Finding Patience shares the history of Holly Springs through song

Finding Patience shares the history of Holly Springs through song

Mural & Ting Internet sponsor all 14 performances of Finding Patience at Holly Springs Cultural Center, & created this spotlight to showcase the production

Back in 2022, a group of creatives in the heart of Holly Springs put on 14 performances of "Finding Patience," a musical showcase recounting the town's rich history. As a sponsor of the show, Ting Internet was allowed to go behind-the-scenes and document the the creative team's process.


Angie Staheli (Director & Writer): As this town continues to grow, the first thing I think is important is for people to try to recognize where the town started. Like, how did the town get to be where it is today? We come in the middle of this story of the town, and we don't see the beginning building blocks of a place that we live in. 

And I think to show respect to where we moved to, it's important to find out the history of that place. 

The story of Finding Patience is through the lens of a woman named Patience. She's a brave and wise soul who have watched over the town of Holly Springs for the last 175 years. The main themes include life and death, race relations, the evolution of those race relations over time, war. There are a lot of things that are really relevant to what we are currently going through. 

When we did this show in 2017, we were really grateful for the response. It kind of woke everyone up to local history here. And people didn't realize that Union troops came right down Avent Ferry Road and people just didn't really talk about it. 

So we were grateful that we had 11 sold-out performances, and then the pandemic hit. And over that time, there's a lot of things that happened in our society, a lot of opportunities we had to learn and grow—as a nation, as community members, as individuals—and it was an opportunity for me to dig deeper into local history, especially Black history, to try to understand more about the history that had been lost for a long time. 

Qualia Holder-Cozart (Lead Actress):
 There has been so much overwhelming, like, love and feedback and just desire for this show to happen. And I've just been watching it unravel over the last few weeks or couple of months now. 

And a show like this makes Holly Springs a trailblazer for acknowledging and witnessing and experiencing a history that they may not otherwise know about or even realize that they are a part of. And I think this town deserves to know their roots. 

Angie Staheli: Music has a way of just lifting the entire production, and it takes something that may be beautiful on its own, but it makes it magical, and it allows the audience to really connect with it. And we had a little bit of music in the first production, but this time I just wanted to raise all of it. And so I auditioned a composer and found Jeremy Phillips, who's incredible, and we put together a musical. 


The cast and crew rehearsing at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.

Jeremy Phillips (Composer): Musicals are about telling worthy stories about worthy characters, characters that deserve to be remembered. There is this amazing connection we can have with our own history when we see it on stage. 

Stories come alive when people sing and dance. It creates empathy, and it helps us to connect with each other and with ourselves. I think that this is extremely compelling for me as a storyteller, to be able to unpack the real history of real people who actually built the places that we're walking in, the places that we're living in, the places that we gather in. 

Those people had a profound impact on our lives, much more than any fictional character ever could. There is nothing more profound than empathizing and connecting with our own ancestors and with our own history. 

Qualia Holder-Cozart:
 The less we know about our history and the less we know about our past, the more likely we are to make those same mistakes. 

That's why it's so important for any place, right, to know and have an awareness of its local history. Because the more you know about it, the more you care about it, the more you want to take care of it, the more it matters to you. 

Jeremy Phillips: 
Finding Patience isn't all sunshine and rainbows. There’s tragedy in Finding Patience. It makes it uncomfortable sometimes to watch. It made it uncomfortable to write sometimes. But we have to make ourselves uncomfortable in order to have real learning and have real growth as people. And this is a musical where people will come away different. And I think that's exciting for me as a writer. And I think it's exciting for all the actors involved to try and come together and make something that will bring change and transformation to our community. 

Angie Staheli: There are so many people who are putting their heart and souls into this. We care about the message that we're presenting. We're passionate about the purpose behind the show, and that is to allow us to develop more empathy for each other, to seek to understand each other, to listen to one another's experiences. 

And hopefully through that, we can become more unified. 

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