**Update – This contest is now over. Congrats to Anita Patterson Smith!**
Written by: Marcy Brandt, Executive Director
It seems like yesterday that I was driving around downtown Minden, Nebraska with my dad. I was a junior in high school, which meant it was 1989(ish). My mom and dad were sponsors of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter that had regular meetings in the basement of our home. However, with numbers soaring close to 100 (nearly 1/3 of the population of the high school), they were thinking we’d need a new place to meet soon.
So there we were – me and Dad – on the downtown square when I looked up and noticed the painted-over brickwork on the second floor of a building on the north side of the square. “Hostetler’s Opera House” it read.
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone would fix that place up? Then you could use it for F.C.A.,” I said. I seem to recall him saying something along the lines of how the building was in such bad shape that he wasn’t sure anything could be done to save it.
Fast forward to a little less than 10 years later. It was 1997 and my dad was serving on the very first Board of Directors of the Minden Opera House. I lived in Kansas at the time and heard about all the time and effort being put into this incredible project. I was working as an Administrative Assistant at a church, and part of me wondered why I bothered to get my Theatre Education degree a few years back. I even mentioned to my dad that working at a place like the Opera House would possibly be my ideal job. I’d get to live in a small town, but still get to be absorbed in the arts and drama that I so loved.
Fast forward again to 2005. By now the Opera House is up and running and through a series of events, my kids and I end up moving back to Minden. I worked a variety of jobs, ending up as the Director of the Chamber of Commerce. I loved my work there and truly enjoyed helping to promote the community where I was born and raised. And yet my eye kept wandering to the north side of the square.
One day, before I even fully realized what I was thinking, I found myself saying to the then-President of the Opera House Board of Directors, “I really love the Chamber, but if the job at the Opera House ever opens up, I’d apply in a heartbeat.”
Within a year, the job did indeed come open. And now, as I start my 7th year as Director, I’m still amazed that I’m here. There are still days that I look around and am stunned by how blessed I am to be able to “have it all”… at least how it’s defined in my book. I get to work three blocks from home, in a town of under 3,000, in a building that will knock your socks off, meeting people from all over Central Nebraska and bringing in some of the best performers from across the nation.
I will occasionally recall that day back in high school with my dad, and I’ll think about how both of our paths lead us to be a part of something of which we are both very proud. And sometimes I think about my question to Dad, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone would fix that place up?”… and I want to tell my 17-year-old self, “You have no idea just how great.”
Two tickets to any show in December – your choice! (Not the dinner show – sorry friends)
Here’s how you can win!
- Like the Minden Opera House on Facebook (direct link here)
- Leave a comment on this post and/or on this Facebook link (found here).
- Share this post (not required but we’ll be so thankful if you do!).
One winner will be chosen at random. Contest ends on Sunday, November 27 at 11:59 pm. Winner announce on this post and on Facebook on Monday, November 28.
To learn more about The Minden Opera House and for details about all upcoming shows, find them online or call 308-832-0588