust. The music during intermission are authentic folk tunes of those very survivors - songs children sang to keep their hope alive when the world grew dark thanks to Gila Flam, personal friend and past founder/director of the music department at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. The Middle School actor playing Tevya was even coached by professional actor Michael Pizzi who played the role three times in NYC.

Every year when Tory Wright calls me to discuss the next year’s musical, a part of me wonders how I can possibly fit this time-consuming project in my already hectic life. But then I think of how the Fine Arts can permanently change a child’s life for the better and say YES! After all - if not for our kids – for who?
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The Christmas Ache

It’s hard to say what truly was my favorite Christmas of all time, as there were many. I’m sure though it must have been one from my childhood. There is magic in a child’s heart that knows mystery and love in a pure fashion unencumbered b...
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