by Andrew Hoover
I’ve always been a big fan of art. From bright colors on canvas to beautiful photographs from a camera. Of course, being a disc jockey…I adore all kinds of music. Growing up, I loved to play pretend; one minute I was a doctor, then a firefighter and then the mailman. Naturally in about 2nd grade, I told my parents I wanted to try out for a play at the local theater. I tried out for a basic part, like “solider 2” or something. It had like 2-3 lines…I BOMBED it. Like didn’t even get a call back. I was devastated, never tried that again…or at least for awhile.
Fast forward to middle school, I started getting more into music. I started playing the trumpet, I liked it a lot. But after a few years of struggling…I couldn’t read music. So I stopped. At this point, pretty bummed at the whole arts thing. I liked to think I was artistic, But I couldn’t draw, or act or play music. I guess that makes me just a supporter.
At 16, I started in local radio…this gave me a small way to let out some of my imagination to create something. I was told by one of my radio mentors Dave Snow, that radio is a “theater of the mind.” Ever since then, I’ve made it my goal to create a fun and entertaining show. I felt like a theater actor…protected behind a microphone in a room where nobody can see me. I had some major stage fright that I found out soon into this job (probably why I didn’t get that role in 2nd grade…hmmm).
I had to learn to deal with the stage fright. My job required me to talk on stage in front of people sometimes but I couldn’t not be awkward. Well fast forward to Summer 2018 when two community activist I admire; Andy & Amy Dudas started what would be the Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts or DIVA for short. I was intrigued. I started following them on social media as they made their dream come true.
Soon enough, DIVA was up and running and forming an improv troupe. I asked Andy & Amy if I could join…little to my surprise they said yes. Our first day of learning improv, I met a lot of new faces. All from different backgrounds, different ages, interests and thoughts on what to expect, thus the Department of Improv was born.
The first day, I was instantly SOLD on being an improv star. Amazingly, I feel natural on stage with my fellow members. I feel like I can finally be “artsy fartsy”. I have a talent and I can make people laugh! Together, the Department of Improv at DIVA has created a new and hilarious thing to do on the first Fridays. The group has come so far as a whole and so has DIVA. Recently, DIVA purchased stage lights and a house speaker system for shows and events.
But I’ve also grown. DIVA has created a space where I feel at home. I see my new friends, and we create memories and laughter every time we get together. I’ve got something to look forward to and something I’m proud to be part of. I got over my fear of stages, and found an art to craft and thrive in.
I owe that to DIVA, it’s a true gem in our community. No matter your craft, or what you define as art…DIVA is supporting you just like it supported me. THANK YOU, DIVA.
Andrew Hoover 6/5/2019
Andrew Hoover is an award winning Radio Personality and Social Media Director at Whitewater Broadcasting. He proudly works with many non-profits in his community as a self proclaimed “community activist.” With a strong love for the arts; including being a troupe member of the Department of Improv at DIVA.