We’re continuing our series in which we interview our teachers and staff to learn more about them and get their insights into the world of performance. This week’s interview is with Lisa Cole, who was the Musical Director for “Peter Pan” this past summer.
LC: I have had the pleasure of working on three shows with PAA: Willy Wonka Jr., Aladdin KIDS, and Peter Pan.
How many years have you been working in the performing arts?
LC: I have been working in performing arts for 37 years. I got my first paid acting job as a freshman in college at the Chuckwagon Dinner Playhouse in Greely. I performed there for 2 years before doing a show at the Boulder Dinner Theater. I spent a year on the road with a show band called Sunshine Express that was the front band for many entertainers on the State Fair circuit. It was a year before I came home to study voice with Bev Fernald at Metro State. I went on to perform with a Top 40 rock band five nights a week for the next 12 years as singer, keyboard player, and saxophonist. We toured the Orient with the Department of Defense entertaining our troops. That was a blast! I also spent 15 years as a worship coordinator/choir director at Deer Creek Church. Certainly, many of these gigs overlapped!
I currently teach K–8 music at Platte River Academy, including the spring musical each year. I have a BA in music and an MA in Information and Learning Technologies.
What is your performance background?
LC: While onstage, I have been in lead roles and chorus roles. My emphasis throughout school was voice, and I have taught voice and piano lessons. I have played keyboard, flute, sax, and drums in worship bands. I also love to dance—ballroom, tap, swing, stage choreography. During the school year, I am the director of Prelude to Evergreen’s Children’s Choral, and we do a choral concert in the fall and a musical in the spring. This year we are doing Pinocchio.
As far as tech goes, I taught worship band techies how to run our board and mix different groups, and now have the opportunity to teach a tech class for sound at Platte River.
They say variety is the spice of life and that is so true in the performing arts. Once you have a skill, it can be applied in a variety of settings.
What is your favorite role or production you’ve been involved in?
LC: It is very difficult to pick a favorite because each show has a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons. As a director, I enjoy watching the players grow throughout the rehearsal process. Watching the theory become practice makes me happy.
What is your top piece of advice for aspiring performers?
LC: Just do it and keep doing it. Try. Go for it. Say yes! Get out of your comfort zone. Be teachable. Value the skills you have already developed by being confident while reaching for the next level with grace and dignity.
What do you think makes PAA special or unique?
LC: PAA is special because of the warm, welcoming opportunities that are available to all ages. It is an encouraging environment with a focus on growth. PAA offers excellent teaching of the whole person. I appreciate that.
What is your most embarrassing performing arts moment?
LC: I was onstage at the Boulder Dinner Theater as June in Gypsy. I was performing with a fever of 101. My stage sister and I were singing “Mama Get Married Today”. My singing part jumped the interval of a 10th. I held it together until the end when I began feeling very faint and each time I sang that phrase and interval it got more and more flat until on the last note I fainted—just in time for the black out. No pun intended!
What is your favorite quote?
LC: “God does not always call the equipped, but He always equips the called, and He never removes His calling on your life” and “Leave people better than you found them”
Anything else you want to share?
LC: No matter how hold you are, embrace professional development opportunities and be a life long learner. That way you can be a leader who serves and a servant who leads.
Want to take a class with Lisa or any of our other amazing teachers this summer? Registration for summer 2016 programs is now open! Click here to register today.