by Angie Mack Reilly
I remember receiving a program booklet of NSAA classes in the mail in 2005. At the time, I had been a K-8 Music Teacher at a private school. I remember thinking, “What a great opportunity for youth to have!” (I wish there was an arts school around me growing up!)
I took my music students on a field trip. We went to go see NSAA’s production at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center. It was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. (Recalling that show makes me smile even now.) Josh Pope was Joseph. I absolutely fell in love. I went to every show they put on that weekend. I felt like I was at “home”.
I then emailed the founder, Sheri Bestor, to compliment them on their programs. I explained that I was a K-8 Music Teacher. I asked if there was anything I could do to help their organization. Oddly, they were about to do a musical production and needed a Music Director. Sheri asked if I could be the Music Director. (I have been the Music Director for so many shows now that I forget which one was my first…..perhaps Seussical?) She also asked if I could teach a few private lessons after school so I did.
My private lessons grew so much that I ended up leaving my K-8 position to work for NSAA.
Before the recession hit, NSAA was doing two major Stagekids Productions and three Jr. Stagekids programs per year. On top of being the Music Director for their Stagekids Productions, I became the Producer/Director for the Jr. Stagekids Programs. Add to that multiple music and drama classes that I was teaching each week combined with scores of private music students. I also traveled to other facilities to direct and teach as an NSAA staff member. I was one busy gal and having the time of my life!
I was able to raise my income level and become a first-time homebuyer. Serendipitously, the house that I fell in love with was one block south of NSAA. I took up my new residence.
Then, the recession hit NSAA pretty hard as it did other arts organizations.
In 2007, I stepped in and became their Marketing Director, putting in more volunteer time than paid time just to help the organization stay afloat the best that I could. I remained their Marketing Director until 2012 when I went through some medical issues. At the time, I had over 40 private music students per week on top of directing and teaching.
I had to take some time off of doing what I loved so that I could heal and recover. I took on a position with another company so that I could work from home for two years.
But I really, really, really missed directing, teaching and working with youth!!!!!
When my health improved, I decided to return to NSAA and take on a few more private lessons.
The health issues that I went through made me consider quality of life issues. I realized how much I loved working with children in the arts and how comforting it was for me to be in the NSAA building. But during the course of me being gone, some transitions occurred and there wasn’t room for me to be employed like I once was.
So I decided to become an NSAA Affiliate.
On May 1st, I will be moving into the NSAA building as the owner of OZAUKEE TALENT. I will basically be doing what I have been doing for all of these years; giving private lessons, teaching arts classes, putting on music events, helping businesses with marketing and more. My “Musical Learning Lab and Interactive Classroom” will be on the 3rd floor perpendicular to the dance studio where the Trinity Irish Dancers rehearse.
I AM SO EXCITED and nothing could feel more natural and “right” for me to be doing right now.
I am thankful for this opportunity.
And I am especially thankful to Sheri Bestor for starting NSAA, hiring me, and now for allowing me to be an affiliate.
This is my passion.
This is my dream.
This is what I do best.
Thank you NSAA. Thank you Sheri. Thank you Paula. Thank you Debbie. And Scott. Martin. And those who have served on the NSAA Board over the years. And the parents. And the businesses.
Arts education is vital and integral to the health and growth of our community. Thank you for your support. Ahhhhhh, “There’s No Place Like Home!”