New Naperville choir charity takes 'Road Show' to virtual realm
Their favorite place to perform was at nursing homes, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Now, the roughly 40 members of the new Naperville nonprofit organization Road Show Inc. aren't taking their show choir performances on the road to visit seniors. Instead, they're practicing music theory, choreography, acting and singing with virtual classes to begin next month.
Road Show Inc. formed in September 2019 after the closure last summer of the School of Performing Arts in Naperville. Carrie Bramlett, a longtime musical theater teacher, is the executive director of the new organization, which aims to connect children to the broader community through the performing arts.
"Something that has always been a passion of mine is giving my students an opportunity to share their love of performance and storytelling with not just their parents," Bramlett said. "It's so much more than putting on a show for mom and dad. It's really about sharing joy."
Performing at nursing homes last fall and early this year allowed Road Show participants ages 9 to 14 to feel like they have "something special to share," Bramlett said, and to converse and connect with older residents before and after their song-and-dance shows.
This summer was supposed to be the time for a Road Show musical, which participants would have put on throughout the Naperville area before beginning a show choir season anew in the fall.
Instead, participants in the Starlights and Dynamites show choirs are signing up for six virtual classes, each to take place weekly throughout June, led by Road Show's four teaching artists and a couple of guest instructors. Classes include a crash course in music theory, a dance workshop, a Broadway audition workshop, a musical theater song and scene acting lab, an on-camera acting workshop and voice lessons.
"We wanted to focus on what we can do, not what we couldn't do any longer. We continue to connect with our kids and engage their families," Bramlett said. "Give them opportunities to work with each other, to smile at each other."
Each virtual class costs $100, but scholarships are available and new participants are welcome. To register, visit https://roadshowinc.org/summer-2020-1.