Week 7: Celebrating Creativity & the Performing Arts

Yes, it is official. Four more weeks of shelter-in-place. Now we’ve got to get REALLY creative if we’re going to make it. This week’s article highlights creativity we’ve observed, inspired by shelter-in-place around the world.

During this time, our better days as a family have included events we’re looking forward to (like birthdays and special drive-bys), little things we share (like MEMEs or funny videos), projects we complete or little things we achieve. Chris can now do a full backflip. Andrew made Paprikash in honor of our Marvel Marathon. Marissa got a new litter of kittens to foster this week, which brightened everyone’s mood.

We’ve noticed a lot of creative things other kids are doing. Starting new ventures, helping good causes, publishing photography, and creating TikTok videos.

High school students in Palo Alto started teaching music classes online and within 6 weeks they are now teaching music to kids around the world. Their company, Quarantunes, was formed within days and is now teaching over 100 classes a week, inspiring “teachers” from high schools in San Diego and Chicago to join their ranks.

A 13-year-old is making masks for healthcare workers. Teens are 3D printing parts for face shields. All very uplifting stories; we are craving good news.

Now for our list of creativity unleashed. No apologies — being a musical theatre family we are a little biased toward the performing arts.

Two sisters we know, each professional musical theatre veterans in their own right, are hosting video chats with “Anna and Elsa”. It gives younger children ages 3–8 something to do — especially if they are Frozen fans. According to their mother, “The girls have conversations, sing songs … some kids take them on virtual tours of their house or introduce their pets. Some just want to sing Frozen songs with them, one just wanted to sing Frozen songs to them.”

And there’s another friend who performed in Disney’s “Frozen” Broadway National Tour until it was canceled due to COVID. She’s still performing live, thanks to Instagram!

Ohana Arts, a youth theatre group based in Hawaii had planned a world tour this summer. Instead, they have launched a year-long social media campaign for peace.

Watch the news clip or read the story.

Here is the full rendition of the song “You Raise Me Up” (Ohana Arts cover) on Youtube, dedicated to all of the healthcare workers on the front lines.

For 25 years, StarStruck Theatre’s professional-quality youth performances have given many students in the Bay Area the chance of a lifetime to perform in professional quality productions with Broadway-level talent, direction, musical training, choreography, and coaching. StarStruck was the early training ground for both of my boys before they got their first professional gigs. If your children want to develop their performing arts talent with instructors who care deeply about youth education, StarStruck founder and artistic director Lori Stokes and NY actress Courtney Stokes Duvenhage have launched a cyber conservatory in place of their mainstage show and summer camp. The added benefit is that youth from anywhere in the country can also participate in their classes.

Val’s post features a replay of the live broadcast. The story of Araminta Tubman starts at 11:00, although you might enjoy her intro at 7:00.

Live storytelling is a well-honed craft. The talented Valerie Tutson has been telling stories on Fridays, noon EST (9 am PST), on FB Live. If you have not seen the movie “Harriet”, you will enjoy her story from Araminta’s (Minty) childhood.

She chooses material with depth and meaning, and her highly engaging and expressive style brings stories to life with passion and grace — wonderful for adults and audiences of any age.

So many wonderful resources are popping up — here are a few we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks:

The YouTube channel Shows Must Go On makes an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical production free for 48 hours every Friday thru Saturday. Previous weekends have featured “Phantom of the Opera” and “Love Never Dies”. This weekend features “Cats”.

Pride and Prejudice streamed for free on March 31, although you can still watch the performance for a small rental fee. This picture was taken in our home as we watched the performance projected onto our living room wall.

Streaming Musicals — We were delighted to catch a production that featured so many actors that my boys have had the honor of working with. Special shoutouts to our friends Christopher Vettel (Mr. Bennet, featured), Heather Orth (Mrs. Bennet), Sharon Rietkirk (Jane Bennet), Chanel Tilghman (Kitty Bennet), and Robert Kelley, the retiring artistic director and founder of Theatreworks Silicon Valley.

Keep supporting the artists — we need them now more than ever to help us reflect, heal, and bring joy to others.

Of course, we’ve had a lot more time for YouTube surfing. Since our boys have performed in three separate productions of this show, we know the lyrics all too well. We applaud this family’s creativity and bravery.

Finally, here is an uplifting duet from a family that’s making their mark. We expect to see lots of this young woman post-quarantine.

We’ve definitely needed a lot of inspiration to keep our spirits up! I hope that by the end of Week 11 we can start making plans for summer that do NOT include cleaning out closets and home maintenance (which, in a normal year would have been a welcome change from all of the travel that the kids’ activities normally require). In the meantime, we will keep seeking out creative moments and celebrating the little things.

Happy Mother’s Day hugs and “thank you” to all of the wonderful women who work tirelessly, often without recognition or praise, to brighten our days.

This has been week #7 of our shelter-in-place in California. Read up on our journey to date: Week #1, Week #2, Week #3, Week #4, Week #5, Week #6.

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