Chapter 17: Lora's Story
with Lora McCoy
Staff members aren’t the best listeners in church.
While the pastor was preaching I was usually thinking:
"Why did those tenors go haywire on the cotton-pickin’ high-note in the special. How many times did we rehearse that!?"
It’s hard when church is your business, not to let church become just business!
I took sermon notes to keep my mind from thinking through all I had to do.
One Sunday evening the pastor was preaching. I have no idea what the sermon was about. I only remember hearing him say:
“And there they hung: Two thieves and a savior.”
I snatched my paper and wrote down what I knew was to be the title of the next script. Soon I started writing it.
Since we were also writing an original youth musical to tour, we purchased great published music and tracks and wove it into the script for “Two Thieves and A Savior.”
It was Easter, 1993. We were over-our-heads in rehearsals, set, costuming, etc., preparing to open the Friday show.
On Wednesday, we were still having problems with one costume change that the choir just could not make. Rebecca was bumfuzzled. She directed the show but also performed in it.
That night I could see Rebecca’s wheels turning. I know the look! When she gets quiet and sort of squints her eyes and goes into a blank stare - it always means: Get ready! Change is coming!
I got it!! What I needed was a great soloist, who didn’t have to have a music track, and a song with a lot of words!! YES!! Birdie is going to play her guitar and sing, “He’s Alive!” YES!!
BIRIDE – Did I mention it was Thursday?
We tried it! It worked like a charm!
Now, all the while this was going on, another story was unfolding several hours away. I’ll let Lora McCoy tell that story.
I was a graduate assistant with the women’s basketball team at Eastern Kentucky University. That’s right where I wanted to be on my professional path.
My parents moved to Pikeville, KY the same year as Rebecca and Birdie and joined their church. My sister joined their youth team and loved it!
Mom kept telling me about her music director who reminded her so much of me. I figured it was just another attempt to get me back in church. I had accepted Christ as a child but I had grown further away from the Lord. By this time in my life, I didn’t have much use for church.
That year I missed mom’s birthday. Bad move. She was hurt. So the next time Mom said her choir was performing, this wayward daughter agreed to come see her mom perform.
I left after Friday classes and barely got there in time. The church was crowded. Toward the end of the performance, the stage went empty and a spotlight came up on a woman with a guitar. It didn’t take but a second to recognize that this was the one they told me about. She looked like ...ME!
Playing the guitar beautifully, she started singing “He’s Alive.” I LOVE music and she was really good! She sang with passion and conviction.
Something started happening inside me. I tried not to let the people around see but I started crying. She was me as she sang out, “when at last it came to choices, I denied I knew His name...”
I cried all night.
I knew I had to change.
The next morning, bright and early, I went to meet Birdie and Rebecca. They were different from the “religious people” I knew. They had something real – something that mattered. Something I craved. They took time to talk to me and included me in what they were doing.
It made all the difference in the world to me.
Things changed drastically for me. I went back to EKU and accelerated my degree program then moved to where Birdie and Rebecca were. I knew that was where God wanted me to be!
After that, I told everyone I met about them and their show! And that is what I’ve been doing ever since.
From that time Lora never left our side. She has loved us unconditionally. There has been nothing too hard, too dirty, too long, too self-sacrificing for her.
She became our right arm. She has been key to our success. In fact, there have been times we wondered if she was really real or maybe just an angel that we could see.
We ended up performing TWO THIEVES AND A SAVIOR many more times. It became the first show we opened with as NarroWay Productions.
A random phrase from a preacher...
A last-minute song to make room for a costume change...
And that morning long ago, when the doorbell rang and the girl with tear-stained eyes on the other side said, “Hi. I’m Lora McCoy.”
We didn’t know that God was introducing us to the future Theatre Manager for NarroWay Productions!
That was my senior year, and one of my all time favorites! I remember those days like they were yesterday. In my mind, I can still hear Birdie on stage singing that song while we scrambled to get changed! (That was back when "pegging" your pants was popular...and that takes time! lol) And, I remember when Lora became part of the CrossRoads family. It's great to hear she is still part of the NarroWay family! -Shannon Deskins
Each of you entered my heart many years ago and were a huge part of helping me raise my children Beth and Drew Privette. So Thankful to God for those years!
Love you all. Debi Johnson (aka privette)
It's not yet 6am on Saturday but I can't sleep. Red cast opens GAT today. I am blessed to have found "Lora's story" this morning. I never thought to ask how she came to be involved with, and so dedicated to, Narroway. In my mind, she has just always been there, the backbone of every show. Knowing how God orchestrated a series of unrelated events to form an unbreakable bond between these 3 women makes it clear that anything is possible with God. Lora, if I may be so bold as to speak for 300+ cast members, we love you!!! -- JR