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BEST BUDDIES MIAMI, OHIO!!!

Miami University. What ENERGY!!! Seriously. I should clarify that this is not the Miami that everyone is accustomed to. This Miami is a bustling little college town in rural Ohio and I have to say that Miami, Florida better watch its back. Miami, Ohio is coming in REEEAAL hot. 

March 9th, 2019 marked the 5th year of the Best Buddies Awareness Concert, an annual event that has become a staple on its own but also coincides with “spreading the word to end the word” campaign (more info on this can be found at www.r-word.org). This is the second year that REVOICED has been a part of the B.B.A.C. at Miami University and the energy was infectious. The crowd was much larger than last year and even crazier. Though a bit rainy and unpleasant outside, inside was a plethora of fun, laughter, inclusion, and great music in the Wilks Theater. 

Kicking off the night was the Best Buddies Friends Choir performing The Muppets & Jason Segal’s Life’s A Happy Song and Lean On Me by Bill Withers, which they brought such life and enthusiasm to each of these terrific songs. It was such a pleasure to watch them have a great time from the wings of the stage. Oh side-note, Bill Withers is one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to any of his albums, do yourself a favor and listen to his 1971 & 1972 albums straight through from start to finish. Just As I Am and Still Bill; so funky and perfect. Do it. Do it now. 

Anyway, Up next were some lovely and inspirational regards from David Quilleon and Catlin Layton, the Vice President of Best Buddies International and Ohio State Director (respectfully). David, being the VP of BB International has been at almost every event that we’ve been at. He’s like the energizer bunny; he’s always go, go, go. Aside from founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver, David is the relentless heartbeat at the epicenter of the organization. You never know where this guy is going to pop up but when he does, his infectious smile and attitude can bring light to the darkest of days. 

After David and Catlin delivered some really inspiration words, the comedic improvisations of Miami Univeristy’s sketch comedy troupe called Sketched Out (www.sketchedoutimprov.com) took the reins of the evening. Following the similar styles and genius of other troupes like The Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, Sketched Out evoked countless laughs from the audience with their own flare and hilarious personalities. Through skits and audience facilitated improve comedy, Sketched Out delivered their promise of “providing the funny to those in need”. Props to these students for being hilarious and funnier than I will ever be. I’ve taken a few improv classes and let me tell you, comedy is such a hard skill to develop and perfect. Whenever I try to make people laugh… 100% cricket city. When I’m just being myself and think I’m being cool, people laugh at me and immediately deflate my “Fonzy-like” confidence quicker than you can say… well, just about anything. Comedy isn’t my forte. 

Then one of REVOICED’s favorites of all time took the stage, the lovely vocals and piano skills of Ms. Marlana Vanhoose. We had the privilege of sharing the stage with Marlana last summer at the 2018 Best Buddies Leadership Conference at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Together, we sang Jason Mraz’s gorgeous ballad I Won’t Give Up to a sea of almost 3200 lit cell phone screens swaying in the dark. There’s no other way to say this, Marlana sings her face off and pulls at the heart-strings of every single one of her listeners. One of her most recent pair of listeners was The President and The First Lady of the United States. Before we took the stage, Marlana brought the house down (as she always does) by tickling the ivories to utter exhaustion along with her beautiful voice. Equipped with only her piano and sultry smooth vocals, she took the audience on a journey through song. We wish that we had some more time to prepare another song with her but I trust that we’ll find a way to work on something great together in the future for sure. She’s a pro in every sense of the word. She also just recently released her second album, which is so beautiful. You can purchase directly from her website (www.littlemarlana.com). After Marlana finished, then we were left to take the stage and do our thing.

Let me tell you this, since 2015, REVOICED has had the privilege to be a part of numerous Best Buddies functions ranging from their multi-million dollar fundraising gala and massive Leadership conference to small regional fundraisers in the Midwest and on the East Coast. However, the energy that pulses through the community at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is something on a whole different level. Most of the Best Buddies functions that we’ve performed at are wild, crazy fun, and super LOUD. Seriously. We wear in ear monitors while we perform and the ones that I have are custom molded to my ears and are block out a lot of the outside sound but even with this amazing ear buds plugging both ears, they don’t cancel out the joyous cheers of BB audiences. No way and no how. It’s so impressive and so much fun. To look out from the stage and see everyone being 100% true to who they are and expressing themselves in ways that only they know how in an all-inclusive/judgement free zone is one of the most beautifully heartwarming moments I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s moments like these that we live for and are shooting for day in and day out. So, a big thank you to everyone in the Miami University Best Buddies Chapter for including this group of goofballs and making us feel like family. Keep changing the world. – Chris –

#bestbuddies #bestbuddiesinternational #bestbuddiesmiamiohio #inclusion #love #endtheword #bestbuddiesohio #revoiced

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