On Stage

Change of Plans

When the screen is your stage

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

If all had gone according to plan, Lummi Islanders could’ve turned out in spades this summer to watch theater camp students in grades K-12 explore the age-old rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks during showings of the high school version of the musical West Side Story.

The eighth annual camp that would’ve preceded the performances was scheduled to run from June 29-July 11, and there’s little doubt the finished product would’ve made for a memorable night at the theater. Kuntz and Company’s multitalented Pam Kuntz was scheduled to choreograph, Western Washington University professor and community stage stalwart Mark Kuntz would’ve been directing, and the talented Jason Parker was set to handle the musical side of things. Best of all, the students taking part likely would’ve had a magical experience while learning about acting, staging and voice work with seasoned pros who have practiced their craft across the country.

But instead of singing and dancing along to songs such as “Maria,” “Somewhere,” “America,” and “I Feel Pretty” during the much-lauded take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the campers’ plans were canceled due to coronavirus concerns, leaving the students without a ready way to express their creativity.

Or did it? The Lummi Island Foundation for Education (LIFE)—a nonprofit that works with the Beach School PTO, the Ferndale School District, and the Lummi Island community to offer the performing arts opportunity every summer—recently announced they’d be hosting a Virtual Talent Show open to all island residents, Beach Elementary students and their families, as well as theater camp students and their kin who had previously signed up for the intensive but don’t live on the island.

“All talents are welcome,” organizers say. “Dancing, singing, art, music, fire dancing, miming, baking, lip syncing, rapping, and on and on. The sky is the limit! It’s time to get creative, have a good time, a good laugh, and share your gifts and talents with island/Beach School friends and family.”

But whether you’re a student reprising an opus you’d hoped to belt out during the West Side Story gigs, a folk music duo jonesing for an audience, an adept aerialist, a painter with a penchant for creating masterpieces with a blindfold on, or a juggler who uses sharp knives to express themselves, you should know the deadline to submit a short video for consideration is Fri., July 10—meaning you have just a few short days to nail your act.

All ages are invited to participate, but keep in mind submissions should be no longer than five minutes, and that songs, video clips, art and submissions must have content that is appropriate for families and children of all ages to enjoy. Only one entry per person will be admitted, so keep that in mind as well.

If you don’t have a talent to share but can’t wait to see everybody else’s, it won’t be long before you’re rewarded. Submissions will be compiled into a Virtual Talent Show that will be released on a private YouTube channel for people’s viewing pleasure by Mon., July 13. Give it a watch, then vote for your favorite entry through 4pm Fri., July 17, with the voter’s choice winner being announced that evening and random entry drawing winners being chosen the following day.

Everyone who submits a video of their talent will be entered into a drawing to win a LIFE board-member-sponsored prize—each one said to be as “quirky, fun and unique as the island itself”—and the grand winner of the anonymous online vote will get the first choice of the prizes as well as a “Lummi Island Talent Show Voter’s Choice” certificate of achievement and bragging rights.

Binge-watching the Virtual Talent Show may not be quite as exciting as seeing an epic love story unfold onstage, but it’s a good placeholder for next year’s Summer Theater Camp—a community staple that has thus far produced everything from Crazy For You to Annie, South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie, Pirates of Penzance, and Music Man.

It remains to be seen if West Side Story will still be the production of choice if they get the thumbs up to proceed as usual next July, but either way, you’ll have plenty of time to practice for the next talent show—whether it’s onstage or in your own living room.

Get more information about submitting to and watching the Virtual Talent Show at http://www.lummiislandfoundationforeducation.org

[SIDEBAR SPOTLIGHT]

DORKY DANCE FITNESS: “Laugh! Sweat! Dance! Get Ripped!” reads the header for Dorky Dance Fitness’ website, and it should also be mentioned that although sweatbands and leg warmers might get you more in the mood to play along, they’re not required uniforms for the online event taking place at 1pm Sun., July 12. All ages and abilities are welcome to take part in the sweat-inducing fun led by Dorky Dance Fitness founder Sadye Osterloh (bottom left in photo), a Bellingham-based aerialist and athlete who, pre-COVID, could be seen on a regular basis at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s stage, or singing three-part harmonies with the Hot House Jazz Band. “The class is free!” Osterloh says. “I want anyone and everyone to feel welcome to come and not have to worry one bit about money. Unless you’re feeling super-duper stoked to make a donation! Thats fine too!”
For more info: http://www.dorkydancefitness.com

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