The Order of the Arrow Shows Committee, known for professional quality and powerful messages, once again delivered a winner in the 2006 National Order of the Arrow Conference opening show held in the Breslin Center at Michigan State University Saturday night. In pre-show festivities the audience was encouraged to sing along karaoke-style and Maluhia Lodge of Hawaii was promoted into the National OA Committee's reserved seating. And even a few lucky Arrowmen got seats in the Order of the Arrow Skybox (which comes complete with micro suede chairs, refreshments, and two attractive female hostesses).
Legacy was a recurring theme at this year's opening show. As the show began, the stage was set with two oversized, different-colored iPods. Two youth Arrowman, one older youth and one younger, discussed their contrasting opinions on what to do at NOAC this year. As they disagreed on things to do, so did their musical battle of iPods as they used different songs to communicate their feelings. Later in the show, an older adviser took the stage with the older youth and once again demonstrated their differences through their tastes in music. 8,000 Arrowmen were entertained with the musical battles featuring songs by artists such as Outkast, the Grateful Dead, and the Beatles. Specifically, the older youth Arrowman used the song "Complicated" by Avril LaVigne to describe his lodge adviser while his lodge adviser told him that dealing with youth often made him want to "Shout" (playing the song of the same title by the Isley Brothers). In the end, they realized that their differences were not as far apart as they thought when they played two versions of the same song, "I Will Survive" (originally by Gloria Gaynor and more recently rerecorded by the band Cake). It was a dramatic performance reminding all that although times and tastes change, the message and our legacy remains.
A solemn moment in the show took place with the installation of the 2006 national chief, vice chief, and region chiefs of our Order. While all of the officers still stood on stage, the traditional parade of lodge flaps from all over the nation flooded the stage and arena floor. Every lodge had the opportunity to let one representative carry an oversized flap among the hundreds of other lodges of our Order. With the lodge flaps still on stage, Sean Murray, National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, led the conference in the OA Obligation which was followed by the National Anthem. On behalf of our organization, Sean then received proclamations from the the City of East Lansing and the State of Michigan hand-delivered by MSU's own mascot, Sparty.
National Chief Sean Murray addressed the conference in a touching speech about his life, missed opportunities, and why we as Arrowmen do what we do--cheerful service. He told his story of losing his father to distance at an early age, and finally taking the opportunity to reunite after over 14 years through their joint involvement in Scouting and the Order of the Arrow. Following Sean's speech the region chiefs promoted OA High Adventure program opportunities and the National Order of the Arrow Endowment fund.
The legacy of our Order comes in many shapes, sounds and epochs, much like the music presented throughout the show. All Arrowmen were reminded, youth and adult alike, that although they may not quite speak the same language, they all share the same overall goals and ambitions--to continue the perpetuation of the ideals of our Order: Brotherhood, Cheerfulness and Service.