Time is, as the Psalmist says, “an ever rolling stream.”
It moves quickly and brings change and new creation. Yet in the midst of the constancy of re-creation are the rocks that change much more slowly, remaining steady in the midst of the flow. Lisa Hartley and Kathleen Isberg represent those metaphorical rocks in the history of Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, a non-profit organization established in 1989.
Lisa Hartley is one of a small group of creative souls that combined their considerable talents twenty-three years ago to put on a theatrical music production in the junior high school gymnasium entitled “Radio Show.” The show included music of the 1930s and 1940s and stories from that era, along with a large cast of singers and dancers. This group had so much fun doing it, they decided to produce a sequel that included music of the ’50s and ’60s. It quickly became apparent to many what this small group already knew, that musical theater is a fun activity.
But this group of artistic community innovators wanted this community theater to have more of a specific purpose and focus. As educators, they decided to become a non-profit group that gave its proceeds to provide scholarships for students who wished to major in music. They called themselves, “Pagosa Springs Music Boosters.” Time and community support have allowed Music Boosters to expand their giving to include equipment, costuming, musical instruments, and even temporarily provide the salary for a music teacher; but their mission has remained consistent- to help kids.
Kathleen Isberg came to the Music Boosters board five years later, lending her abundant musical and theatrical talents to the mix. Both Hartley and Isberg have served the board in every conceivable capacity during their respective tenures. Theater people know that there is a long list of tasks to be done when it comes to putting on a show. Once the decision is made what the next production will be, the real fun begins. There has to be a production director, a music director, set designers and builders, a choreographer, people to take care of publicity, to provide technical assistance (lighting and sound), sew costumes, sell tickets, hand out programs, and provide concessions. The list of volunteer needs is endless and the board members have to coordinate all of this. In addition to that, decisions must be made as to how the proceeds will be allocated, how to keep the organization financially healthy, and most importantly, make sure that the organization is living up to its mission to help kids.
“Like most non-profit organizations, Music Boosters has had its years of feast as well as years of famine,” says production director Dale Johnson, herself a 10-year veteran of Music Boosters. “There have been times when the dedication of these ladies and their tireless work has been the energy and glue that has helped keep our organization going. Neither of them would retire from the board without being assured that Music Boosters’ future is quite secure,” she said.
Both women have given their talents as actors, musicians, directors and musical accompanists and have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make certain that Music Boosters remains a Pagosa Springs institution, devoted to strengthening youth through performing arts and adult mentorship. Though neither of them imagined for a moment that their volunteer efforts would continue for decades, if you asked either of them why they have served for such a long period of time, they would probably tell you that the bottom line is, “It’s for the kids.” Both are teachers and love the arts, body and soul. They have dedicated their lives to bringing the arts to young people, teaching, inspiring, and leading by example.
Both Hartley and Isberg have retired from the Music Boosters board, but they will continue to volunteer their service. Music and theater are in their blood.