I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all who were involved in the In The Light performance.
To over 150 PVA and Musical Autist students and young adults: your performances blessed me beyond words and made every moment of preparation over the past year completely worth it. And to the approximately 450 people in the audience, thank you for supporting The Musical Autist and Studio 39 with your presence, your donations, and your standing ovations!
To the Chair of this event: Andrea Bertrand, who is also on the Board of Directors of The Musical Autist, WE DID IT! We are off to the races with Jam and Joe coffeehouse!
To my fellow colleagues on the organizing committee: Jan Reed, Paul Dembowski and Carolyn Sonnen, thank you for sharing with me in this labor of love and talent.
To the AACPS teachers and AACC professors who played major roles in the performance: Lian French (stage manager extraordinaire!), Alexander Rothschild, Molly Fullerton, Brian Shatt, Ian Wardenski, Helen Smith-Tarchalski, Matthew Heist, Frankie Graham, Leo Hylan and many others.
To the wonderful community musicians who joined in on several ensembles and a very special thanks to Todd Bauchspies, our headlining artist.
To light and sound engineer, William D’Eugenio, a pro from DC stages like the Kennedy Center that brought our concert to the highest level of professionalism. And heartfelt thanks to our stage crew, two of whom are my very own brothers, Mark Ackerman and the punk/ska/reggae legend, Pablo Fiasco. Also my best friend, Laura Clime-Coates, who brought with her a wealth of experience from the Baltimore theatre stages. And Tarn Kelsey for his help back stage as well.
To The Musical Autist Board members/volunteers and Maryland Hall volunteers who helped in the front of house as ushers, at the will-call table, sensory quiet area and autism resource table.
To Michael Falkner, documentarian, and all on his film crew including LaTonya; also Robin Ungar, producer. I am so excited to see the documentary of In The Light, and believe wholeheartedly that it will help us to continue spreading our message of celebrating acceptance!
To our emcee from Maryland Public Television, Jeff Salkin, who helped us to create smooth transitions between acts by sharing interesting pieces of info about the performers and their numbers, and for your humor as well.
To our honorary Co-Chairs, County Executive Steven R. Schuh and Maryland President SunTrust Bank, Sam DiPaola.
To our state and local dignitaries, who recognized the importance of a first-time event like this in our community:
Maryland First Lady, Mrs. Yumi Hogan
Dr. Maureen McMahon, Director, Advanced Studies and Programs, Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Carol A. Beatty, Secretary of Disabilities, State of Maryland
Dr. Dawn Lindsay, President, Anne Arundel Community College
Kenneth Skrzesz, Coordinator of Fine Arts, Maryland State Department of Education
Mark Chang, Maryland State Delegate, District 32 Anne Arundel County
To our generous and supportive corporate sponsors, who have enabled both Studio 39 and The Musical Autist to reach our fundraising goals:
Presenting Level – Ray Management, LLC
Concerto – EnerG Wellness
Individual Donors – Peter Rosenwald | Mulen, Sondberg,Wimbish & Stone | Richard Sawyer | Jerry & Bonnie Parks | Beatty Development Group | Jan Zanger and Lighting Environments | Georgie & Ted Berkinshaw
To Maryland Hall for allowing us to rent your space on May 17th and 18th.
And last but not least, to my mom Carol Diachenko, and beloved husband Jim Shiloh, for giving me all the emotional support and baby-holding needed, to help pull off such a huge project like this.
I am forever grateful to you all!!!