Ken and Miya Noblezada
When his daughter, Skylar, auditioned at NarroWay and was cast into a solo at 8-years-old, Ken Noblezada had no intention of being on the stage. Being a child, Skylar had to be accompanied by an adult, so her mother, Miya, came into the cast with Skylar and two of four siblings. “I never thought of joining the cast until the directors asked Miya if I would be open to being a Roman soldier," remembers Ken. "They promised that I wouldn't have a speaking part.”
That "promise" was relative. Perhaps it should have said, "We promise you won't have a speaking part in Belarusian."
Not only has Ken had multiple speaking parts in the English language, he has also been cast to speak in Apache and Spanish. And as an ensemble member, he has sung in Greek and Hebrew.
A lot has changed in the 15 years since Noblezada was introduced to NarroWay. His entire family eventually joined the cast. Now, two daughters live away from home and a son lives on campus at college. Fifteen years ago, daughter Kira was an infant and Sedona was two. Now, they are teenagers, along with younger brother, Jaiden. The six Noblezada children range in age from 13 to 26. “All of them have grown up on stage," notes Ken. "Performing has given them confidence and brought them out of their shells.”
This photo from earlier days shows all six children and Miya. From left to right: Megan, Miya holding baby Jaiden, Kira, Skylar, CJ and Sedona.
With a full performance season behind her, Skylar on stage at 9 years old.
At 6, Sedona was reluctant to join the cast immediately, but did soon thereafter. At 17, she is still highly involved on the NarroWay stage.
Kira was only an infant when the family first became involved. Now at 15, she is a NarroWay soloist.
Miya has been active from the family's initial introduction to NarroWay and son Jaiden, now 13, has never known life without the stage.
Originally from California, Noblezada now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina. The family has nearly an hour drive one-way to the NarroWay Theatre. And mind you, they have been doing so for 15 years. While others may be daunted by that commitment, the Noblezada family has capitalized upon the opportunity. "Because of the distance we traveled," says Ken, "we were able to form tight bonds, since we had to practice, eat meals, and go over corrections in the car.” And he adds, "Harmonizing for the siblings got stronger."
Often, members of the family are cast to sing together, such as in this funny scene from "The Real Christmas Story."
Jaiden and Kira harmonize together on "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" in "The Real Christmas Story."
He admits that he doesn’t know exactly how his family balances their schedule sometimes. But he lives by this philosophy: “Make time for God and He'll make time for everything to come in to place.”
Recently, Ken and Miya almost moved their family back to California. Ken's work group was eliminated at his job. As a result, he was laid off. He found himself at a turning point. That is when he decided to turn his pastime into his profession. An avid photographer for many years, Ken took those skills, marketed his business and is now a professional photographer. (knoblezadaphotography.com) "I used to be on the road for a one or two hour commute to work everyday," he recalls. "I now work from the comfort of my home and God has been blessing my family and I with work that has gotten us by the last year and a half."
From pastime to profession, photography is now Noblezada's career.
Through the good times, bad times and times of transition, Noblezada always holds the responsibility of fatherhood high. To him, being a father means that “God has trusted me to be the caretaker of my family and I get to be a father to some talented kids that have taught me more about life and His love.” When asked what advice he would give to young fathers, he speaks from experience: “In times of trouble and despair, always lift your arms to Him. Always look at the blessing He's given you. The bad things that do happen, just makes you stronger. They give you the ‘I've been there’ conversation to others that are now going through it.”
Since his debut as a Roman soldier, Ken has played a number of roles on the NarroWay stage, ranging from the comedic to the solemn. Ken, Miya and their three youngest children, Sedona (17), Kira (15) and Jaiden (13), are currently in rehearsals for "Samson: the Last Judge." The show opens August 4. Ken plays the character "Phineas," one he was able to develop as a member of the original cast. The role is one of his more comedic parts and Noblezada enjoys the funny nature of the character. In contrast, his roles in "Lord of Light" and "Geronimo" are more solemn.
Noblezada as the famous Apache, Geronimo
Noblezada as "Phineas" in a funny scene from "Samson: the Last Judge."
Noblezada and his family are also on stage in "The Fourth Cross" and "The Real Christmas Story." He appreciates the community and fellowship they have found. "We didn't just become part of the NarroWay cast but part of the NarroWay Family."
A veteran of the United States Airforce, Noblezada has been married to his high school sweetheart, Miya, for 27 years. In his "free" time he enjoys hiking, traveling and visiting Carowinds with his family. In addition, he is always ready to meet up with MINI Cooper club friends to talk about cars.
Although he never had aspirations of being in the spotlight, Ken Noblezada is quite at home on the NarroWay stage.
Noblezada as a wiseman in "The Real Christmas Story"
Noblezada as a biblical character.
And he is quite appreciative of the positive impact on his family. "Even though I was reluctant to be part of the cast at first, I can't imagine not having NarroWay in our lives," He concludes.
What part will he play next? Who knows? Maybe he should start learning Belarusian.