LOSA Outreach: Helping in the time of a Pandemic

You can’t keep our Outreach Team from reaching out, even in a pandemic! Members of LOSA have continued to work to find ways to help the people around us even under stay-at-home orders. Sometimes, in difficult situations, one has to find new ways to be extra creative. This crazy COVID-19 has given us those opportunities.

Most recently, we were asked to participate in a virtual Mother’s Day Tea for members of Gilda’s Club. Knowing that there are issues with singing together on Zoom, we got busy and found ways to join them anyway and offer a little bit of uplifting music. I was joined by Ken Donovan, Kelsea Webb and Bradford Newquist (friend of LOSA who is on staff at Gilda’s Club). We weren’t able to sing together, but we did manage to offer a 20 minute program of French and Italian art songs as well as some favorite crossover musical theater songs with our trusty backup recordings to accompany each of us from our own homes. We spent a week beforehand working together on our Zoom settings to make sure we got the best possible, problem-free performances and it was a huge success! There were over 35 people who streamed the concert live to make it an awesome uplifting virtual event!

Ken Donovan, L.O.S.A. member and chorister at Lyric Opera of Chicago, sings an aria during a Zoom concert for Gilda’s Club of Chicago.

Before we were invited to sing for this event, our Outreach Committee was busy trying to find ways to continue to reach out to our Senior Living partners (Westminster Place, The Merion, Covenant Home, Wesley Place and Hartwell Place). Since we are still not able to go into our partners homes at this point, we began a card writing campaign! Various members of LOSA have begun taking on the project of writing cards, having their kids draw pictures, etc., to send to our senior friends who are no doubt feeling more isolated with the quarantine on and no visits from friends and family. We hope to continue this project as long as needed until we can go back for a visit and a concert!

We currently have two fundraiser performances on our schedule in June for the Center for Life and Learning at 4th Presbyterian Church in Chicago and The Village Chicago. No doubt these will both be either cancelled or rescheduled for a future date, but we will be working with them to find a way to help them raise the funds needed to continue their work whether in person or virtually.

Letters written by members of Lyric Opera Stage Artists to our friends at care facilities across the Chicagoland area.

Lastly, we began a project in partnership with Lyric Opera to record a chorus video. We spent a couple of weeks in April individually recording our part of a well-known opera chorus to be compiled into one of those fabulous virtual choruses! Who knew that it isn’t as simple as it seems on the videos we see all over the internet? Thank God for technically inclined engineers and editors who take all of our individual videos, put them together and sync up the voices and music to make a wonderfully produced finished chorus video!! We are still waiting for the editing to be finished and the video to be released, but we are proud of the work we did and are thrilled that almost 40 LOSA members submitted their videos for this project!

We look forward to continuing to find new ways to help and reach out to our communities and bring music and encouragement to those around us! If you would like to partner with us or make contact with our Outreach Committee, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Pam Williams at communications@lyricoperastageartists.org.