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Mamma Mia in a small town


Members of Vanderhoof's Mamma Mia the musical performance pose in costume.
Members of Vanderhoof’s Mamma Mia the musical performance pose in costume.

In 2018, I had the unique opportunity to work with a number of my Vanderhoof colleagues in a community musical theater production of the hit movie, Mamma Mia.

Without prior knowledge of my colleagues’ hidden talents, I auditioned, only to find several of them were also involved in the production in various roles: chorus, leads, costume design, band members, backstage crew, and more.

As it turns out, talent in rural medicine is not limited to the hospital or clinic, but extends into the fabric of the community-focused, small-town lifestyle.

Having worked with so many driven, career-focused individuals in medical school and residency, it was easy to forget that there are other things in life beyond medicine.

Who knew that by joining a busy, full-scope rural practice, I would get whisked away with a group of super creative and outrageously musically inclined friends?

It exposed me to another side of rural medicine that I couldn’t have anticipated: “science geeks” can have a wildly artistic and creative side.

Despite our busy lives, we all managed to find time to join other community members to put together what I think is by far the best musical production of Mamma Mia outside the Silver Screen.

Whenever my children sing songs from the play or I talk about the production with friends, I remember how the stress of our day-to-day lives in the ER or clinic melted away when we were on stage.

The shop talk was left at the door as we joined our cast and crew and focused on delivering the best team performance of Lisa Striegler’s inspired interpretation of the musical.

Several months have passed, and it’s still hard to believe that the collective and passionate journey from first auditions to performing in front of a sold-out audience is actually over.

The pressure of gruelling practices, memorizing lines and dance moves, and remembering where to stand all paled in comparison to the uplifting solidarity and camaraderie of the Mamma Mia family.

Although this chapter has come to an end, every time I greet one of my fellow cast members in the community, I have a deeper understanding that we are family and have shared a sacred experience.

Performing in the production of Mamma Mia has enlightened me to the strong and unwavering love within the town of Vanderhoof. It is my pleasure to serve and be a member of such an amazing and welcoming community.