Friday, September 27, 2013

Over the Rainbow: A Tribute to Debbie Kirsch

Yesterday,  I lost one of the best friends I ever had-Debbie Kirsch.  Debbie wasn't my best friend in the typical sense.  We didn't talk on the phone every day.  We didn't go out shopping or have a girls' weekend away.  In fact, months could go by and we wouldn't see or speak to each other. But Debbie had a way of becoming your best friend-everyone's best friend. I think it was because she believed in you. So you believed in her. Debbie had more friends than anyone I knew, and everyone was her best friend.  And Debbie was everyone's best friend! But it never seemed as if anyone got jealous because there was more than enough Debbie love to go around! She had a way of making every person feel important-to the world, and to her.

Debbie battled lung cancer for several years, and fought the good fight. I'd like to take a sidebar today from my usual post, to pay tribute to my dear, dear friend. To my usual readers:  You probably don't know Debbie, but today's post is for those who may not typically read my blog--for their healing and encouragement. These are posts taken from Facebook.  I guess I could find the biblical parallel here, for my daily readers who know that I write sort of modern day parables--I guess you could say that Debbie was a bit like Jesus--He is everyone's best friend and everyone is His best friend!   And there is more than enough of Him to go around! Oh, to find that quality in others that we see and they don't-the one that can only be drawn out with patience, love and encouragement-that's what Debbie did for each of us who knew her-what a privilege to have that gift! May we all be like that.

For the Hexagon Community:  Please make sure you see and listen to the links at the bottom. The Annie cast grew to hate this song, but may you always think of Debbie when you hear it. And of course, there is the rainbow for the Wizard of Oz cast-that magical rainbow!  And anytime you feel sad, this blog will be here in the archives. And please...share this on your Facebook page as a tribute to our wonderful Debbie!

Our community family suffered a great loss this morning when our friend, Debbie Kirsch, passed away. She has been battling cancer for several years now, but she was so determined to live on, all of us assumed she would be here for many years to come. If you knew Debbie, you believed in her...including her obstinance. She insinuated herself into our family, often turning my children against me -- but just for sport (and to prove she could). She was all things to community theater in Mendham: creative genius; chief inspirer; delegator extraordinaire; head noodge. She is the reason our daughters love theater. I met her as Mr. Bumble, performed last for her as Mr. Bumble, and always knew my talents were a bumble compared to hers. No one will ever be able to take her place. And the final joke is on us -- now hundreds of US are reaching for the tissues. Well played, sweet friend. (Glenn Thompson)

Today my heart is breaking. I say goodbye to one of the most amazing woman I have ever known. My mentor, my director, my friend, Debbie Kirsch. Words cannot express what she has done for me in the past 5 years that I have known her. If it weren't for her and her faith that I could get up there and perform and sing and be all those "blonde" characters, I wouldn't have the confidence i have in myself today. Confidence to push a little further and dig a bit deeper. courage to believe in my talents...I know I not only speak for myself, but for the hundreds of adults, teenagers, and children that she has touched. Hexagon Players is no Broadway, but it is our family. We all accept each other and have grown so much and in so many ways. We have made friend ships that will last a lifetime. We have reached goals and found dreams that otherwise would've never been possible. Thanks to Debbie and her love of musical theatre and family and friends, we have all been able to have our dreams come true! You were our core, our heart, the best! Debbie, my heart will always hold a special place for you and any time I stand on a stage, paint a backdrop, or watch a show, it will be you I'm thinking of... I love you Deb!!!! (Gina Clavelli)

I am so saddened to hear about the passing of a woman who I so fondly looked up to. She was my mentor, my friend, my director, and one of the sweetest people in the world. She never failed to keep us all smiling or having fun or to come see us in other shows. She was so dedicated to Hexagon Players and she was a great inspiration to me. From Peter Pan, to Children's Letters, to 13, to Annie, I will never forget her smiling face and her love for all of us. I loved her so much and I am so sad to have to say goodbye. Rest in Peace Debbie Kirsch and like Glenn Thompson said, now we're the one's wiping our eyes. I love you♥ ...
(Sara Giacomini)
(I love Nicole's comment): Very Nice Sara... we actually all looked down to her  ... but she was a true inspiration! She knows u loved her... She loved all her children... Young and old alike
Rest in peace Debbie. I know that the angels are leading you in. You were an amazing mentor and you inspired me to be the best performer I can be. You had faith in me when I was so young and you always supported me in everything I did. I loved you so much and I am so saddened to have to say goodbye to such a beautiful person. I love you. (Sara)

My heart has broken a bit more today... I felt you leave this world in my soul... I felt your goodbye... my dear friend, Debbie Kirsch... I will miss your smile, your laughter, your heart, your kindness, your love, your encouragement, your loyalty... I will miss the magic we made on stage despite what seemed like impossible odds... I will miss everything.  ...Every performance has been and will be dedicated to you. You were a pillar of strength. I love you.I'll always love you, Debbie... I live to make you laugh and smile. You always make me smile. We've created some fantastic shows together... priceless memories. Cannot even describe the joy I feel knowing you have been a part of my life.(Nicole Spadafino)

Words cannot even begin to explain the impact this woman has had on my life. She was so dedicated and loyal and really a great inspiration to every person she met. She fought so hard for the past few years and I know that she will always be looking down on me  I love you Debbie Kirsch and you will always always be remembered in everything I do (Kaitlin Quann)

Just found out that a good friend and amazing stage director died today. Debbie Kirsch will always have a dear place in my heart. I so wish I could've had the chance to tell her how she brought a floodlight into a rather dark time in my life. (Jennifer Bliss)

A sad goodbye to an amazing woman, Debbie Kirsch. I am so grateful to have had her in my life these past few years. She reignited my love of musical theatre. I am honored to have worked with her. Debbie influenced so many people through her love and dedication to Hexagon Players. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Debbie. I love you and will always remember your warm smile and hearty laugh. You now have the best seat in the house to watch all those performances. (Lori Quann)

I miss my friend (Cathy Malmstrom)...(and Glenn Thompson's response): Four words and you made me cry, Cathy. We'll call the tissue trick "Kirsch' revenge".

Debbie was such a good friend I remember the first time she came to audition for Hexagon. Over the years we worked on so many plays together and had many laughs and good times. (Nancy Bay)

I was amazed by her dedication to the productions, but more so to the children. I will definitely miss her!  I was privileged and blessed to know her for the short time that I did. She certainly was an inspiration to me, and to those who worked with her, especially the many talented youngsters who she helped hone their talents in her productions. Many have gone on to bigger and better things in the theater world.(Brian Flaherty)

My dear friend, you will be missed by all who knew you and loved you. Memories of all that we shared through out the years flood my heart and mind, make me smile and laugh (and tears) . We've been through the good times, the bad times and everything in between and we made it through because we had each other! You will always be with me! (Andrea Yelllin)

My very happiest memories of living in Mendham will forever and always be my involvement with the Hexagon Players. Sadly, today, the final curtain has come down on the earthly life of our beloved director, Debbie Kirsch, who has been bravely battling cancer the last few years. Her life was cut short way too soon, but the number of lives she managed to profoundly touch during her life, adults and children alike, many of us can only dream of doing in a lifetime twice as long. Thank you, Debbie, for EVERYTHING, especially the magic. Whenever I see a rainbow, I will always think of you. Through our tears and heartbreak, we take comfort in knowing you have found Solla Sollew, or Never Never Land, or whatever that lovely place is over that rainbow, where we know the Sound of Music will never, ever die.... We hereby give you a standing ovation.....(Mary Riker Kornick)

Wow, well said, Mary.  And finally, my parting words to Debbie:
She fought the good fight. She ALWAYS fought the fight, good, bad or indifferent. Once she made up her mind, nothing would move her! Debbie lived for theatre and I can't even imagine how many lives she touched in her life, how many kids she caused to love musical theatre. Anyone who worked with Debbie became family. Although she never had kids of her own, she loved every kid she ever worked with. She saw something in each kid and had a way of drawing it out--she did that with adults too. Miss Hannigan changed my life and it was because Debbie knew I had more nastiness than I knew I had..well, maybe it's more like she allowed me to let that side out! And for someone who never wanted her picture taken, I have to laugh at all the pictures of her on Facebook! What a wonderful woman. She will be greatly missed because she was greatly loved.  I love you Debbie! I hope you're flying over the rainbow with the bluebirds!

Tomorrow (Annie): For Debbie
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me)

(Just a note:  I would LOVE comments, but I think you have to have a Google+ account to comment.  If you want to create an account, please feel free to comment!)

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