Wildly Welcoming


Students in Coker’s Summer Theater Camp rehearse “Be Our Guest.” The musical will be performed for the public at 7:30 p.m. July 18 and 19 in the Performing Arts Center.

Hospitality in its most beautiful form — real, happy and wholly irresistible — seemed to be everywhere this week.  It was wild.

On Tuesday, I arrived at work about an hour early, but I wasn’t the first to get there.  A lovely and welcoming box turtle had parked herself in my spot. True to natural herself and making me feel great about the day, she stayed just long enough for me to get a Facebook picture, before we each went our separate ways.  She traveled to the “north woods” by our lot and I went to my pretty new office upstairs.

When I booted up the computer, one of the first notes I read was about the great folks at Coker College’s Kalmia Gardens hosting children in what the Messenger’s Ardie Arvidson, describes as “a walk on the wild side.”  (Take time to look at the piece, if you haven’t already.  It’s an outstanding program and the photos are Pinterest cute.)

Later that day, I received a call to let me know that WTBW News 13 was on campus doing a feature on Coker’s Summer Theater Camp.  Students aged 6 to 16 are busy creating a fully-staged production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

So, yesterday, just to see the action for myself, I popped over before lunch.  When I got to the theater, the young actors were discovering the nuances (and apparently the terrific fun) of being authentically angry villagers stomping through the forest.  When I poked my head all the way around the theater wall so that I could see more clearly, Professor Fields approached me with a completely surprising question — did I want to see them perform a particular number?

Those who know me will not be surprised that I asked them for the most “hospitable” song in the musical.  Clearly relishing the opportunity to have their service “put to the test,” within seconds, all of the students — the forest stompers on stage and the campers in the auditorium seats who were waiting for the next scene — rushed cheerfully to their positions and promptly performed a gloriously choreographed, full-throated rendition of “Be Our Guest.”

I can’t wait to see the the show.  It will be held at 7:30 p.m., on Thursday, July 18 and, again, on Friday, July 19 in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $3.  Student members of Coker Enactus will sell roses at the door for patrons who wish to offer a floral tribute to their favorite budding actors.

Today, in honor of the welcoming, child-like spirit of hospitality and service that I deeply admire, I’ve made gentle teapot sugar cookies.

Be my guest!


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