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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – California Credit Union League Public Relations Spokesman Mark Lowe never intended to sing or dance in a musical, but last year he found himself doing just that. Lowe’s interest in community theatre began when he moved closer to League offices, and needed an activity to replace the time he had previously spent commuting. “I didn’t try anything until I saw auditions for `Twelve Angry Men’, because I knew that play wouldn’t have any singing or dancing,” Lowe said, “And I thought to myself, `now there’s one I can do’.” After a few non-musical productions for a local community group The Fontana Mummers, Lowe was recruited to replace a departed cast member for a musical production in nearby Chino. Normally, musical auditions require a prepared number. Lowe was unprepared, so the director asked him to sing “Happy Birthday.” Lowe had more musical talent than he thought, because the next thing he knew, he was performing song and dance numbers in Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”, a production with a reputation for being difficult for professionals, much less community players. “It was my first time on stage singing, and not only that, I had to dance, too,” Lowe said. “It was very difficult, because it had an odd tempo, with several key changes and time changes.” Next, it was back to Fontana in early 2005 for a role in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Lowe was cast to play the role of piano-playing Schroeder. However, when the director quit and took several cast members with him, board members asked Lowe to take over as director. “I thought it over,” Lowe said, “And when they couldn’t find anybody else to do it, I agreed.” Lowe soon discovered that directing was far more difficult than performing. “It was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done,” Lowe said. “There was always some new crisis.” Lowe said he’ll take a break from theatre for a while, but will likely perform again. “In real life, I tend to be fairly shy and reserved person, you wouldn’t think, knowing me as a person, that I’d be this guy who would get up onstage and do a song and dance number in front of complete strangers,” Lowe said. “But I enjoy it because it’s an opportunity to express yourself in ways you normally wouldn’t in your professional or personal life.” -

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