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Featured Fan: Rev. Kate Dennis

Submitted by on September 22, 2011 – 12:00 am2 Comments

Full name: Katrina Dennis
Nickname: Kate
Age: 55
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Occupation: Interfaith Minister;  Licensed Spiritual Director and Counselor (PhD)
Favorite Rick song: “Written in Rock” and “Somewhere” (from Sahara Snow)
Number of Rick concerts: In over 35 years- probably a dozen.

 



First Rick encounter: 2007

The longest distance you have traveled to see Rick: 100 miles.

Your Rick Story: I was assaulted and raped in 2003,which left me with permanent physical injuries.There was also a lot of emotional stuff I had to deal with in the aftermath- flashbacks and depression.I went through a very intense period of therapy and recovery, but physical contact made me recoil- I didn’t want anyone touching me. I couldn’t even go into my congregation and pass the Peace because I didn’t want to be touched.That was about the time that SDAA was released, and I was getting actively interested in Rick’s music again. (I believe we all go through life with a soundtrack – I certainly do – and that music becomes a part of your spiritual tool kit, it helps to make you who you are by forming your values and defining what matters most to you.) My therapist was working with me diligently, and we had made a lot of progress, except I wasn’t over the touching thing and I couldn’t get angry- all of my upbringing and theological training told me otherwise, to understand and be forgiving, so even though I had a lot of shame about the attack, I never had a bit of anger. SDAA is an angry album, by Rick’s own admission, and I played it over and over. Lyrically, it’s a great album, but none of the lyrics applied. What got through to me helping to shrug off the depression, was the sonic vibe of anger underneath the music. Rick has no idea how many nights we stayed up drinking coffee and being pissed off and angry together! When I finally got to meet him at a sound check five years ago, something wonderful happened- I allowed him to touch me. You know how everyone is headed down front to have their moment with him and get their picture taken? Well, I was hanging back trying to figure out how to get out of the room without being noticed. I’d gotten a book of Celtic devotions for him, and scribbled a four line note thanking him for his music being there when I needed it…I managed to give him the book and a silly mechanical toy mouse in a coffee cup without incident, but I was literally freaking when it dawned on me that he was going to touch me for the photo. Rather than embarrassing myself, I decided I would slip out quietly…but Rick saw me, realized that I didn’t get a picture with him, and called me over to him. He put his arms around me and pulled me in close for the picture. My brilliant, inspired words to him were, “Hide me, I’m fat.”  I had gained 50 pounds on antidepressants and felt like a whale. As soon as the shutter clicked, I tried to back away – but he held on to me. We just looked at each other. I realized he must have read the note.  I am not one to become star-struck: there was no deep mystical moment, no stirrings of raging teenage hormones, just authentic connection… I felt safe. I grew up with this guy and his music said a lot of what I was feeling for a huge chunk of my life. I went to the ladies room and had a good cry because I knew the last crucial bit of what was holding me back in recovery had been met, and I was ready to get on with the business of healing.I’ve been grateful for that moment of connection many times since.

How do you feel about being cast as a feature fan? Hopefully, telling my story will help someone else realize that no matter what’s hurt you, or how painful something is, no matter how afraid you are, someone else has been there before you and survived. You aren’t alone and the only one, there is someone with you. I think there are so many people with stories to tell that being chosen as one among the many is at once exhilarating and humbling and I’m very honored to be a featured fan.

Where did the camera crew film you? Raleigh, NC – at home and at church with my congregation.

Why do you think you were selected to share your story?Many of Rick’s songs deal with spiritual issues and the journey, and I deal with that too as a spiritual director and professional counselor. I understand the spiritual part of the journey because I make it with people all the time, so I can articulate and re-frame in a way that hopefully makes sense. And…I’m a life long fan, but I’m not an obsessed fan. I’m grounded and balanced, but I can still get excited about the whole concert experience because I love the process all the way through to  the result. I worked for a time as a production assistant ( touring and TV)  so I have an understanding of the dynamic between fans and celebrities and what goes on behind the scenes that others don’t because of my experience.

What was the most memorable experience during the filming process? My favorite part of the process was doing the Q&A with Sylvia, because it made me formulate a more concise idea of what I get out of Rick’s music and verbalize it, which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It’s much more difficult when you know it’s going to be on film and seen by other people. It was a long day of filming,and I have a new appreciation for how much effort everyone from the producer and director to the camera operators put into the finished production.

Did you have any revelations you’d like to share as a result of being a part of this film? I’ve met other fans because they recognize me from VIP blog and the YRR Facebook page, and several have become friends.People email me now wanting to know what it’s like being in the film.There are others who just want to talk and feel comfortable discussing personal issues  with someone who understands where Rick’s music fits into their lives. Some of it is hilarious, and some of it is very sobering.I feel very privileged  that people have shared themselves with me in that way, that they trust me. I have to say there’s a surreal pseudo-celebrity to it that I’m not always comfortable with because I’m not used to being in the spotlight.I’m not an attention seeker, it’s more my nature to be a part of the team and work in the background.

How are you feeling as we are counting the days until the first official screening? I’m looking forward to meeting the other featured fans and getting to know them. It’s always interesting to me to see where the common link is in regard to how the music speaks to us and what we individually get out of it. It will be interesting to see what we all have in common beyond Rick,too. And…I don’t particularly like watching myself on film,so I’m self-conscious about how I will look up on a big screen. Knowing I will be seeing myself for the first time on film and Rick will be there is pretty freaky, I have to admit.

Anything you’d like to add: I think there is a segment of the fan base who thought this film was just going to be a bunch of other fans babbling on about how they’ve loved Rick since they first discovered him in the pages of 16 Magazine,or that it was going to be a group of jacked up, hyper hormonal middle aged women acting like teenagers. It’s proven to be far from it, because it’s a variety of real people dealing with real life issues and the common link has been Rick Springfield’s music which continues to define many of us at our core level as we’ve grown throughout our lives.


2 Comments »

  • msliz says:

    This is such powerful, touching, and beautiful “testimonial”… God bless you, Kate!

  • sabrina says:

    Many years ago I used to correspond with Rev. Kate and I would say that she definitely brings a unique and interesting perspective to the fan base. Glad to see she’s getting her moment in the sun in the RickWorld. Looking forward to seeing her in the movie when I do get to finally see it.

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