Performing arts program for middle and high schoolers continues its lessons online

They were supposed to be rehearsing right now.

Fortunately, they still are.

The latest cohort of Youth Arts Ambassadors, the Springfield Arts Council's performing arts program for middle and high schoolers, is moving ahead with auditions, read-throughs, and rehearsals for its July performance of the musical The Keynote, this despite their inability to meet for in-person workshops.

Rehearsals for the musical, written by two YAA students, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the students are meeting each week via the videoconferencing app Zoom, where they have been holding auditions for roles and going through cold reads of the script.

The performance of The Keynote will happen, one way or another.

"We have to find ways for the students to still make art and not have that become interrupted when so much of their lives have been interrupted," says Krissy Brown, arts education director for the Springfield Arts Council.

Students enrolled in the Youth Arts Ambassadors program take workshops in both the production and performance aspects of the performing arts. Workshops are held at least once a month and students are offered four performance opportunities throughout the year.

Brown says that the workshops were one of the last things to shut down as the state practices social distancing to manage the pandemic. It wasn’t easy, she says, but it’s important for people be thinking of creative solutions in times of uncertainty.

"So many of the kids say that YAA is the most important part of their lives. They were panicked and then relieved that we were able to make it happen," says Brown.

"The first five or ten minutes of the workshop was them saying how much they missed each other.

"It’s really nice to keep the arts together in times like this."

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