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Person of the Week
Bryan Lauriat Discovers Passion for the Arts through Nutcracker Sponsorship
After learning about StudioBE’s efforts to perform The Nutcracker from his neighbor, Bryan Lauriat wanted to support the arts and found a new interest. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Lauriat)
Growing up in North Haven, Bryan Lauriat has fond memories of his days playing baseball and hockey, including playing both at North Haven High School. He remembers his sister competing in dance and artistic figure skating. It wasn’t until recent years, though, that Bryan himself became involved in the arts scene in town.
Bryan and his wife, Lisa, live across the street from Bryan’s childhood best friend, Craig Cushing, and his wife Shannon Cushing, who is on the sales staff of the North Haven Courier. Shannon is involved with Performing Arts Studio BE, co-directing The Nutcracker for the past two years with Tyler DuBoys.
“A couple years ago, Shannon explained what they were doing with The Nutcracker and how important the arts are in the community,” says Bryan, who agreed to be a sponsor of the event. ““I’m a North Haven guy and saw an opportunity to help and I had the ability to help.
“As I got more involved, I realized there were a lot of people in and around town who participate in this type of stuff,” he adds. “When I started helping, a lot of people in my circles started coming out of the woodwork and they really, really appreciate the support.”
Living next door to one of the directors of The Nutcracker, Bryan has seen the amount of work put into the production. Aside from contributing financially, he has also helped where he could, whether it’s helping with the Cushing’s children or pitching in with setting up for the show.
In 2019, the show was performed at High Lane Country Club prior to COVID-19 and Bryan was impressed by the performance and the behind-the-scenes efforts.
“It was very well-organized, the place was packed, and the show was very good,” says Bryan. “Living across from Shannon, we definitely see how tirelessly they work to put this together. I’m happy to help with whatever they need, though I certainly can’t teach ballet.
Heading into 2020, StudioBE planned to perform The Nutcracker again, but COVID presented challenges. As COVID developed, the production continued to adapt with hopes of a performance.
With an outdoor performance planned in December, a rise in COVID numbers again pushed it back. The production team didn’t give up, though, and will now be hosting it as The Springcracker on Saturday, March 20 on the North Haven Green.
“If there’s a way I can lend a hand for the performance on the green, I’ll do that,” says Bryan. “When something as unprecedented as COVID happens, you really see how resilient some people are in finding ways to do things they’re passionate about. They’re going to have it outside, which throws other wrinkles into planning, but they are really passionate about it and willing to do whatever it takes to get it done and that’s how I run my business and those are the types of activities we like to put our support into.”
Bryan is a financial advisor and owner of Coastal Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial. Bryan runs the office in Glastonbury and the firm also has an office in Mystic.
Though his father and grandfather were both engineers, when Bryan went to college, he studied accounting. Upon graduating, he worked in different areas of the financial services field for 17 years before starting his own businesses. He is now taking graduate level courses to earn his certified financial planner designation.
In addition to taking classes, Bryan stays busy at home, too, doing projects around the house and spending time with his family, including his five-year-old Kaden and three-month-old Callan. Bryan is also looking forward to getting back on the ice as coach of Kaden’s hockey team.
“This is his third year playing hockey, though it’s been shut down for a while now because of COVID,” says Bryan. “We’ve done what we could to keep kids on the ice since the stoppage, renting ice here and there for a few kids at a time.
“It’s about a lot more than skating, it’s about being at the rink, seeing your friends and people you don’t see during course of the week,” adds Bryan. “Everyone is very eager to get back to those activities, whether it’s hockey, the Nutcracker, or whatever the kids are into, just to get to some level of normalcy.”
Even though Bryan enjoys coaching his son’s team, he has found that giving back to the arts has become one of his passions. He has seen firsthand how grateful those involved in the production are for support. The gratefulness reaches behind the production team and Bryan has seen that as the Cushing’s daughter Lyla, who is Kaden’s best friend, is involved as well.
“When you get involved in the arts and entertainment side, they really, truly appreciate what you’re doing and you can see they need that support to keep these programs up and running,” says Bryan. “When I was starting to build my own business, getting involved in the town was definitely something that was always going to happen and the first thing that came to mind was getting involved with the town’s baseball league and coaching hockey.
“But it’s different when you have kids and your friends have kids because you get involved in what they’re involved in,” adds Bryan. “I’ve got to be honest, the sponsorship of the Nutcracker has been one of more fulfilling things for me personally.”
Bryan loves giving back to the community he grew up in, noting his wife, Lisa, also grew up in North Haven. His mother has also lived in North Haven for her entire life and his parents still live down the street from him. He is excited to raise his children in town and see them enjoy experiences in the town he loves.
“We’ve got pretty deep roots in the town and I think we’ll be here for at least another generation,” says Bryan. “We’ve been in town for a very long time and we love it and don’t ever want to leave. We hope to see our kids build that foundation in town as well.”
The Springcracker will be held on Saturday, March 20 at noon and 3 p.m. (with a weather postponement date of Saturday, March 27). For information, visit www.studiobect.com.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .