June and the Lyric Arts Theater
- Published on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 18:36
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
June and the Lyric Arts Theater of Anoka
June and Stan were first introduced to the Lyric Arts Theater of Anoka in the year 2001. The Lyric Arts Theater was at that time in their early and beginning or formative years…The founder and the Executive Director was Lin Schmidt of Anoka...For June and Stan, the Lyric Arts Theater became a lifetime love affair.
Life is full of causal and connecting links that in turn result in events and experiences that have lasting impacts on our lives…We were first introduced to the Lyric Arts Theater by way our friends Doralene Lekas and Leola Connery. These kindly and friendly Greek widow ladies were newly made friends from the Branson Christmas tour that June and I had participated in only a few months earlier in December of 2000.
By checking a pocket calendar that I used in the year 2001, I found a notation that I had made on Sunday March 11th 2001, indicating that June and I had met Dorallene and Leola at the Lyric Arts Theater for the first time on that Sunday in March of 2001..Playing at that time was "The Red Shoes.". This play was based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of 1845 and some magical red shoes...
Thereafter, and using our initial Branson friendship as a springboard, we developed a fim and a lasting relationship that evolved into frequent and regular joint visits to the Lyric Arts Theater in Anoka…we made the most of the Sunday scheduled shows and productions of the Lyric Arts theater to foster and build that relationship and that friendship.
I also noted that I had made a notation on Sunday the 27th of May 2001, that following a show at the Lyric Arts Theater we had all adjourned to Doralen's home for a serving of homemade waffles...
The Lyric Theater Plays, Shows and Productions for 2001
1. ”Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-Coat”…Feb 2-25, 2001.
(This was the Lyric Theater’s very first show at this theater location.)
2. “The Red Shoes”… March 9-25, 2001
3. “The Miracle Worker”…April 20-May 6, 2001
4. "Cabaret Night" (2nd annual Fishing Widow's Cabaret}
5. "Stuart Little" (Children's show based on a Children's book.)
6. “Cinderella” July13-29, 2001
7. “You're a Good Man Charlie Brown”… August 10-19, 2001
8. “The Odd Couple” September 14-30, 2001
This was at the time of the World Trade Center terrorist attack…The theater debated whether they should do the show at this time of national tragedy.
They decided that perhaps the good humor of the show was needed to brighten the spirits of the public following the World Trade tragedy. It was well received...
9. "Help, Grandma! My Neighbor’s Dracula! " (World Premiere)
10. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” December 2001
Photo Note: The Lyric Arts program shown above right was the oldest of 5 programs that June had saved in an old dresser drawer...June wrote the date of attendance in the upper right. (April 28th)...although June and I started attending in the year 2001, the only programs June saved were from the year 2002. This one was from the production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
One of the early shows/plays that June and I attended was "On Golden Pond". (Setember 2003) This was the story of a daughter and her father and their lake vacation home. It was also one of the adaptations of a very successful and popular film/moview by the same name...as a part of the story was the father's slow journey into the early stages of Alzheimer's...I recall being concerned about the possible negative impact or effect of this play on June who was also at that time on a similar journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's...June seemed to enjoy the play and none of my feared concerns appear to surface as a result of the performance.
It was in March of 2005 that June’s Alzheimer’s progressed to the point where June required the care of an Alzheimer’s facility…our mutual attendance was then interrupted…I opted to also drop out and spend my Sundays with June at the Nursing Home…
When June went home to heaven in October 2008, the remaining three of us gradually resumed regular Sunday attendance once again at the Lyric Arts Theater…but this was only for a short time…during this period of time, June was very much in our memory and with us in spirit…this arrangement was however, very short lived…
Age had taken it’s toll on our attendance together…Leola’s health started failing and she passed away in the year 2012. Doralene was eventually unable to drive…Both sisters are Christian ladies, so I assume that June and Leola have connected in Heaven and are laughing it up together as in their picture above...
A few years ago I began attending the Lyric alone…I was however, attending every production change…this included buying season tickets and more…I actually went every month whether the show or production changed or not…for me, every attendance became a sentimental Journey as June was in my heart and on my mind throughout the performance…
Beginning in the year 2009, and continuing to the current time, June’s name has appeared on every printed program for every show or production as a annual charitable doner to the Lyric Arts Arts...The donations are in "In Memoriam" for June and are specifically designated for “Support of Lyric Arts Children's Programming.” June was always one that loved little children and I am sure she would enthusiastically endorse this use of her life savings...
(June's view of stage as seen from Box seat 3-2 - the stage is set for the play "Boeing Boeing" July 2015...photo on right)
When June and I first attended the shows together, we used to try to get front row center seating…June loved to interact with the performers…eventually we migrated to box seating as such seating was more comfortable, spacious and relaxed…there are 2 seats in each box…for the last few years now I have always purchased reserve box seats in Box No. 3, seat No. 1, located on the right side of the theater near the front…this overlooks the stage…for several months I have been bringing June’s framed picture with me and placing it on the other seat, No 1…June really is with me at the Lyric…
Most of the time this other seat is open so that I can utilize it for June’s picture…normally couples do not want to split seating between the 2 person box seats...however, on occasions of sell out crowds, this seat will be purchased and used by another patron of the Lyric…
June's personal Lyric Arts Tickets
A few months ago, Lin Schmidt, the founder and her husband Steve, started buying the tickets for the other seat No. 2 in Box seat 3 and donating them to June to ensure that June always sits with me every month when I attend a production
Photo of Lin and Steve appears on the right. Photo taken during a vacation at their northern Minnesota lake retreat...
Lin has also arranged with theLyric Theater ticket office to issue a ticket in June’s name for the other seat…so June now has her own ticket issued to and for every monthly Sunday show or production that I attend…
June's name June K. Berg, Box 3, seat 2 appears on each of her Lyric Theater tickets …
Lin was also kind enoough to take the above picture of me standing behind June's framed photo on her chair in box seat 3-2...
June and I have been blessed with great friends that allow us to continue our Lyric Arts Theater attendance together…thanks to Lin and Steve for their generosity!
Prayers to God for June’s Spirit to join me at the Lyric
I have started a prayer procedure for each and every time that I attend the Lyric Arts Theater productions with June’s picture in the seat next to me…
I am asking God in prayer to permit June to join me for the afternoon’s performance…a request for her to join me in spirit…while I have no way of determining if God grants this prayer request of not, it is my belief and my hope that he does..
I am not talking about ghosts…I am talking about June’s spirit and soul that resides in heaven with Jesus and God…God can create a spirit and project a special presence of June as a gift from him…but that gift is not June wandering about the earth…a presence that is difficult to explain...sometimes it may be reflected in the appearance of birds...it could be similar to the vision that my friend Reverend Erma had of June presenting her with a rose a year after June’s death…(this Story is on June’s website under the title “June’s Faith – Crossing Over"…)
Photo Notes: Top Center photo is the Lyric Arts Theater in Anoka, MN. Top right photo is June with her new Branson friends (L-R) Leola Connery, June and Doralene Lekas...photo is at our home in March 2001, following a day at the Lyric.... Photo No. 3. is June's framed picture seated on her own box seat No. 3-2 with Stan behind her chair. Taken on my birthday June 14, 2015 at the play Boeing Boeing. Photo No. 4 on right is June's view from box seat 3-2...stage set for Boeing Boeing. Photo No. 5 in lower right is Lyric Founder Lin Schmidt and her husband Steve....Bottom center...tickets for both June and Stan with Box 3 and seats 1 and 2.
Bessie Peery - Nashville, Tennessee - (23 March 2015): "what a wonderful and Blessed...this is such an amazing story,...enjoy your posts, I know June is so proud of you as she looks down and sees all the good work...are doing for her. God Bless you on your journey, thanks so much for being a friend, also thanks to HTH for providing such a wonderful page that gives us so much joy."
Helen Webster - Barnsley, United Kingdom - (2 July 2015):"I totally adore reading your posts I wish I could find that special one for me like June was for you."
Toots Scudder - London, United Kingdom - (3 July 2015): "As usual Stanton, another wonderful story, and as always filled with love for your June."
Janet Ashenden - Derby, United Kingdom - (3 July 2015):"...Thank you for another insight into your wonderful life with June."
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (3 July 2015): "I enjoyed this story enormously Stanton...(15 September 2015):"Wonderful read Stan....you have a way of making your stories so interesting....I actually visualize your day as you write it...and June would definitely have been right there with you in spirit ...but then June is with you at all times in your heart ....take care and God bless Stan...(12 June 2016)...So glad you had a good time at the theater Stan .....I think I know the comedy you mean....the film version I loved...and I used to watch the sitcom with jack Klugman...I think it's so special that June is with you in the theater....what lovely people to issue June's ticket too...I've just read your link and as usual it was an enjoyable read...take care and God bless Stan."
Vea Flood - Spring Hill, Florida - (26 July 2015):"What another wonderful story Stanton as I know she was with you during the show and always...thanks so much for sharing!!... had to go and wipe my eyes as it brought tears to them"
Tabatha Sturkie - Rock Hill, South Carolina - (13 September 2015):"Oh Stan, your most words that come straight from your heart and precious times spent with June always makes me smile. Thank you."
Robin Stewart Stone - Charlotte, North Carolina - (14 September 2015): "I know exactly what you mean when you talk about June's spirit being with you. I feel that about my mother, that she's with me at certain times. I believe June is with you too. So happy about her seat beside yours. What a wonderful couple to give you such a gift. When you give your testimony, people who don't even know you want to pay for your meal, so I can understand someone that knows you wanting to do something special. There are just people that share themselves with you, and share their life story. You, sir, have a great story that most everyone would want to hear. I know I love every bit of it! Take care, Stan!"
After an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" As June lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield, it was God's Angels that ushered June into a Heavenly Kingdom to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and into June's new home, a "Mansion on the Hilltop", where there is no pain, nor illness nor tears...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website in the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - just Click on: