Guest blogger Maureen reflects on her first tour with Chautauqua.
(This post is from Maureen Elizabeth, who joins us from Ashland, OR. Maureen is a talented aerialist and hoop artist, and a fun person to hang out with. Here's Maureen).
This is my first tour with the New Old Time Chautauqua and my experience has been amazing. I am in the middle of day 10 on tour and have just completed another jubilant parade and a fantastic community show in Culver. I love the joy and excitement of parades as well as the contagious beat of the marching band. I can’t help but move my feet and spin my hula hoop with a huge smile as we march through towns, parks, grocery stores, retirement centers and even correctional facilities. The communities mirror the merriment in their cheers and smiles. It’s the best! If the parade isn’t enough it is often followed by a community show or a big show later in the day. Performing brings me so much happiness and sharing that with crowds young and old who would not otherwise see such acts of revelry amplifies my experience. It is the work of Chautauqua to spread joy to the underserved corners of this region and I feel contented and appreciative to be a part of this movement. As I approach the end of my 2 weeks with the New Old Time Chautauqua it is gratifying to reflect on all that has gone on during this adventure. I feel at home. Folks here are kind, open and gifted in so many ways. I have made many new incredible friends and laughed until I’ve cried numerous times. My juggling skills have improved with the help of Poki and Ty as patient juggling partners. I hope to make it into the Big juggle next time on tour. I pushed myself a bit outside of my comfort zone by singing in Chauquamilton. Stephen O’Bent and the Pipia sisters did a fantastic job of writing and choreographing this special Chautauqua number to explain what it is our group of clowns, jugglers and musicians do. I felt like I was in a musical! Chautauquans are an inspiring group of people. I am encouraged by everyone’s capacity to be performers and musicians as well as take on kitchen shifts, laundry duty, truck organizing, scheduling or the many other tasks it takes to keep this boat afloat! Most of all I am grateful for the incredible experience.
Maureen Elizabeth July 19th