In the Making

Summer 2010 pt 1.

Posted by cjaxon on August 2, 2010

This one’s mostly for the people back home, who perhaps haven’t known where I’ve been all summer, and almost definitely don’t know what I’ve been doing. Let me say, it’s been a long summer, but not much of a break. Mostly just “not-school.” Except that I was even taking classes, so it was school too. Here’s what’s gone down. (And it’s pretty long, so I’ll split it into two posts.)

For starters, SARAH AND SPENCER GRADUATED!!! I made a quick trip down to see them walk. Well family, this is it. The Von Vancils have all grown up, and our collective childhoods are over. It’s bittersweet, and I hope all the best for the future. As tight as we’ve been so far, I don’t see us having a problem keeping in touch.

Adult Von Vancils!!

My summer has fallen into three major categories: work, shows, and class. In May (on Cinco de Mayo, no less) I started working at a coffee shop called the Beatnix Cafe. It’s a nice spot midtown, right across from the church I go to, St. Luke’s UMC. The really cool part is that it’s only a 15-minute bike ride through safe neighborhoods, so in may and june I was able to save alot on gas. (I mean, thanks Timothy for lending me the bike.) I’ve learned all about making different coffee drinks: pulling espresso shots, steaming/foaming milk, etc etc etc. I’m not a total coffee snob yet, but I am alot more skeptical of Starbucks… I hear they can do everything automatically, or at the push of a single button. Where’s the love in that? Also, I love working the opening shifts, which means I have to get there at 6:30 to be ready to open by 7. Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but I love seeing the world wake up, and getting work done early so I can have the rest of the day to myself. And, practically speaking, I needed that so I could go to class/rehearsals/performances in the evenings. And, let’s be honest, I’d rather go in the morning and make the mess than come in the afternoon and have to clean up someone else’s.

The classes and shows were kind of paired together. In April/May we rehearsed Smokey Joe’s Cafe, which is such a fun show. It’s a musical review of 50’s/60’s doo-wop and rock by the guys who wrote songs for Elvis, among others. The irony of working on that show is that almost all of the cast admitted that we would never sit down just to listen to that kind of music, but we had a blast doing it. There are no real characters or plots, just one song after another, with several dance numbers. My favorite was probably “Saved,” the Act I finale, because of the Southern Gospel, revival-style music and dancing and De’Vin’s amazing fierceness. There are all kinds of fun stories about carpooling with Justin and John, ridiculous quick-changes, stuffy dancing jumbo suits, wardrobe malfunctions and mic problems. We also noticed what a positive experience it was – we all really clicked well and got along. (Still waiting for a plan for reunion-kareoke…) You can read a review of our production HERE.

The cast.

It’s been an entire month since the show closed, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.

In May/June I took a class called Into to the Bible as Literature. I was more receptive than I thought I’d be. I found it really interesting; it was all about how the Bible as a book was assembled, and theories as to who may actually have written different parts of it. The best part is that because we were trying to cram it all into a summer session we never went so in-depth as to get bogged down and boring. We covered a new topic each week: the Torah, the Prophets (former and latter), the Writings, the Gospels, Paul’s letters (and which ones probably weren’t his), and Revelation. As a result of the class I’ve been challenged over the past two months to reconsider how I view the texts so central to my faith. It’s been interesting as I continue to read and think in the back of my mind “Now think about who wrote this, and who they were writing to, and for what purpose.” This applies more to the Old Testament than the New. It’s also important to know the traditions that gave rise to the different books in different genres. It’s something I’ll have to continue learning about for a long time, and I probably won’t ever fully understand.

To be honest, one day a few weeks after the class ended I had a bit of a spiritual panic, because I realized just how much I don’t understand, and how little I can really know. It’s difficult to explain. In a nutshell, consider this: What if the stories in the Bible didn’t actually happen? What if it’s not what it says it is? But it can still be true. I’m not one to say definitively either way. There are many very intelligent people on both sides of the issue. But it’s definitely worth confronting and considering. It was a difficult concept for a while, and felt like getting the rug pulled out from under my faith. The good news is, I’m fine now, thanks largely to Wendy (a friend and pastor at St. Luke’s), Matt (a coworker at the Beatnix), and the grace of God. (Whatever that means to you ;))

In the midst of all this, I still sang in the choir and worked with the youth at St. Luke’s. (Only slightly ironic, huh?) We finished Sunday evening activities by the end of May. Because of everything else going on, I wasn’t able to go to any of their camps or trips, which was disappointing. But I enjoyed at least seeing them on Sundays – if I’d gotten jobs anywhere else I wouldn’t have seen them at all. I absolutely love working with them, hanging out, just talking, seeing them grow up little by little. And it’s given me a whole new perspective on the men and women who worked for First West’s youth group as I went through. I have so much more appreciation for the investment they each made in me.

I also took as many dance classes as I could: ballet with Mary, Tap with the grad students, and Jazz at Amy Reynold-Reed’s. Talk about an awesome butt-kicking! I considered it a success if I could just keep up in her class. Another cool thing this summer was getting to visit with everyone at the OCU music theater summer camps, especially the one and only AARON BROWN! He was back in town for the summer to direct the Jr. High camp in Once Upon a Mattress. Since I worked as a counselor for the Jr. High kids last summer I went to see their final rehearsals, and went several times to eat (for free) in the caf with the counselors.

It’s seemed like each month has gotten longer and longer, which is a very good thing.  May (Bib Lit, work, and Smokey Joe’s rehearsals) absolutely flew by. June was more interesting. I finished Bib Lit halfway through, but started Spanish. Smokey Joe’s went into performances on the weekends, but High School Musical went into rehearsals Monday-Fridays in the afternoon. I turned 21 on June 2, but didn’t party at all. In fact, it was a very unglamorous “Welcome to the Real World” – I finished a paper, had ballet, four hours of work, and a tech rehearsal. However, it’s also presented me with new questions, which I think I’ve done a good job of answering for myself. Ask me some time if you’re curious.

So there’s the first half of my summer! This still can’t convey everything that happens in two months of any person’s life, but there’s the broad overview. I’ve clearly stayed busy as always, which should be no surprise to those who know me. But I’ve also relaxed as well as I could. I got a Netflix account this summer and so far I’ve watched the first seasons of Ugly Betty and Pushing Daisies – good life choice.

Tune in again later for the second half of my crazy-cool summer. I haven’t even gotten to the gossip about the roommates. (Just kidding guys. But seriously.)

– Chas

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