There are families that plan on meeting for a meal on a certain evening, ensuring a least a few hours of togetherness. Others might organize a weekly game night or perhaps a weekend outing.
The Steinle family of Martinez bonds with a little Italian opera.
Beginning Thursday, the four members of the family Steinle - chiropractic doctors Larry and Noel and sons Derek, 16, a Westside High School sophomore, and Brad, 14, a Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School eighth-grader, will take the stage at the Imperial Theatre in the Augusta Opera production of Tosca.
"I thought this would be a great way for us to be able to spend a little time together, to be able to share an activity together before these two flew the nest," Noel Steinle said, motioning toward her sons. "That was my main thing, my main motivation. However, I think we may have had to drag Larry kicking and screaming to the table."
The lone nonsinger of the Steinle family, Larry admitted that initially, he might have been a less-than-enthusiastic participant.
"I was the one who was a holdout," he said. "I said there was no way in the world I would ever do anything like that. I don't really even go to the opera. But the truth is, I'm enjoying it. I've felt very comfortable and have actually discovered I like listening to it."
Both Steinle sons sing in the production. They said that while their parents might have been motivated by the opportunity for familial bonding, their reasons for participating are a bit more, well, social.
"It does get the family together, but to be honest, that doesn't mean a lot to me," said Derek with a laugh. "Maybe I'll look back on this when I'm 40-something and remember how much fun that was. But I like it because it gets me out, gets me around other singers and, you know, girls."
Brad, the youngest of the Steinle clan, said the family performance experience has been tempered with some sacrifice.
"It's a lot of fun because I have a lot of friends in this," he said. "But because my whole family is in this, and my part is kind of small, I usually have to stay two hours later when I could be at home on the computer."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.