On April 1, our longtime beloved board member Cyndy Stiehl will step down from the board after 26 years of service. We hope you enjoy these thoughts about Cyndy’s incredible legacy.
As Cyndy Stiehl prepares for the curtain to close on her long tenure on the Northern Sky Board, Northern Sky Theater knows it has been fortunate to have a legacy of strong leadership. At Fred Alley’s request, Mary Seeberg and Cyndy Stiehl both joined the board when it was formed nearly three decades ago. Before that moment, Mary was a volunteer organizing the volunteers and Cyndy was no stranger to volunteering. Both were longtime fans.
Mary and Cyndy lead the organization through joyous growth, a name change, the building of a second stage, The Gould Theater, and an unanticipated global event. While Mary served as chair for 23 years, Cyndy has said her two years serving as chair, which began on April 1, 2020, at times felt like 23. Both women agree that Northern Sky Theater has come a long way from the days of selling tickets out of a cigar box.
Reminiscing about her years with Northern Sky, Cyndy fondly recalls the early days, when the members took turns hosting the monthly board meetings. Each meeting began with an ‘open mic’ time for board members to share favorite lines and songs they experienced from the benches at then American Folklore Theater in Peninsula Park.
Cyndy remembers a consultant working with the theater once remarked that she had never worked with an organization that laughed so much. While laughing, Cyndy pointed out that it is exactly that joy that keeps the board members showing up to dedicate their many hours of time and love to Northern Sky. For Cyndy, perhaps her favorite memory is of hosting the first public readings of Northern Sky favorites Guys on Ice, which is marking its 25th anniversary, and Cheeseheads! The Musical. Both shows will be returning to the Northern Sky stages this summer.
New Chair Heidi Ling has been thrilled to pick up the mic from predecessors Mary and Cyndy. Heidi has been a fan since she attended a show in the very first season of the Heritage Ensemble with her parents and little brother while camping in Peninsula Park. Heritage Ensemble soon became American Folklore Theater and is now Northern Sky Theater.
Heidi is grateful that Mary and Cyndy haven’t gone far, as they continue to volunteer and provide good counsel. One tradition of her predecessors she is bringing back is open mic time at board meetings. Heidi feels strongly that it is always important to enjoy and share the favorite show moments together, because it is the “context for everything we do.” All three women agree that laughter is what it is all about.