Several months into the global pandemic, most people are very familiar with virtual meeting apps such as Zoom, now used in lieu of face-to-face meetings, in schools and even for families to stay connected. But what if a group of typical 8th graders are left to their own devices on Zoom? Will class continue as usual or will the students hijack the session and take it in another direction than US History?
That is the premise behind the new online/YouTube musical, “My Life in a Square,” written for CGOA by Artistic Director Mark Steighner for the CGOA Youth Chorus — and guests — under the direction of Corin Parker. The thirty five minute musical stars nine students in grades 4-9 and features eight original songs. The monotony of pandemic life, spending too much time with your parents, wild rumors about the virus and quality time with one’s pets are just some of the timely subjects explored in song.
Although some of the dialogue was recorded live in an actual Zoom meeting, all of the songs were recorded at home by the students and edited together in a process that can be very time consuming. Steighner noted that it took much longer to edit the show than to write the script or compose the music. The students began working on the show in early June.
Steighner says that Corin Parker was a key component in the process. “Corin worked with the kids on their songs and lines, she kept them on task, and she sent a steady and probably annoying series of reminders to their parents when the kids were late with their submissions. But of course, the stars of the show are literally the students and the extra fun and life they brought to both the dialogue and songs.”
Although “My Life in a Square” is free on YouTube, Steighner and Parker hope that people will follow the donate button on the YouTube page and make a small contribution to CGOA. “Think of it as buying a one time ticket,” Steighner said. “The same as if you were going to a play in a theatre. Except you can watch it as many times as you want!”
To find the link to “My Life in a Square” go to gorgeorchestra.org