I've always loved musical theater. Unfortunately, I can't carry a tune so I had to forget about singing in shows. I'm really bad at exact memorization (which is why I am reading this speech) so acting was out. I'm far too clumsy to make dancing my ticket into the theater. However, I CAN follow directions. When I learned that in exchange for pushing around scenery I could see all the performances of a production for free, a stage crew techie was born.

The Sudbury Savoyards is a very special group. In 1984, I wandered into a tech day to help out with that year's performance. At that time, almost all of the tech work was being done by Church members. Even though I was a stranger to the group, I was warmly welcomed into the community. I have found this acceptance to be a trait of the Savoyards that has been preserved through all of the changes that the group has experienced.

After only a year of working backstage with the group, David Larrick and Michael Cashman encouraged me to try out the role of Stage Manager even though I had no real training or experience in doing it. Through their tutorials and the patient teaching from a whole line of light board operators and technical directors, I eventually learned the job. This represents a second characteristic of the Savoyards that I cherish: As long as you are willing to try to something new and work hard at it, there are people here to encourage you to learn new skills and to push your envelope.

The last aspect of the Savoyards that I want to mention today is the sense of family. The Sudbury Savoyards is a rare place where one can watch school-age kids and 70-somethings working side by side on projects. I know of no other theater group where one can assemble 5 sets of mothers and daughters working on the same production as we were able to do for Gondoliers. Just as I have watched Betsy Osborn, the Olsen girls, the Powers girls, and my own daughter, Dara, grow up during successive years of tech days, I am delighted to see the next generation of Savoyards continuing with the group of cast members in this year's production who are under 20 years of age.

Finally, I'd like to thank the board for selecting me for this honor, and my family for being so supportive, and all of you for providing such a good home away from home for me during the last 30 years.

Bill Fisher
2014 Yeomen of Regard Honoree
March 1, 2014

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