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BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5

Wishing you all consistent electrical power for the next few weeks as we look to emerge from the other side of final exams!

BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5

"Laura, are you sitting in a car?" Remote online learning during a pandemic has made for some comical situations. Last week I learned that snowstorms knock down trees, and those trees knocked out my electrical power lines. Goodbye internet -- hello car parked in a blizzard outside the local Five Guys. I provided my Zooming classmates a continuous three hour video weather update.

BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5I didn't want to miss my Financial Management for Arts Organizations Class that featured Brendan Reynolds, Development Director of Cleveland's Near West Theatre. Brendan is a proud 2008 alumni of Baldwin Wallace University, and one of the founders of our school's Arts Management Association. The AMA sponsors tons of real world theater, dance and arts experiences throughout the school year. Brendan took questions about the impact of COVID-19 on intergenerational community theaters, and gave some sobering details about hitting potholes along the way. We were warned about the risks of overspending on the programming side.

Near West Theatre is located just a few minutes drive from our campus, and has a ton of unique programs, even in a pandemic. Their recent Voices of the Community featured a remarkable musical presentation with Broadway performer Danny Ray Caraballo -- a Latinx native of Cleveland. The event raised funds for Esperanza Inc, a Cleveland non-profit that supports the education of local hispanic students. You can find the event on Near West Theatre's Youtube or Facebook streaming platfroms.

BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5 When the electrical power turned on, I guess people watch football on Thanksgiving Day. Aside from the gravy, my favorite part of turkey day is watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the warmth of my parent's house. Thank God for DVR's that allow me to sleep late! This year's pandemic parade was held minus spectators, but it included my favorite parts -- no, not Santa Claus or Snoopy balloon -- it's the segments that feature all of the Broadway shows. The numbers from Jagged Little Pill and Ain't Too Proud were my favorites, along with my beloved Hamilton.

I'll bet most people don't ever think about how the cast members of Hamilton developed their rap skills. My college classmates take dance and vocal performance courses, but what about hip hop -- are you just born a rapper?

The answer is, of course, no. Our University provides master classes in Hip-hop. There are also community opportunities. A few years ago I was lucky to meet David "Doc" Harrill, who is the Executive Director and Founder of Cleveland's Refresh Collective. Doc is a very talented rapper, DJ and music producer, and has spent his adult life helping the young people of Cleveland's challenged neighborhoods find their voice through Hip-hop. Refresh Collective directs summer camps and school programs that teach young people how to write, practice, produce and perform their own Hip-hop compositions. Hamilton stars of the future are born in Cleveland! For the kids that they serve, a warm home and a stable internet connection are a luxury. Refresh Collective programming has expanded into other art domains, for students who may not have been born with the musical gene. The organization's visual arts programs teach design skills that are then transferred onto silk-screen shirts, face masks and outerwear. Their clothing is really... fresh! Charitable Refresh Collective Christmas gifts, anyone?

BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5

Baldwin Wallace University's best tactic for reducing the anxiety of final exams week turns out to be the semester-end arts performances and senior recitals of my fellow students. They are online this year, which makes it even easier to blow off studying. For a Broadway fan, these shows are irresistible -- all of them feature song, dance and reflections. Student Krista Harmon performed a stunning rendition of "Waiting for Life" from Once on This Island. Claire Soulier's student performance of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked was visually and musically beautiful. Finally, it has been great to know and follow Baldwin Wallace student Patrick Kennedy since my high school days. Patrick's incredible dance to "Slap that Bass" from Broadway's Crazy for You was my favorite, but the vocal, "Free", from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was a close second. You can watch these performances on the Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre channel. It's a lot of work -- so much goes into them - the student performers learn from so many different University departments while they are on campus. There were a lot of thank yous to deliver!

BWW Blog: Tackling Virtual, Remote Finals - Frosty's World #5

Wishing you all consistent electrical power for the next few weeks as we look to emerge from the other side of final exams!


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From This Author Student Blogger: Laura Frost