A little over two weeks ago the world lost an amazing person. Sissy DePrima lost her battle with cancer. Mrs. D was my musical theater teacher starting in third grade (I think) all the way through high school. With her I performed in various parades, in countless shows and around Lake County. With her I was a southern belle, a beggar selling flowers on the street, was a toy doll, a french aristocrat, a daughter of Canna, walked down the yellow brick road, was a poodle girl, dickens caroler and countless other characters. To say though she was just a brilliant director would not do her justice. She was also much more than someone I saw every Wednesday for an hour. She was someone who witnessed almost every major event of my life. She was one of the first people I wanted to share something with and was always one of my biggest supporters. Whenever I told her where my next adventure was taking me she was always so excited for me.
She also taught me some of the greatest lessons of my life. She taught me the importance of being truly dedicated to something and not stretching myself too thin. It is better to be great and passionate about one thing than decent and wishy washy with many things. She also gave me my love for performing. I also liked to be on the stage from a very early age but she taught me how to command a stage and audience. From her I feel in love with musicals. There is hardly a musical you can give me that I do no love.... to be honest there is hardly a musical you could play for me that I have not performed at least one of their songs if not the whole show and you would be hard pressed to find a Christmas carol I do not know by heart... with hand motions.
Some of my fondest memories as child and teenager was staying after in the studio talking to Mrs. D. We would all hang around, secretly hoping our parents would be picking us up late. It was even better when we were able to drive because we could stay as late as we wanted. We would talk about anything and everything sitting in these little pink benches. If it was a really special day we might head to baker square to get a slice of pie!
Mrs. D also worked at the local catholic high school. She ran a show there in february that many people from the county would come see. In middle school I would always go to the shows and wish more than anything I could be on that stage but thought it was not an option because I would be going to the public school. It was that show and her that helped persuade me to leave all my friends and go to the catholic school. The two years (soph and senior year) that I got to do the show were some of the best memories from high school. Also, it resulted in another great lesson. It taught me to never give up. My junior year I did not make the show because of a bad audition. I was heart broken and I think normally I would have just quit going to lessons on Wednesdays. But Mrs. D made me realize that things do not always work out as we want. Instead of giving up though you just have to work harder. I started attending additional lessons in addition to my wednesday classes.
It is has been very hard for me to process this loss. I feel like even halfway around the world I am constantly reminded of her. I would say about every 4th song that comes onto my iPod is a song that I have song with her... I have decided that my iPod random shuffle is a major no-no for awhile if I want to stop tearing up randomly on the streets... I already get enough stares being white.
It is even harder to think that when I go back home she will no longer be there. Every place in town holds some type of memory of her and I think it will be a rough shock when I finally go back home. I just hope that I can continue her legacy. I hope that I can spread the same lessons that she gave to me. Below I am attaching a video of one of her last shows at my high school. This only gives a little insight into what an amazing director she was.