Mrs. Barbara Whitney Holmes
Beth Hoffman '03: I think it's safe to say that uh uh Barb Holmes and the, and the performing arts at, at W T were absolutely fundamental in my development as a, as a human and uh as a productive member of society. Gosh, it's hard to know where to start with how WT performing arts and particularly Mrs Holmes positively impacted my life. I will always feel lucky to have had Mrs Holmes as a theater teacher in high school. We met in high school school doing the musicals together under the two leg of Mrs Holmes. You know, high school was a really complicated time. Ninth grade was a really difficult time for me. when the world was telling me otherwise, She believed in me and my talent when I doubted myself and I wanted to quit. I was definitely not the most talented. Mrs Holmes always has done such a great job of creating a place for everyone, I first like had my first interaction with Mrs. Holmes like I knew who she was, but I had my first like real interaction with her in eighth grade during the middle school musical production of Hairspray and Mrs. Holmes basically put me in drag. She put me in the dress, the wig, the makeup, the everything. And I now I jokingly say that Mrs. Holmes is um my drag mom. She created a space that was so uh welcoming and, and so focused on the creative possibilities of each student. My junior year we did the Brain from Planet X and I finally finally got my top number. My sophomore year merging back to the eighties. Nobody knew their lines and we're getting really close to the, the date of the show. She just sat us all down and she was like, you guys, what are you doing? You have to learn your lines right now when I was cast as Nicky's Right Hand in Avenue Q was a little skeptical, but it ended up being one of my favorite roles and Nikki's Left Hand ended up becoming a really great friend. Urinetown is still something that I look back on as probably one of the most positive theater experiences I ever had. It's not about getting all the Kelly Awards, which we did anyways, it's about making the best show you possibly can. From my standpoint, Winchester Thurston Theater is a department that prioritizes good stories. And the camaraderie that comes from telling them, I think the thing that made Mrs. Holmes, who will never be Barb, she will always be Mrs. Holmes. She just said, yes, no matter what it meant for, you know, her ability to find extra time and resources and ability to support it. It just, she just taught me so much about what it means to be an artist, what it means to love theater and not just like do it, it really helped my self confidence, really helped me learn how to be a team player. You know, there is really nothing about who I am as an artist today that I can't trace back to Barb Holmes. And WT. She is the reason I'm a theater director and professor and the reason I will always strive to be a better teacher and director tomorrow. Thank you Mrs Holmes. And I wish you the absolute best retirement. I love you, Miss Holmes. We always will. You're such a huge part of our lives. Thank you so much. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making me feel like a star even on my worst days in school. All right. Thanks a lot, Mrs. Holmes.
Please join us in thanking Mrs. Holmes and celebrating the arts at WT.