The Holiday Season has finally come to an end and a brand new decade has swung in full affect. Much like the fast pace of the holidays, business has not slowed down at the Matthews Opera House per usual. In fact, this last month of December might have been the busiest our current staff has seen since all coming together back in the early parts of fall.
Our organization was blessed with amazing patron support in a holiday-themed evening for our South Dakota Day of Giving campaign that brought in four thousand dollars worth of donations which will go toward the renovation of our back “creative space” room. We hosted a cluster of kiddos and their families as they eagerly awaited the biggest guest in town, Santa Clause, for a day of Christmas crafts and fun memories. We hosted two of our more traditional events that have a longer history with the Matthews than all of our staff combined with the Holiday Piano Duets Concert and the prestigious Holiday High Tea fundraiser. And finally we capped off the Holiday themes with a big night that featured Creekside Elementary’s GATE program art reception, as well as a jazz night that was one for the ages. Getting to see young Sophia Beatty take the stage and own the crowd with her (also young) talented band, was the perfect way to end the climactic month.
With so much happening at the Matthews during the month of December, I find myself reflecting on what all went down at the end of 2019. In a word, I would say emotional. I think that one part of this job, or all jobs at the Matthews, that can tend to go unnoticed is the hard days. Of course when Sophia was on stage singing her heart out, or when a little seven year old kid sees Santa for the first time in over a year, we all have big smiles on our faces. And chances are anytime you have stepped foot in the building you have been greeted by a big smile or a general happiness from anyone on our staff. But I can assure you that it is not this way every second of the day.
No, just like in any office space or working organization, we all have the hard days as well. And many times during the challenges of December, we all found ourselves mentally exhausted and wondering just how in the world we were going to make these events happen. Yet as time trickles on, and we stay focused on the tasks at hand, everything ends well. It often feels like time seems to just slip away until you find yourself sitting in the opera house on a show night, looking out at the sea of smiling people, and suddenly that fear vanishes.
During this last week that I have spent off work, spending time with family, I have been pondering that process. How do things seem to go from such an eerie low, to a high that brings tears of joy to your face? I think it all has to do with the patrons and volunteers that this organization has surrounded itself with for the last 50+ years.
I look back on the month of December and think about how Readers Theater volunteered their own time and effort to put together a stellar performance of A Christmas Carol, or Rick McBride stepping in last minute to put the professional audio touches on our Sophia Beatty concert, or the dozens of helpers, lead by none other than Catherine Polley, who continues to make The Holiday High Tea the classiest event in South Dakota, and I suddenly realize just how we are able to keep our heads above water. All of the people I mentioned, along with hundreds of others, are what makes this organization continue to inspire. And if anyone is reading this who has helped the Matthews in any way over the years, thank you. Not only do you help the organization grow, but you are also the reason this community continues to strive to be one of the greats.
There is nothing our organization and staff loves more than a good challenge, and over time I think that we have proved that we can complete large tasks with such a small staff. And although I would bet on my current team to come out a success every single time, I think it is important to show that it does not come without a tenacious backbone of a community to help us lead the way. Although we have those occasional days where times are tough , it is always followed with substantial highs that can never be beat. Thanks to all of you who show this building love.