Meet the Lemerys
Posted Dec 16, 2016
When they moved back to the area in 2004, Christi and Shawn Lemery visited the Fox Cities P.A.C. primarily for date nights out. When Christi’s favorite childhood story, Mary Poppins, was coming to the Center, the Lemerys decided to make it a family outing, bringing their children Maya (then 4) and Brendan (then 8).
“We all loved it! Brendan was interested in how they made Mary Poppins fly and was amazed at the set designs and how quickly they changed scenes. Maya was thrilled by the whole experience, beginning with the (Community Engagement Activity) held before the show,” Christi explained. “Shortly after that we purchased season tickets to the 2012-2013 Broadway Season, and have continued to make that a priority ever since.”
Since then, the Lemerys have made trips to the Center part of their family routine and shortly after their first season, got more involved with the Center as Annual Partners.
“Just a few months in to our first Broadway season we received a personal letter from then-President Susan Stockton, expressing her excitement at 5-year-old Maya being the youngest Season Ticket Holder she knew of at that time. She also invited us to consider becoming an Annual Partner,” Christi said. “By that time we’d already recognized the fantastic value of bringing children to the Center. We had attended the Blue Man Group, Elf: The Musical, and The Addams Family. Additionally, our friends Zoly and Kathy Kadar, who are also Annual Partners, had invited us to join them in the Partners Lounge before a couple of performances. They explained the benefits to us and the benefits to the children in our community from our donation. We didn’t have to talk long to decide it was a great thing to do!”
Shawn added, “I feel that it is important to give back to the community that we love and help enable the children in our community to experience something we love so much.”
Now age 9, Maya loved seeing Newsies. “It’s my favorite show and I think you should do it again,” she wrote. Brendan, who is now a teenager has not only enjoyed performances, but has had the opportunity to perform on stage himself during the All City Strings Festival.
“I really enjoyed Wicked because of all the effects and the great singing. I liked Once for the music and the closeness of the cast. The puppetry of War Horse and Lion King were amazing. I also liked the history I learned from War Horse and Motown the Musical. Additionally, I play the viola, and the oboe, so I especially enjoyed going to the Fox Valley Symphony when Itzhak Perlman was there,” Brendan said. “Moreover, I love music so I loved going to see the (globalFest – Creole Carnival). Finally, one of the best experiences that I have had in my life has been performing on the stage of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for my school orchestra.”
Christi and Shawn both agreed that even more important than enjoying great shows, its prioritizing the time they spend together learning about and experiencing new things that makes visiting the Center special for them.
“We so look forward to our family nights at the P.A.C. It is more than just the two or three hours of any given show. When we are able, we enjoy dinner before the show, or a late-night slice of (Sal’s) pizza after the show,” Christi said. “We talk about our reactions to the performance or the story line. Some of our best conversations came after Motown the Musical and All Is Calm. Both of those shows provided opportunity for great teaching and discussion both in preparation for attending, and after. We listen to, and sing together, music from shows we have seen. All of those shared experiences make our family stronger.”