The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for us all, but especially Variety Kids and their families. Children with disabilities are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and many Variety Families are reeling from the long-term economical and emotional effects of a global health crisis. But Variety has been right there with them – a constant in a world that has changed so much.
Thanks to our supporters, Variety has been able to provide uninterrupted access to crucial services. Each of our programs has pivoted to continue serving Variety Kids and their families in new ways. In our “We’re Still Here Every Day” blog series, we’ll share how all of our vital programs have shifted to ensure Variety Kids can keep thriving every day.
When the pandemic began, performing arts programs across the globe had to close their curtains. Here at Variety, we were determined to provide our inclusive Performing Arts program participants with the opportunity to keep learning, performing and, perhaps most importantly, spending time socializing.
Although we had to make the difficult decision to postpone our 2020 production, The Music Man, to 2021, Variety Theatre was still able to offer virtual programing to our Children’s Ensemble members and Variety Theatre interns. Over the summer, all were invited to participate in our virtual Curtain Up Camp. During this camp, kids and teens of all abilities gathered via Zoom across three weeks to build up their singing, acting and dancing skills, learn more about The Music Man and have a blast with their friends. Then, they all got to gather for a socially distanced viewing of their Curtain Up production at a local drive-in.
Last fall, Variety Theatre also hosted our first-ever virtual production, Light the Lights. Light the Lights told the story of Variety Theatre and introduced the world to the talents of Variety Kids and Teens, as well as professional adults. Featured in the hour-long production were musical numbers, a look behind-the-scenes, and inspirational interviews.
The inclusive Variety Children’s Chorus and Variety Dance programs also went virtual this year. Starting in September, Chorus and Dance met weekly via Zoom to rehearse various songs and choreography in preparation for an online holiday concert that was produced for their family and friends in December. In 2021, virtual rehearsals continued, culminating in a two-night virtual production that aired for friends and family just this week.
Beyond singing and dancing, the group also had the chance to practice writing their own songs. And they learned how to use American Sign Language to sign the chorus of one of their songs, thanks to a guest teaching session with Variety Teen Jenna, who is deaf.
We’d like to thank each of our fantastic supporters who make it possible for us to pivot quickly so that we can help Variety Kids achieve their “Every Day PossAbilities” through these innovative Performing Arts programs. By participating, these kids and teens are building confidence while raising their voices and dreaming big, both on the (virtual) stage and off.
If you can, please consider donating so that we can continue offering these programs now and into the future. Without your generous gifts, these inclusive programs would not be what they are today. Donate now at HelpAVarietyKid.org and your gift will be matched to have double the impact. Thank you!