From a C.R.O.W. student during "Frozen Jr.":
"Melanie, Thank you for everything you have done for me! You have been there by my side ever since I was a little telegrammer. You were my childhood and you helped me be who I am today. Thank you for believing in me. To be honest, I felt like I wasn't good enough to play my role. But I realized that I have worked so hard for this moment. I am happy to be a part of the C.R.O.W. family. C.R.O.W. has made me an amazing person and it is my home."
From a C.R.O.W. Parent during "Frozen Jr.":
"Melanie, Man has it been refreshing to be a part of something where the leader expects a lot from people, yet leads with such empathy, love and grace. I really appreciate the opportunity for my kids. You are making a difference! Kids need to know that they bring joy to this broken world and that they matter. Thanks for sparking that joy and belief into this town."
From The Executive Director of Spruce Point Assisted Living & Memory Care:
"I wanted to send you a message with sincere thanks for the short performance that your troupe provided for our residents last week. It has been a long time since we have been allowed to have entertainment and I know it has been something that our residents truly missed.
What a talented and professional group of young performers. They were mindful of the restrictions we have in place with distance and Hand-washing rules. Please let us know when we might be treated to such entertainment again. I know that residents and staff would enjoy it very much."
Sincerely, Nikki Saunders, Executive Director
From an audience member at "The Holly Jolly Follies":
"Hands down, C.R.O.W. does the best theatre in Florence. We have seen lots of shows in our day, and this is by far the most entertaining. They made us laugh, cry, and put us in a wonderful mood, just in time for Christmas. Thank you, C.R.O.W. for all you do for our community. Florence would not be Florence without you!"
From an audience member at "The Wiz":
"Took my oldest daughter on 4/7. She had already watched it for a field trip but was so excited to go again. What an amazing and talented group! Well worth it to go watch. Can't wait for the next production."
From a teacher at the Elementary School:
"Thank you C.R.O.W. for inviting Siuslaw Elementary School kids to come and see your incredible production of The Wiz! It was beyond my expectations! You always put on an amazing production, but EVERYTHING about this show was OUTSTANDING! The incredible caliber of your leads and their vocal talent, the phenomenal costuming, the Flight team was beautiful and mesmerizing in all of their acts, the sets and the special effects were spectacular and had all of the kids in awe! Each and every cast member added to the extraordinary show! Thank you on behalf of every one of my students and myself. I am still in awe of the Broadway caliber performances by so many of our young community members! Melanie Heard, please let your cast and crew know how much this show was appreciated and how proud we are of each and every one of them. Florence, Oregon is so lucky to have CROW in our community. <3 Florence, Don't miss this show." - S. Graham
From an audience member of Opening Night of "The Wiz"
"This production was truly spectacular. We will never miss another one. Loved every moment. Such talent. AWESOME. Made me cry tears of joy and happiness for all these young talents."
From a C.R.O.W. kid:
"In the past, I was a very shy kid. For some reason, I just didn’t get the, “flow” out of conversations, having a really hard time maintaining them. I’m still working on it to this day to be completely honest! C.R.O.W. Has given me that courage to just talk, which is a very needed skill to be successful in life. Also being up on stage for a majority of my life has taught me how hard work does pay off at the end. A very positive way to develop as a child! It also shows that if you make a mistake, just go with it! I’ve made soooooo many mistakes on stage and every time I do and go with it, it helps me grow as an actor and even a person! So, coming from someone who’s been acting almost their entire life, even though it’s a very stressful task/job, it is worth it."
From a C.R.O.W. parent:
"Tonight, my child was invited to rehearsal for the Community Choir Concert. She confidently sang her song, and spoke at length about her involvement in C.R.O.W. I couldn't be more proud of the little lady she has become. Thank you, Melanie, for your part in this, and for providing her with this opportunity. My heart is full."
From a C.R.O.W. teacher:
"About three months ago, I moved from a bustling city to a small, quaint town called Florence, Oregon. It was a scary transition for me as I had no friends and little family in Florence. I soon came to realize that none of that mattered.
I began teaching hip-hop at C.R.O.W, a non-profit that I believe is a vital organization in this community. Everyone that’s involved in this organization gives back to the community mainly through arts, but also through volunteering their time and amazing talents. There isn’t enough good I can say about this program that originated and grew in the small community of Florence, Oregon. Congratulations to you Melanie Heard for starting and continuing to build such a great organization for this community!"
From an audience member:
"WHAT THE SHREK DO WE CARE? A lot. Florence, Oregon, cares a lot about its kids and the arts. That's why Florence supports CROW, a local organization that invites kids to participate in the lively arts. CROW presented its annual musical April 15, 16, and 17 -- "Shrek The Musical Jr.: -- four jam-packed performances at the Florence Events Center, and it was a spectacular production -- inventive costumes, delightful sets, wondrous special effects such as the fabulous fire-breathing dragon, lively music, laughter, song, and dance, and a cast of 50-some enthusiastic children choreographed to perfection. It was a spectacular performance, eructations and Rat Pack Tappers notwithstanding. Congratulations to everyone involved including the talented cast and their extraordinary mentors, especially CROW director Melanie Heard who believes the arts matter and has instilled that belief in the youth of Florence."
From a teacher at the Middle School:
"As a teacher at our local middle school I've witnessed first hand the difference CROW makes in the lives of our children. CROW kids not only learn to sing, act, dance, and perform on stage, they also develop essential skills that transfer to their daily lives. They gain confidence and make lasting friendships of all ages. CROW kids receive high caliber experiences in the performing arts, and it's free! This is unheard of. I am grateful that CROW has landed in our small town, and that my own two children consider themselves part of the CROW family. "
From a C.R.O.W. parent:
"Melanie, I just wanted to say GREAT job in the directing of Shrek Jr. and thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my children and granddaughter the experience of a lifetime. They were all AMAZING and the experience alone was such a great and memorable milestone of confidence that they all needed and deserved. You are such an AMAZING & big hearted beautiful soul and I admire you so much. Thank you for being you."
From an Audience Member:
"Bravo Melanie and the entire C.R.O.W crew. I have personally gone to every production since C.R.O.W started in our community. I'm in awe how year after year you put on a first class production. The amount of incredible talent in the cast, the costumes were so colorful and well done and the artwork in the sets and backdrops were amazing too. I loved how whimsical the script was and how much the audience reacted to the musical. Please extend our congratulations to your cast and crew for a top notch performance all the way around! Can't wait till the next production. They might need to expand the FEC!"
From a C.R.O.W. Volunteer:
"I've watched many kids grow, thrive and excel as a result of CROW. The CROW family is devoted to the children of this community and to enriching their lives in many ways. Melanie is a tireless, fearless, creative force in this endeavor. She and CROW deserve all the support they can get!"
From one of C.R.O.W.'s volunteer production team members:
"I just needed to put my 2 cents worth in. The hard work and dedication I see in every single CROW kid, every crew member, every production team member and more than just a few parents (you know who you are!) just blows me away! Almost everyone does more than their share, stepping up to volunteer for more, trying to make things better for all. The communication and cooperation is so wonderful to see. People make an effort to get along, get things done, be nice and keep things peaceful for the greater good.
And the kids always amaze me with the way they all get along and support each other. The older ones taking care of the younger ones, taking the time to really listen and talk to them, and include them. It makes my heart sing and gives me hope for a future of caring, responsible, creative, productive, hard working, humble citizens.
#gocrowgo #crowkidsarethebest #ilovecrow #crowrocks"
From a Letter to the Editor:
"We in Florence are so fortunate-the Oregon Coast, our public library, City Lights Cinemas, and what may have started off as a diamond in the rough, Children's Repertory of Oregon Workshops (C.R.O.W.), now a certified gem. Their production of "Shrek"-last weekend was a sparkling, spectacular success. The audience applauded in unison. Way to go, C.R.O.W. and thank you." - Rae and Pat Stutzman, Florence
From the Dean of Lane Community College, Florence:
"Congratulations on another outstanding youth performance. Your young people performed very well and obviously loved being part of the show. The costumes, set and special effects were over the top. I especially liked the "water feature." It was obvious that you and your wonderful production team are instilling in these children a sense of pride in their work and discipline necessary for performing. That will stand them in good stead all their lives--and they will have terrific memories as a result of their experience. Thank you for being a wonderful part of the Florence community."
From an audience member:
"I took my 4 yr. old granddaughter to the show. Not sure if I had more fun watching her, as I did the show. We will be back to see more shows ! Great job!!"
From a CROW parent:
"As a parent, who has been involved with children's theatre for twelve years, I recognize the many benefits of a well-organized and produced theatrical production. I watch children learn, grow, laugh, struggle, encourage one another, and work together. They become part of a magical creation which in turn becomes part of their own life's story.
I am deeply grateful that (my children) and all the children involved had this incredible opportunity. In addition, many parents enjoy new friendships, and an expanded sense of community. I know performing arts offer nourishment for our soul as well as a connection to one another through shared experience.
When I was preparing to move to Florence from Portland, I recall people saying, "your kids won't have any opportunity in a small town." Thank you for opening nights and opening doors."
From a local journalist:
"C.R.O.W. was my very first story when I began working full time as a journalist in 2015. At that time, Melanie and the CROW board were making plans to move into the CROW Center for the Performing Arts. We sat in the living room of the CROW costume designer and heard about CROW's big plans, and even bigger heart. From there, I was invited to attend rehearsals and capture stories and photos of Florence-area youth practicing, perfecting and performing their art. Now I volunteer with CROW whenever possible, whether that is being a model zombie, scaring guests during the Scare-CROW Haunted Maze, painting sets with CROW's amazing set designers or wherever Melanie needs me. That's the joy of CROW. It's a family. It's our family."
From a local elementary school teacher:
"Again I want to tell you what an amazing show "The Music Man Jr." was. I loved every minute of it and didn't want it to end. Congratulations to you and all the cast and crew. I feel sad for anyone who didn't get to see it.
Thank you also for not only giving our students the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing production, but also for inviting the Elementary Students to see it. After yesterday at school, I knew I needed to write to you. I was walking down the 4th grade hall near the end of school and heard a group of fourth graders (not cast members) singing "Shipoopi" and just minutes later in the breezeway followed some elementary boys (not cast members) singing "Gary, Indiana!" It touched me that they were taken by the show as well, and thought you might like to know the incredible impact you had."
From a "Letter to the Editor":
"Florence was treated to a spectacular show at the Florence Events Center when C.R.O.W. (Children's Repertory of Oregon Workshops) presented "The Music Man Jr." Meredith Willson's iconic musical especially geared for youngsters. Directed by the incomparable Melanie Heard, Florence's kids did the show proud, singing, dancing, and acting with dazzling exuberance, all within two hours. Egads! There's so much more to say, such as the delightful, colorful costumes of early 20th century Iowa and the wonderful painted sets...At Intermission, members of the Siuslaw High School band played lively tunes from the show, while theatregoers enjoyed ice cream sundaes. Suffice it to say, there was no trouble in River City. Florence kids triumphed with spot-on performnaces thanks to the stunning expertise of Melanie and her accomplished associates, and everyone had a good time. Shipoopi!"