**Companion Resources Newsletter**
edited by Paul D. Leichty
Volume 1, No. 5 May 1999
Greetings once again from your connection between technology and community!
There are many changes happening at Companion Resources. Most of you know by now that we have a new web site on our own domain and a new e-mail address. I will tell you more about that later in this newsletter.
In my March 1999 newsletter, I promised that some day I would tell you more about the Jesters. That day has come…but actually, I’m going to let someone else tell you about the Jesters.
I am honored to present my daughter, Renita Leichty. Soon to graduate from North Side High School in Fort Wayne, she was on the editorial staff of the student newspaper for three years and a writer all four years. In the fall, she will be pursuing a career in journalism as a “Fellow” in the Center for Contemporary Media at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana.
In the darkened auditorium at the University of Saint Francis, aspiring young actors deliver their lines on the musical’s opening night.
“What was that brown stuff, anyway?” queries a girl about her camp’s food.
“It was peanut butter!” is the punchline, delivered by a slightly anxious young man, tall, thin, with unruly light hair and glasses that won’t stay up. The audience laughs.
Shakespeare, it’s not. Some of the lines are delivered in a mutter, too fast, too loud, or not at all. But that doesn’t seem to matter. Because my brother is up there, proclaiming to the world that Camp Werdehekawee serves peanut butter in their spaghetti, and that’s something I never thought would happen.
If you questioned the parents of these young thespians, they might say the same. “My child, on stage? Never would have thought it.” Some are natural hams, others love to sing, some are shy or nervous. Together, they are the Jesters, a drama troupe made up of mentally or physically disabled individuals ages 6 to 30-something. And together, they are on stage, making us laugh, and in the end, making some of us cry.
Every year, Jim Didier and his co-workers have written an original musical (although they do occasionally get re-used) and fit the parts to the abilities of his charges.
Every year 30-some individuals gather on Saturday mornings from September to February to learn their parts. They sing, they play, they enjoy themselves.
Every year, it looks like things might not quite fit together, and Jim runs around frantically trying to fit everything together.
And in the end, it all fits. The end product may be rough around the edges, but it is still beautiful and whole.
At the end of every show, the entire cast of the Jesters sings a song called “If Just One Person”. This song, which may or may not have originated in a Charlie Brown musical, ends with the heartfelt
and when all those people believe in you
deep enough and strong enough believe in you
long enough and hard enough
it stands to reason
you yourself could start to see what everybody sees in you
and maybe even you
could believe in you, too.
And for the last three years, at the end of the show, my mother sits beside me and the tears well up. Whatever the original intent of those lines, the song fits perfectly with what the Jesters have accomplished.
Every year they get a standing ovation, and every year, they deserve it.
My thanks to Renita for giving us such a wonderful glimpse of what the Jesters means to our family. And you can be assured that the mother and sister of our family actor aren’t the only ones in the family with tears in their eyes at each performance!
The Jesters is a unique experience of special people sharing their gifts with the community!
[Note of 11 January 2007: Unfortunately, the pictures that were available have been taken down.]
Companion Resources is certainly on the move! Perhaps you aren’t aware of all of the resources that we now offer. Now it all starts at one easy to remember address:
Paul D. Leichty
Fort Wayne, Indiana
“People Using Technology Building Community”