Who knew that the Lyric Opera Stage Artists Outreach Team would be so busy in the midst of a global health crisis? We have always enjoyed our in person concerts with our senior living partners and seeing the listeners brighten up when the music begins. As life began to shut down back in March and continued on in this way through the entire summer, we really didn’t know how we could ever continue reaching those who need music the most. And then, one of our partners reached out to me about performing virtually through Zoom. That got the ball rolling!
Members of LOSA, along with members of Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra began performing live 40 minute virtual concerts in August for Westminster Place and The Merion. These facilities have acquired the technology needed to broadcast our Zoom concerts to their residents on their own televisions and this opened a whole new world of opportunities to perform and connect with our former audience members. The feedback was very encouraging, so we dove right in!
In August, we performed 6 virtual concerts; three for Westminster Place and three for The Merion. Additionally, two of us were invited to sing for an in person, outdoor, socially distanced fundraiser for By the Hand, an organization that works with kids in under-served neighborhoods around Chicago helping with school supplies, offering after-school care, tutoring, and many other wonderful services. Specifically, the fundraiser was to help with expenses of supplying and running a new fresh produce stand in the Austin neighborhood, that is run primarily by teenage kids from By the Hand programs.
Before the August concerts were completed, we began work on setting concert dates for September, and we have expanded to one more of our partner facilities, Covenant Home. We now have 9 virtual concerts that we will bring to seniors! We are so happy! In September, we are also performing for a virtual fundraiser for The Village Chicago, an organization that helps people over 50 connect to the community and to resources around aging. Additionally, we have plans to partner with the Joffrey Ballet to hold a Peanut Butter and Jelly Food Drive for Lakeview Food Pantry. We are very excited to work with them and rally folks to donate! Details about how YOU can join us and bring donations will be posted on our LOSA Facebook and Instagram pages soon!
The Fall will bring more virtual concerts and more new partnerships. We look forward to partnering with CJE SeniorLife for a couple of virtual concerts, a few live-streamed concerts from 4th Presbyterian Church Noonday Concert Series, and also with Gilda’s Club for an upcoming World of Caring virtual event.
So, apparently, the pandemic has not closed all the doors to performing, serving and connecting. Since we are unable to perform at the Lyric Opera House right now, we just have to look for other doors and windows. And that is just what LOSA members have done! It should be noted that we offer these concerts for no charge as a community service, making it available to any organization that needs it.