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Keeping the Arts Alive in a Virtual World

CCSD Staff 2 - 12/17/2020 10:26:00 AM

Chillicothe Middle School Choral Director Kelly Frailly hasn’t let the pandemic stop her from producing the school’s musical. This spring, the middle school will be virtually presenting High School Musical, Jr.

Frailly had heard about other teachers across the country pivoting to perform plays and musicals through outdoor shows, drive-ins, live shows with limited audiences or performing via Zoom. She decided to go the virtual route so her students could do what they love in the safest way possible. The production will be filmed, and anyone who wishes to watch the show will purchase a ticket for an online viewing time, just like a real show.

“There are quite a few challenges that come with a virtual show, but I wanted to ensure the students didn’t miss out on something they’re so passionate about,” said Frailly. “We had to keep the cast small, rehearsals are complicated, and there’s new technology I need to learn, but there are tons of great opportunities as well.”

One opportunity is that students are learning about a different style of acting, further expanding their skillsets. Students also have the chance to play multiple characters because there isn’t a time limit for costume changes. Having a single set will also allow the crew to avoid the lengthy process of scene changes. The group is working to stay focused on the positives and to tackle the challenges as a team.

“The arts are a form of solace to so many people, including our students, so we have to find ways to adapt to make them possible this year,” said Frailly. “It helps to preserve the mental and emotional health of many and keep people functioning, focused and in a healthy mindset. The arts keep us alive in more ways than one.”

Beyond the musical, students have still been able to participate in band, orchestra, choir and art this year – it just looks a little different. Many teachers have found alternative ways to showcase students’ talents like outdoor concerts, virtual performances and digital galleries.

For the holidays, choir, band and orchestra are all doing virtual performances for their annual concerts. Additionally, Frailly and fellow choral director, Mala Kennard, are putting a Virtual Holiday Revue together, which will be full of students and staff singing, dancing, drawing and more that will be released over winter break to spread holiday cheer.

If you have questions about the upcoming musical, please contact Kelly Frailly at kelly.frailly@ccsd.us.